Posts Tagged Podcasts

Podcasts: Sean McFate, Author Of The Modern Mercenary On NPR

This is interesting. Sean McFate is the author of the book The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order and he is making the rounds promoting his book. He will also be at several speaking events in the near future. One will be at the Atlantic Council on March 3 and the other will be at the World Affairs Council on March 24. His background is that he worked for DynCorp International in Africa on a unique project to rebuild Liberia’s army back in 2004.

In the podcast, he gets into the nitty gritty of what this industry is currently involved with, and where he thinks it is going. Check it out. –Matt

Listen to the podcast here.




From NPR

In World War II, contractors made up just 10 percent of the military workforce; by the Iraq war, that number had risen to 50 percent. And that number is climbing – not just in the U.S. but worldwide, as governments look to save money and keep casualty numbers down for their own militaries. But what does this trend toward private-run warfare mean for the future of international relations? One former contractor warns that armies-for-hire will soon be the norm, making it easier than ever to wage war. What an increased reliance on private armies could mean for modern warfare and global security.


Sean McFate senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Former paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and former private military contractor in Africa.

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Podcasts: DoD Works To Institutionalize Contracting Lessons From Iraq, Afghanistan

Outstanding little podcast and I am in 100 percent agreement. The military must not lose the lessons learned from this war when it comes to working with and using contractors. So management ‘lessons learned’ must be institutionalized and be part of the military commander’s tool box of how to fight wars. It is also nice to know that contractors are finally getting this kind of attention at that level. Check it out. –Matt


DoD Works To Institutionalize Contracting Lessons From Iraq, Afghanistan
By Jared Serbu
DoD acquisition officials say they’re working to instill the idea throughout the department that contracting is a military commander’s responsibility. Now, Estavez said, contracting guidance for Afghanistan comes straight from Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force.
“That’s because it’s part of his effort to win that fight in Afghanistan,” he said. “That needs to go into our military education process and our civilian education process. When our junior officers go through their paces, that has to become part of their process. They need to think, ‘When I deploy, contractors are going to be part of the process. They can help me win the fight or they can impede me. I need to manage them to help me win.’ We’ve been saying this at leadership levels, but we’re all transitory. We need to have that idea inculcated into the workforce for the future.”
Transcript here.

Listen here.


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Podcasts: Drone Archer Weapons–AeroVironment Talks About The Switchblade

The price for these things has yet to be determined. I was also interested to hear that these are ‘one time use’ SUAV’s. Which leads one to think did they purposely make them one time use so that the military would have to buy more of them, or is it just technically impossible to re-use the device if it has been flown?

As for further thoughts about the Switchblade, I personally think that this system should be launched out of pre-existing launchers in the US inventory. Something like the SMAW or the M-3 MAAWS would be excellent launchers to sling SUAV’s out of.  I also know that a few companies have experimented with launching SUAV’s out of artillery or from rocket pods on helicopters. To me, it just makes sense to use anti-tank/bunker buster teams as drone archers of a company/unit and utilize the tools they are already familiar with and carrying.

If there was a Switchblade that could be launched out of a M 3 MAAWS, then AeroVironment could take advantage of a global market that uses those weapon systems. Or even develop a SUAV that could be launched from a RPG launcher? The market for both of those launchers would be massive, just because they are used all over the world.

The other thing that must be looked at is control and situational awareness.  I am particularly interested in the RQ 14 Dragon Eye system, because it uses a video goggle. That is a great path to go for control and there has been some movement towards this, and especially in the civilian world. Vuzix is one company that makes a monocular that could help the soldier on the ground maintain situational awareness, and yet still fly the drone. Or you could have the gunner wear this, and the targeting specialist wear 3D or panoramic goggles. You need one guy to be on the lookout as the other guy’s attention is on flying the drone. And of course the computer used in all of this would be a smart phone or similar sized device.

What I really like about this set up is that if a team runs out of drones, they could switch back to standard munitions for their weapon system. They could put away their goggle and smart phone, and go back to being anti-tank or anti-material bunker busters if need be.  Just some thoughts on the matter, and just a recap on what I have talked about in the past. –Matt

Listen to it here.


