Building the (Audio) Bridge

The Strategy Bridge podcast on strategy, national security, and strategic history.

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The host of The Strategy Bridge Podcast is P. R. Beckman, a television producer and unmanned aircraft pilot. He served in the U. S. Army from 1992-1995.


The American Anti-War Movement During World War I

The decision to go to war is one of the most important a country can make. In a democracy that debate can involve activist groups both for and against the war. In this episode of the Strategy Bridge Podcast, we talk with Dr. Michael Kazin about the American anti-war movement during the First World War. Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University and a co-editor of Dissent Magazine. He is the author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918.


The U.S. Navy as a Learning Organization with Trent Hone

As the United States industrialized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. Navy worked to adapt to a maritime environment shaped by the development of new technologies and ship types. This effort led to the redefinition of what it meant be a naval officer and new thinking about doctrine, tactics, and strategy. In this episode of The Strategy Bridge Podcast we talk with Trent Hone about how the American Navy transitioned from a traditional institution to a modern learning organization. Hone is the author of Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the US Navy, 1898-1945.


African Soldiers in the German East African Colonial Army with Michelle Moyd

From the 1890s through the end of World War I, Germans recruited African soldiers to serve in the Schutztruppe, the colonial army in German East Africa. Known as the askari, they were drawn from various ethnic groups whose backgrounds made them desirable for military service in the eyes of the Germans. In this episode we talk with Dr. Michelle Moyd about the askari, their way of war, and what motivated them to act as agents of German imperialism. Moyd is an associate professor of history at Indiana University and a former U.S. Air Force officer. She is the author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa.


On Indian Foreign Policy with Dr. Aparna Pande

In this episode of The Strategy Bridge Podcast we talk with Dr. Aparna Pande about Indian foreign policy and how it has been influenced by ancient philosophers, the example of Indian empires, the institutions of the British Raj, and the ideas of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Pande is the director of the Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at the Hudson Institute and the author of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy.


The First Day at the Battle of Hue: One Soldier’s Story

When the Tet Offensive began on January 31, 1968, Bob Lauver had been in Vietnam for 15 months. He was a sergeant with G Battery, 65th Artillery Regiment, and he was in charge of a Quad 50 gun truck. The trucks were originally intended for air defense, but they found a new role in Vietnam in firebase support and as convoy escorts. In this episode, we follow Lauver through his experiences on the first day of the Battle of Hue, for which he would be awarded a Silver Star.


Politics & Strategy of the Mexican-American War

In the presidential election of 1844, James Polk campaigned on a policy of territorial expansion. After becoming president he used diplomacy and military force to implement his policy. In this episode we talk with Dr. Amy Greenberg about the politics and strategy of the Mexican-American War. Greenberg is a professor of history at Penn State University and the author of A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico.


On Iroquois War and Diplomacy with Timothy Shannon

In the 1600s and 1700s, the Iroquois were a Native American confederacy that exercised great influence in northeastern North America in their relations with the French, Dutch, and English colonists and the surrounding native peoples. In this episode we talk to Dr. Timothy Shannon about how the Iroquois waged war and engaged in diplomacy to advance their interests. Shannon is a professor of American history and the chair of the history department at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier. His most recent book is Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain.


The Rise of the Military Welfare State with Jennifer Mittelstadt

As the U.S. Army transitioned to the All Volunteer Force in the 1970s, it realized that it needed to provide a higher standard of living to its soldiers and their families to encourage recruitment and retention. The provision of these services was controversial, as it challenged concepts of military identity and became part of a larger political discussion within the U.S. about social welfare services. In this episode of The Strategy Bridge podcast, we talk with Jennifer Mittelstadt about her book The Rise of the Military Welfare State. Mittelstadt is a professor of history at Rutgers University and this year is the Harold K. Johnson Chair of Military History at the U. S. Army War College.


President Eisenhower's Project Solarium with Richard Immerman

In the months after Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated president, he initiated what became known as Project Solarium. Three teams were established to research different options for dealing with the Soviet Union and to present their findings to the president and his foreign policy and national security advisors. In this episode of The Strategy Bridge podcast we talk with Richard H. Immerman about Project Solarium and what we can learn from it.

Many Project Solarium documents are available at the State Department’s Office of the Historian website (between May-August 1953). Three especially interesting documents include:

  1. Notes Taken at the First Plenary Session of Project Solarium, Washington, June 26, 1953

  2. Memorandum by the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Cutler) July 16, 1953 (Eisenhower’s comments on Project Solarium)

  3. Summaries Prepared by the NSC Staff of Project Solarium Presentations and Written Reports

Immerman is professor emeritus at Temple University, a specialist in the Cold War foreign policy and intelligence history, and co-author of Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy.


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Culture, Politics, and Carl von Clausewitz with Vanya Eftimova Bellinger

The Strategy Bridge talks with Vanya Eftimova Bellinger about the influence of culture and politics on Carl von Clausewitz. 

Vanya Eftimova Bellinger is the author of Marie von Clausewitz: The Woman Behind the Making of On War and is Professor of Clausewitz Studies at the Army War College. Read more from Professor Bellinger here.


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On Strategy Education with Tami Davis Biddle

The Strategy Bridge talks with Dr. Tami Davis Biddle about strategy education, strategic thinking, and the importance of being a lifelong learner. 

Dr. Tami Davis Biddle is a professor of national security and strategy at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Read Dr. Biddle's monograph Strategy and Grand Strategy: What Students and Practitioners Need to Know and her research on air power in World War II, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945.