A Better Peace: The War Room Podcast show

A Better Peace: The War Room Podcast

Summary: This is the podcast of WAR ROOM, the official online journal of the U.S. Army War College. Join us for provocative discussions about U.S. national security and defense, featuring prominent national security and military professionals.

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast



The United States has identified drug trafficking, drug use, and drug manufacturing as important issues -- domestically and internationally. In recent years, the opioid crisis has been at the center of many U.S. government efforts. Overdoses due to synthetic drugs have been on the rise for the past decade with fentanyl and its derivatives squarely at the heart of the issue. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Heidi Munro to the virtual studio to discuss how this once legal prescription painkiller has become a national crisis leading to criminal activity, tragedy for families across the country and a point of contention in international relations. Heidi joins podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine this issue's impact on national security, the military's involvement in possible management of the issue and where the nation goes from here.


When planning for interactions with foreign countries, whether in peace or in war, it can be easy for military planners to be lulled into the false security of the homogeneity of a culture or race or nationality. Many would argue that was exactly what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last two decades. But long before the United States’ most recent conflicts in the Middle East, there was a small island chain in the Pacific known as the Ryukyus that posed a particular challenge to the efforts of WWII Army and Marine planners. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Courtney Short to the virtual studio to discuss her study of the Okinawan people and the experiences of Soldiers and Marines as they invaded the southern-most islands of Japan. Courtney joins our Editor-In-Chief, Jackie Whitt to look at the individual culture and behavior of the Okinawans as U.S. forces moved ashore during a war that would, in some ways, liberate the people of the Ryukyus from centuries of rule by mainland Japan.

 THE VALUE OF WRITTEN THOUGHT: STEPHEN VOGEL (ON WRITING) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:50

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Pulitzer nominated journalist and author Stephen Vogel to the virtual studio to talk about his path to authorship and his love of history. Steve joins our own Michael Neiberg to discuss the differences between his role as a journalist versus his style as a narrative historical author and how that differs even further from academic historical accounts. They both lament the future lack of written first hand accounts as the world moves forward in this day and age of electronic communications and what that means for historical accounts of present day.

 GAMES, PLAY, AND THE AFFECTIVE DOMAIN | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:00

What do a hyper-competitive Monopoly player, an educational methodologist and a U.S. Army War College Faculty member have in common? Well for starters they're all the same person and that combination of skills and interests makes Megan Hennessey the perfect guest on this inaugural WARGAMING ROOM episode of A BETTER PEACE. Megan joins series editor Ken Gilliam in the virtual studio to discuss how wargames tick all the boxes the head of educational methodology looks for. Megan and Ken examine how wargaming gets at breaking down relationship barriers, replicating emotional responses in a safe setting and the ability to track learning in an experiential learning environment.

 BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING AND HE’S HERE TO HELP | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:26

Facial recognition technology promises to help law enforcement identify and track suspicious individuals ideally revealing bad actors before they can commit acts of violence or other crimes. The more promising facial recognition becomes as a technology however, the louder grow the voices concerned about the potential invasion of privacy that such mass collection could or would entail. "Only the guilty need worry" may be the comforting reply, but how does a free society protect itself while also protecting the privacy of its citizens? A BETTER PEACE welcomes Mandi Bohrer to examine facial recognition as it currently exists and where it may be going in the future. She joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss the pros and cons of this incredible tool and the measures necessary to ensure that the technology isn't misused.

 WOMEN IN PEACE AND SECURITY | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:52

On October 31st, 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which reaffirmed “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace building, the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.” Resolution 1325 helped create the Women in Peace and Security program or WPS. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Ambassador Jean E. Manes as she shares her experience in the national security realm. She joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the studio to explain how far the WPS program has come in the last two decades and where it needs to continue to go. Ambassador Manes is the Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. Southern Command, and in this unique position she has a wealth of real world cases that have benefited from the involvement of women.

 TWO AUTHORS UNDER THE SAME ROOF (ON WRITING) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:05

It's a two-for-one on A BETTER PEACE this week. Kara Dixon-Vuic and Jason Vuic join Mike Neiberg in the studio for our ongoing ON WRITING series. Kara and Jason share their varied approaches to writing and discuss what literary collaboration looks like in their house. Two very different authors that write on different topics discuss their takes on research, their writing styles and reading each other's drafts.

 WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:14

It's an election year, and leaving all politics aside, the use of opinion polls is already in full swing by all parties involved. Polling performance in recent years has called the accuracy of polls into question. Was the sample size big enough? Did the questions lead to predictable answers? Who is actually willing to answer the polls, and how many are truthful? A BETTER PEACE welcomes Amanda Cronkhite to the studio to discuss the art and science of opinion polling. She joins podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine what polls can really tell us if done correctly.

