Navy Milbloggers Sal from "CDR Salamander" and EagleOne from "EagleSpeak" discuss leading issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and related national security issues.


United States


Navy Milbloggers Sal from "CDR Salamander" and EagleOne from "EagleSpeak" discuss leading issues and developments for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and related national security issues.



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Episode 655: Command Posts - Hunter or Hunted, with Lt Col. Matt. Arrol, U.S.A.

For generations, the US military’s senior leadership in the field had no reason to worry about being on the receiving end of enemy fires at their command posts. Even at the company level but especially at higher echelons, we expected that we would be safe and secure in our command posts. Command posts were where one watched, planned, and executed operations – not become player in one. One of the defining characteristics early in the Russo-Ukrainian War was the high loss rate of Russian General Officers from enemy action. Part of this was due to the top-down traditions in the Russian Army that required direct, forward, and in person direction and guidance – but a significant part of that was the Ukrainian military’s reaching out to eliminate senior leadership where they led the fight - their command posts. As precision long range conventional fires and the ISR that supports them become more common on even the most primitive battlefield, is it time for the USA and her allies to reconsider their own reliance on large, static, and “noisy” command posts? Using an article he co-authored in the March issue of the US Army’s “Military Review” titled “The Graveyard of Command Posts” as a starting point for our conversation, our guest this Sunday for the full hour from 5-6pm Eastern will be Lt. Col. Matthew R. Arrol, U.S. Army, commandant of the U.S. Army Joint Support Team at Hurlburt Field, Florida. He is a contributing member of NATO’s Integrated Capabilities Group on Indirect Fire. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, and his civil schooling includes a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Michigan State University and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University. His most recent operational assignment was as the deputy commanding officer of the 19th Battlefield Coordination Detachment in Ramstein, Germany, where he served from 2016 to 2020. Previous tactical assignments include battalion operations officer and executive officer, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment; and G-5 fires planner, 1st Cavalry Division.


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Episode 654: April Free For All!!!

It's a maritime and natsec free for all on Midrats! No fixed topic, open chat room and open studio line for those who are joining us live. From some rather strange comments in congressional briefing rooms to recruiting woes at home, to some rather interesting riverine amphibious operations in the Dnipro River in Ukraine, what it takes to fire a Russian Navy fleet commander, and whatever other topics come across the transom - a full hour of maritime excellence!


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Episode 653: the Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts at 35, with Bradley Peniston

History, heritage, ethos, and institutional culture are more than just books, lectures, static displays, songs, stories and rituals - they are part of a tapestry that define the characteristics of an organization and a people.In a cold, neutral review of individual parts, it can be a challenge to see why they are important, what they really signify ... why we keep, remember, and practice them. On occasion, events suddenly reveal how that tapestry creates a culture and the amazing things that culture can accomplish. Those events become in themselves a story and reinforce and expand the tapestry.One such event took place 35 years ago this April, the mine strike of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) on 14 APR 1988. Returning to Midrats to discuss the events of that day and the very real legacy we see today from the ship and her crew will be Bradley Peniston, deputy editor of Defense One and author of the reference book on the mine strike; No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf (Naval Institute Press, 2006), which has been featured in the Chief of Naval Operations' Professional Reading Program. Brad is a national security journalist for a quarter-century, he helped launch http://Military.com, served as managing editor of Defense News, and was editor of Armed Forces Journal.


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Episode 652: If it Flies, it Dies - with Tom Karako

Two of the above-the-fold topics in the last year in the national security arena both in involve one of the most technologically advance, complicated, and essential parts of modern warfare; ground based anti-air. For over a year we have watched and evolving ongoing real world laboratory in the Russo-Ukrainian War. On the other side of Asia, when not looking in the sky for big balloons, America and her allies are sobering up to the very significant threat of the People’s Republic of China conventional ballistic missile putting almost all of our forward bases “under the gun.” From small, slow, lawnmower sounding combat drones, to hypersonic missiles - how to you see them and kill them before they reach their targets? For the full hour this Sunday we will address these and related challenges with our guest Tom Karako, senior fellow with the International Security Program and the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).