‘Backpack-able drones’ could soon be deployed to troops on ground
By Jack Moore
Drones — officially known as unmanned aerial systems — have patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border and targeted terrorist leaders halfway across the world. Someday fighters and bombers will likely even be unmanned.
And now one company has learned how to downsize the latest weapon of war to a size small enough to fit in a soldier’s backpack.
Steven Gitlin, vice president of Aerovironment, which creates the backpackable drone — formally known as the Switchblade Agile Munition Systems — joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris to discuss how it works.
The Switchblade air vehicle launches from a small tube that can be carried in a backpack. It also transmits live color video wirelessly.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Podcasts: Cry Havoc–Simon Mann Speaks At Chatham House About Coup Attempt In Equatorial Guinea

This is interesting. Simon Mann tells his side of the story at the think tank Chatham House. He is also promoting his book Cry Havoc (Jundi Gear Store) which details this coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. I am sure it will sell well.

The other thing that I wanted to mention is that Eeben picked up on a story written about Cry Havoc over at News24, and they outright lied about Executive Outcome’s involvement with this incident. Eeben corrected the record and I wanted to put the word out through this blog as well. Here is a link to the post. To be clear, Executive Outcomes was not involved, did not back anything, and EO was officially shut down in December 31, 1998. The coup attempt took place in 2004.

Finally, if you are interested in following Simon Mann online, he has become quite connected. He is on Twitter , Facebook, and has a website he is using to promote the book. His Twitter account is very active and he talks about all sorts of stuff there. –Matt


Cry Havoc: Simon Mann’s Account of his Failed Equatorial Guinea Coup Attempt
Tuesday 1 November 2011
Chatham House, London
Simon Mann, Author and Coup Attempt Leader

Discussant: Alex Vines, Research Director, Regional and Security Studies, Chatham House, and author, Well Oiled: Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea?Chair: Professor Nana Poku, John Ferguson Professor of African Studies and Dean, School of Social and International Studies, University of Bradford
Type: Members Events
The speaker will outline his version of events surrounding the failed coup attempt against Equatorial Guinea in 2004. He will contend that a number of governments had prior knowledge and offered tacit endorsement of the coup attempt.  ?For more information about the event please contact the Members Events Team
Transcript to follow.
Cry Havoc: Simon Mann’s Account of his Failed Equatorial Guinea Coup Attempt (Click to download)
Click on the play icon to start playing the audio.

Q&A Recording (Click to download)
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Podcasts: Interview With Peter Stiff, Author Of The Covert War (Koevoet)

Listen to internet radio with TRP on Blog Talk Radio

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Podcasts: Private Security Contractors And The U.N.-Global Policy Forum

     I thought this was interesting, because the whole intent of the discussion was to highlight the fact that the UN is using private security contractors and at the same time, the UN is tasked with defining how countries are to use and regulate private security contractors. Hell, they even put together a group called the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries(UNWG).  The title of the group should give you some indication of the irony here.

     So my question is this.  Does the UNWG classify the security contractors that the UN uses as mercenaries?  Does the UNWG classify the UN’s private security contractors as lawful combatants? Check out what the IPOA feels about the whole thing here, and this should give you some context before listening to these guys.

   Finally, there are other speakers at this forum, and follow the link below if you would like to listen to them as well. –Matt


Private Security Contractors and the UN – May 19, 2010

From the Global Policy Forum Website

On 19th May 2010, GPF hosted a lunchtime discussion on Private Security Contractors and their involvement with the United Nations….

 …..In January 2010, the UN announced it would hire a British private security firm to protect its staff in Afghanistan. This contradicted past statements made by UN officials that condemned PSCs and argued against their use.  As the UN’s relationship with PSCs changes, some crucial questions need answering: how many private security contractors does the UN hire? What does the UN hire PSCs for? What means are being used to monitor them?  And more generally, can the UN be used as a vehicle to make PSCs accountable for their actions?

The Draft International Convention on the Regulation, Oversight and Monitoring Of Private Military and Security Companies has been circulating since 2009, with a UN working group prepared to announce the results of its consultations in September 2010. But even if the UN is able to ratify a convention, does it have the capacity to enforce it?


Click here to listen to James Cockayne, Part One

Jame Cockayne was the first speaker at GPF’s event on Private Security Contractors and the United Nations.  Cockayne addresses three things in his speech: does the United Nations use private security contractors; what policy does the UN have towards private security contractors; and how can the UN, in the future, use strong policy to better regulate private security contractors.

Click here to listen to James Cockayne, Part Two


Click here to listen to Scott Horton – Part One

Scott Horton was the second speaker at this event.  Horton’s experiences as a journalist and New York attornee, gave valuable insight to the role Private Security Contractors play in global conflict.  Horton focussed particuarly on the PSCs and the use of unmanned drones.

Click here to listen to Scott_Horton – Part Two

Link to Global Policy Forum here.

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