 A SMARTER WAY TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:57

"Be All You Can Be", "Army of One", "Army Strong" these are just a few of the most recent slogans used by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in the last 40 years. The first remained in place for over 20 years. The last was 12 years running. But if the Army is going to meet its recruiting and retention goals it's going to need new and innovative strategies to find and keep, motivated, talented and qualified individuals. David Eckley and Silas Martinez join A BETTER PEACE host Ron Granieri in the studio to discuss innovation in Recruiting Command. As a student in AY20 Eckley realized that during his time as a recruiting battalion commander, he had applied the very same innovation strategy he learned in class. He used that knowledge to outline a plan to ensure innovation doesn't stagnate.

 TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER PEOPLES | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:04

Born of an idea first uttered in October 1960 at an impromptu speech by then Senator John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps was officially established on 1 March 1961. In its first year Peace Corps volunteers served in just 5 countries. Six short years later 14,500 volunteers had served in 55 countries around the world. To date more than 240,000 volunteers have served in 142 host countries. Due to COVID-19, all of those volunteers have been recalled to the United States. But that doesn't stop former volunteers from singing the praises of the program and its great works. A BETTER PEACE welcomes four volunteers of the Peace Corps organization "To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans" the third goal of the organization. Brad Arsenault, Steven Saum, Maricarmen Smith-Martinez, and Joby Taylor all join our podcast editor Ron Granieri in the studio to discuss their Peace Corps experiences. It is their hope to inspire the next generation to selfless service so that once the pandemic is managed, the Peace Corps can continue its mission "To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women" and "To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served."


Imagine taking a graduate level program in a foreign country in a different language from your native tongue. Now imaging stepping it up and enrolling in the one class that does it completely differently from all the rest, and prides itself on significantly challenging its students to think and behave in a manner that forces them outside their comfort zone daily. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Khaled Al Khalifa, a Bahraini Army officer that did just that during his academic year in Carlisle. Khaled joins podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss his experience as an International Fellow in the AY20 Resident class at the U.S. Army War College who elected to join the prestigious Carlisle Scholars Program.

 NOT YOUR FATHER’S NATIONAL GUARD | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:34

The citizen soldiers of the Army's National Guard component often lead different lives than their active duty counterparts. Geographically tied to their state units, they often live out their entire career in their home states spared of the constant moves the rest of the military endures. Guard units in years past have been overlooked for equipment modernization and training. But the wars that the United States has been involved in since 2001 have changed a great deal of those historic missteps. What once was a strategic reserve has now found itself with a much larger operational role. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Mike Flaherty and Pete Helzer, two graduates of the AY20 Resident Class of the Army War College, and guardsmen form Ohio and Oregon respectively. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss their experiences throughout their careers and during their time in Carlisle. Mike and Pete share what they learned during their academic year and what they hope their active duty counterparts may have learned about the National Guard. This was our first podcast episode conducted remotely during the pandemic as you'll hear noted in the intro. We greatly appreciate Mike and Pete's patience as we worked through the process to utilize this capability.

 THE MAGIC OF THE INTERWEBS | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:17

If anyone still doubts how integral the Internet is to daily life then shut off your modem or put your phone in airplane mode in the midst of the current pandemic social distancing exercise. Now try and pay a bill, study for a course, contact friends or family, stream a movie -- you get the idea. But that's just the beginning of cyber's reach into your world. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Joe Atkinson and Richard D'Angelo to the studio to discuss their experiences in the cyber arena as a Marine JAG officer and an Army Signals Officer. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine just how much society takes for granted and worse how little the average individual understands about cyberspace and the threats that lurk behind every bit and byte.


Organizational culture, on its face, is a relatively easy concept to understand; who "we" are as an organization is defined by the underlying beliefs, assumptions, and values - spoken and unspoken - held by the members, leadership and the organization as a whole. Truly understanding and identifying those beliefs, assumptions and values can be incredibly difficult. And when members hold or are exposed to conflicting ideas within that organization it can lead to morale, discipline and behavior issues that can tear a unit apart if not addressed. A BETTER PEACE welcomes the leadership of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) (1SFC(A)) MG John Brennan, BG Steve Marks and COL Ed Croot to the studio to discuss Croot's recent study accomplished during his War College Fellowship in AY20. The Commanding General, Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff join podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine the current identity crisis that 1SFC(A) is undergoing and way ahead as explained in Ed's work.

 LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER: A SAILOR AT THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:01

The J in JPME stands for joint. In order to qualify for joint accreditation each senior service college and the National Defense University are mandated by CJCS instruction to include a proportional number of students and faculty from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Each year hundreds of senior officers attend the college of another service and they find themselves confronted with a whole new world of traditions, culture, acronyms and terms. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Henry Wicks, a member of the Navy element and graduate of the AY20 Resident class at the U.S. Army War College. Henry joins podcast editor Ron Granieri as they discuss what it’s like to be a representative of the U.S. Navy and naval warfare to the School of Strategic Landpower. Henry explains the differences he expected to find in Carlisle along with the vast number of things that are very much the same regardless of uniform or service component.


Login or signup comment.