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Episode 651: NATO's Evolution in Response to the Russo-Ukrainian War

The last 13-months has seen a scenario few in NATO’s uniformed or civilian leadership either predicted, or for that matter, though was possible. How has the alliance reacted, grown, succeeded, or shown cracks under the pressure of the growing war in Ukraine as it moves it to its second year? Returning to Midrats for the full hour will be Jorge Benitez, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Marine Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia.He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He specializes in NATO and transatlantic relations, European politics, and US national security. He previously served as assistant for Alliance issues to the Director of NATO Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served as a specialist in international security for the Department of State and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. Dr. Benitez received his BA from the University of Florida, his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


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Episode 650: Keeping America's Dominance at Sea with Jerry Hendrix

Except for those over a 85, no one alive has ever existed at a time when the US Navy was not the premier naval power - and no one alive at all has known a world where the US Navy was not the premier naval power in the Pacific. Though on paper it could be challenged in the first third of the 20th Century by the Royal Navy, and was challenged in a very real way by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific in the early mid-century, after the 1930s no industrial power could hope to compete with the United States in production and warships ready to fight at sea in a major conflict. During the Cold War, there were a couple of decades where the Soviet Union could put a fleet to sea to give the US Navy regional concern, but never really on an ocean wide scale.As we approach the end of the first quarter of the 21st Century, a rising power is presenting a challenge in the Pacific the US Navy, and its political leaders, seem to have trouble accepting.The People's Republic of China is clear that it wants the global power the USA presently has - including on the high seas. Returning to Midrats to discuss his recent article in The Atlantic, "The Age of American Naval Dominance is Over" is Jerry Hendrix, PhD. Jerry is a retired USN Captain, author, and a senior fellow with the Sagamore Institute, in Indianapolis. His most recent book is To Provide and Maintain a Navy (2020).


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Episode 649: Spring Forward Midrats Melee

As we ended last week's show with a whole list of topics we wanted to discuss, this Sunday we're going to pick up right where we left off with a Midrats Maritime Melee! From submarines to Australia to the opening of mud season in Ukraine, we'll cover the latest - or at least the more interesting - topics in the national security arena.


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Episode 648: March Maritime Melee

The news does not stop on the national security front, and as we approach the end of 1QCY23, a couple of weeks without a Midrats can only add to everyone's confusion. For the full hour we're going to cover the waterfront from the Sea of Azov to the parking lots of San Diego's waterfront. As with all our free-for-all formats, we have open topic and the switchboard phone line is open. If you have a topic you would like to discussed or want to call in with a question for the hosts ... join us live from 5-6pm Eastern.


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Episode 647: American Realism in the Russo-Ukrainian War with Rebeccah Heinrichs

What path best enhances American security and prosperity, along with her allies, when it comes to the Russo-Ukrainian War? Are American's interests best promoted by more support of Ukraine's ongoing fight for her independence, or by backing away to let things take their natural course? Isolationists, realists, and idealists are all trying to make their case as to where to go next as the war moves in to its second year.What are their arguments, and for those who say they promote a "Realist" policy - how do they define Realism? Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and related issues she raised in her latest article in National Review, "Who are the Real 'Realists' on Ukraine?" will be Rebeccah Heinrichs, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.


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Episode 646: The People's Liberation Army Navy in 2023, with Toshi Yoshihara

From a navy of peasants to professionals on par with any Western navy; from coastal patrol to global reach, the slow and steady growth of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) crept up on some policy makers in the last decade, but as the PLAN eclipses the United States Navy in numbers and is accelerating their industrial capacity and capabilities, the decades of the American uncontested dominance at sea is no longer granted. Returning to Midrats to discuss this and the larger trends he raises in his new book, Mao's Army Goes to Sea: The Island Campaigns and the Founding of China's Navy, will be Dr. Toshi Yoshihara.Toshi Yoshihara is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He was previously the inaugural John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies and a Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College. In addition to his latest book is Mao’s Army Goes to Sea: The Island Campaigns and the Founding of China’s Navy, he co-authored, with James R. Holmes, the second edition of Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy. He currently teaches a graduate course on seapower in the Indo-Pacific at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.Photo credit Naval News.


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Episode 645: The Navy’s New Mission with Bryan McGrath

Officially the Navy may have a “new mission” but it is just putting in to law what has been in existence since the first Stone Age man outfitted his fishing canoe as a war canoe. In a modern society, words mean things and even what is self-evident must on occasion be put in writing. What is “Title 10?” That is what tells our Navy what it’s mission is. We now have newTitle 10 language, in Section 8062(a): “The Navy, within the Department of the Navy, includes, in general, naval combat and service forces and such aviation as may be organic therein. The Navy shall be organized, trained, and equipped for the peacetime promotion of the national security interests and prosperity of the United States and prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea. It is responsible for the preparation of naval forces necessary for the duties described in the preceding sentence except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Navy to meet the needs of war.” What’s different? As our guest stated earlier this summer; “…the peacetime value of the Navy is no longer negotiable, it cannot be minimized, or at least it cannot as easily be minimized. As I said earlier, this is NOT an increase in the Navy’s mission set, it is a codification of the Navy’s mission set. The Navy has been promoting the national security interests and prosperity of the United States in peacetime since its inception, but only now (if passed) will the law actually reflect this.” Don’t miss this Sunday’s Midrats where almost exactly 13 years since his first appearance, Bryan McGrath, Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC. returns for the full hour to discuss this and more.


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Episode 644: 13th Anniversary Show

When we started Midrats, President Obama hadn't even been President for a year, I only left active duty 4-months ago, Russia was mostly forgotten about except for Secretary of State Clinton famous "Reset/Overload," anyone worried about China was considered an alarmist, and no one really knew what a "podcast" was except for a very small group of to-online weirdos. One day our friend Claude Berube convinced the two of us and the late Raymond Pritchett that people might be interested in hearing us chat about those things that we find interesting.That was 13-years ago - and Midrats is still going strong. Come join us for the full hour as we take a quick review of the status on the conversation in the national security arena, the big lessons of 2022, and what we plan on keeping an eye on in 2023.


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Episode 643: Cyber Lessons of the Russo-Ukrainian War

There is still a lot of fighting to be done in the Russo-Ukrainian War, but important lessons can already be drawn from the first 10-months of conflict. One of the most hyped "new" domains of war the last three decades has been what is generally referred to as "cyber." Its growth in interest and buzz paralleled the decline and neglect of a more traditional form of modern war, Electronic Warfare. This Sunday we're going to do a deep dive in what we are seeing, what we thought we should have seen but haven't, and how this should inform present support and future policy in the area of cyber. Our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 4-5pm Eastern will be Shashank Joshi, Defence editor at The Economist. If you are looking for a read-ahead, "The Digital Front" in the December 3rd edition of The Economist would be a good start.


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Episode 642: A Week of Maritime Good Tidings?

From the NDAA to some rather positive words from the SECNAV on some of our favorite maritime areas of concern, so far December has produced a few positives to think about - if you don't think too much about the Army-Navy game on Saturday... This week's Midrats free for all will start here and then we'll work our way around the national security landscape. As always, open topic, open phones ... so come join us for the conversation.


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Episode 641: December Maritime Free For All

Now that you’re in that time where you’re trying to make that transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas & New Years saturation … give your stomach and mind a break and join EagleOne and Sal for a maritime and national security free for all this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern. As is usual with our free for all format, the studio line is open for you to call in and the chat room will be running for your questions, observations … or even topics you wish we’d discuss but it seems we never get around to. In the course of the hour we’ll try to at least touch on this week’s warship chicken in San Diego, why everyone should care about secure undersea infrastructure, and take another look at how the logistics failures by the Russians ashore informs planning for logistics planning for a major Pacific war at sea.


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Episode 640: Pre-Thanksgiving Maritime and Natsec Feast!

What do you need tp know to make sure you have all the right talking points around the Thanksgiving table? If someone brings up the Navy, China, Ukraine, inflation, or supply chain issues - well, we know Midrats regulars are already up to speed - but now's your opportunity to make sure all your talking points are up to date! No guests, no set agenda, just open phones, open minds, and open chat room for those who are with us live. ...but we did have a special guest who called in and stayed for most of the show. Don't be stuck talking about twitter or Taylor Swift this Thanksgiving!


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Episode 639: Elections Have Consequences

Every election cycle provides a preview of what advocates for national defense and sea power will have on their side - or not on their side - in the next Congress. New people arrive, experienced people leave, and priorities, agendas, and advocacy will shift change with them. What can we expect in the next Congress based on changes we see and those national security issues waxing or waning in the mind of legislators and their counterparts in the Executive Branch? Politics matter. Our guests for the full hour to discuss the implications of this years election in the national security arena, will be Claude Berube and Derek (Dirk) Maurer. Claude Berube, PhD, is the author of “On Wide Seas: The US Navy in the Jacksonian Era” and several other books. He has worked on Capitol Hill, in the defense industry, and the Office of Naval Intelligence. A Commander in the US Navy Reserve, he is currently assigned to a unit with Navy Warfare Development Center. Since 2005 he has taught in the Political Science and History Departments at the US Naval Academy. Dirk Maurer currently is Vice President at Layer 8 Security, & a Visiting Fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School. He is the Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Defense Continuity and Mission Assurance and as DASD for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. and was DASD for Defense Support and Civil Authorities during the George W. Bush administration Mr. Maurer has served on multiple Senate committees and in the personal offices of three Senators. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve after twenty years. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.


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Episode 638: The Case for a 600 Ship Navy: Now More than Ever with Joseph Sims

When was the last time the US Navy made the case for a significantly larger navy to defend its interests on the high seas? Yep, back when Ole Sal was a Midshipman and EagleOne was as close to his service in Vietnam than Sal was to his service in Afghanistan - the 1980s. What lessons can we take from that relatively successful intellectual, political, and personal struggle to grow our Navy? Using his recent article in Naval History Magazine, Lessons from the 600-Ship Navy, as a starting point for our conversation, our guest for the full hour will be Lieutenant Joseph Sims, USN. Lieutenant Sims is a Surface Warfare Officer and 2018 graduate of the US Naval Academy where he majored in history and competed four years on the varsity tennis team. He completed his first division officer tour on USS LASSEN (DDG-82), where he served as the gunnery officer and electronic warfare officer and completed deployment to 5th Fleet with the Truman Strike Group in 2019-2020 as well as deployment to 4th Fleet in 2020. Following completion of the Advanced Division Officer Course and Prospective Engineering Officer Course in Newport, RI, he reported to USS ANTIETAM (CG-54) in August of 2021 as the Main Propulsion Assistant. Referenced Article: https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2022/august/lessons-600-ship-navy


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Episode 637: Can You be Realistic About the Real World - with Emma Ashford

A nation’s foreign policy is driven by more than just the whims and desires of the Chief Executive. Through government, academia, institutions, and individuals of influence there are a variety of different schools of thought on what should underpin the decision making process. Well known general descriptors of these schools include “interventionist,” “isolationist,” “internationalist,” and even well known sub-species of the major schools who are known by the actions they wish to take - usually that involve the use of military power - “Responsibility to Protect,” to “Nation Building” to the old saw from over a century ago, “Make the World Safe for Democracy.” One long-standing school that has gained attention and influence after the experiences of the last two decades from Afghanistan to Ukraine is, “Realism.” What is the history of a “realist foreign policy,” its advocates, its intellectual foundations, and what does it have to offer the United States today? Our returning guest for the full hour is Emma Ashford. Emma is a Senior Fellow with the Reimagining US Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her first book, Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates, was published by Georgetown University Press in 2022. She was previously with the Atlantic Council’s New American Engagement Initiative, and the Cato Institute. She holds a PhD in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.


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Episode 636: AUKUS at 1-year, with Alessio Patalano

In September of last year, the national security story was the announcement of AUKUS - trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Though the Russo-Ukrainian War quickly took it from headlines, it is still moving forward - and in ways you may not expect. These three Anglosphere nations have a long cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military history together - so many of the building blocks are already there to make something impressive. Using his recent article in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as a starting off point, our guest for the full hour returning to Midrats this Sunday will be Dr. Alessio Patalano. Alessio is Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia and Director of the King’s Japan Programme at the Centre for Grand Strategy at the Department of War Studies (DWS), King’s College London (KCL). Prof Patalano is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, a Visiting Professor at the Japan Maritime Command and Staff College (JMCSC) and a Senior Fellow at the highly influential think tanks Policy Exchange and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In 2022, he also became fellow at the Royal Navy Centre for Strategic Studies, and Sir Herbert Richmond Fellow in Maritime Strategy at the Council on Geostrategy.