Professional Military Education



The Professional Military Education (PME) podcast is where great books on war and history are analyzed and discussed with the author. Through in depth conversations, the PME podcast seeks to promote great books that will interest serious military thinkers. For people that might be interested in military topics and history, the PME podcast will get you hooked on this awesome field of study. Through in depth reading and serious scholarship, the PME podcast is proud to bring a great history show to life.


  • Not Yet Openly at War, But Still Mostly at Peace: An Interview with LtCol Scott Cuomo (USMC)

    Not Yet Openly at War, But Still Mostly at Peace: An Interview with LtCol Scott Cuomo (USMC)

    29/09/2019 Duración: 02h04min
  • American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day with Robert Coram

    American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day with Robert Coram

    08/09/2019 Duración: 54min

    Robert Coram is the author of an excellent biography called American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day. Colonel Day is a larger than life figure. He is one of the most decorated veterans in American military history. This interview with Mr. Coram spans the course of Colonel Day’s life from his small-town upbringing in Iowa to his service as an Air Force pilot and prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam.  Colonel Day is best known for his time during the Vietnam War because he was shot down and imprisoned in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. In fact, he was roommates with the late Senator John McCain. The two men served as POWs for five years until their release in the Spring of 1973. As a result of his steadfast commitment to resisting and upholding the Code of Conduct, Colonel Day was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.  A recurring theme of Colonel Day’s legacy is honor. Colonel Day constantly repeated the phrase “return with honor” while being tortured by his Nort

  • 4th Generation Warfare: An Interview with Lt. Col Thiele (USMC-Ret.)

    4th Generation Warfare: An Interview with Lt. Col Thiele (USMC-Ret.)

    28/07/2019 Duración: 01h04min

    Today’s guest is Lt. Col Thiele (USMC-Ret.). He is the co-author of 4th Generation Warfare Handbook, which he wrote with William (“Bill”) Lind.  In the interview, Lt. Col Thiele explains that while he was working as an instructor at the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfighting School (EWS), he met Bill Lind, who introduced him to some of the ideas of 4th Generation Warfare. Together they began to collaborate on the 4th Generation Warfare Handbook.  Lt. Col Thiele mentions that he was motivated by the question, “What does victory look like?” He had this question after returning from deployment to Iraq where he saw that even though the violence was decreasing, the U.S. still seemed far from victory.  In the interview, Lt. Col Thiele focuses on the evolution of warfare through what he describes as three generations. The bulk of the fighting in the previous three generations occurred between state actors. That is nation state fought nation state. However, his theory is that in 4th Generation of Warfare, states wil

  •  On Desperate Ground: An Interview with Hampton Sides

    On Desperate Ground: An Interview with Hampton Sides

    30/06/2019 Duración: 33min

    Today’s guest is Hampton Sides. He is the author of On Desperate Ground: The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle.  The topic is the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. This battle took place in the Fall and Winter of 1950 during the Korean War. Marines were surrounded at the Chosin Reservoir by over 100,000 of Mao’s Red Army forces. With their backs to the wall and facing total annihilation, they fought back with tenacity and determination. The fighting took place in sub-zero temperatures on unforgiving terrain. The Chinese attacked the Marines at night with wave after wave of soldiers storming the Marines positions. The fighting became hand to hand quickly. Marines used knives, bayonets, canteens, and helmets to repel the Chinese attackers.  In the end the Marines and Allied forces were able to execute a withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir. They were surrounded by an overwhelming force and against all odds managed to execute a complicate maneuver to avoid destruction.  In the interview, H

  • Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession with Dr. Leonard Wong

    Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession with Dr. Leonard Wong

    03/06/2018 Duración: 54min

    My guest is Dr. Leonard Wong a research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. In February 2015, he co-authored a paper with Stephen Gerras called “Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession.” The interview explores how a culture of “ethical laziness” has spread throughout military branches like the U.S. Army. The essential question is whether the Army system has eroded virtues like integrity. Dr. Wong argues that through overtasking and too many training requirements, military leaders will consciously report inaccuracies. But, is this malicious? Is it a new phenomenon? What can military leaders do now to recover the core values that make the profession of arms so widely respected? This conversation will stir a lot of passionate debates and emotions, but that is a good thing. I applaud Dr. Wong for taking on this topic. It will only challenge military leaders to think and improve our profession.  Be sure to follow Dr. Wong’s current and future work by finding him onli

  • Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging with Sebastian Junger

    Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging with Sebastian Junger

    20/05/2018 Duración: 36min

    In this interview, I talk to Sebastian Junger. Sebastian wrote Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. Sebastian is also the author of The Perfect Storm, which was made into a major film. His films include the award-winning documentaries Restrepo and Korengal. Sebastian Junger began his career as a journalist in war town countries such as Bosnia and Afghanistan. Through his own struggles with PTSD and his study of units on the battlefield, Sebastian dives deep into what it is like for someone to return from war. What are the struggles of returning to modern society where life is easy, and people are separated from each other? How has the loss of community hurt veterans returning from battle?   Sebastian takes on difficult topics, and challenges us to think about issues related to the state of American society.   Be sure to check out Sebastian’s website:

  • John Boyd, Maneuver Warfare, and MCDP-1 (Part 2) with Major Ian Brown

    John Boyd, Maneuver Warfare, and MCDP-1 (Part 2) with Major Ian Brown

    29/04/2018 Duración: 01h27min

    MCDP1: Warfighting is four chapters, and the total length is around 100 pages. The book is affectionately termed a "two crapper", which means that a person can finish it in two-bathroom trips. Warfighting describes a way of thinking about war. It is not a checklist or a technical manual. It gives a mental framework that provides the basis for the Marine Corps’ conception of war. More importantly it is a launching point for future studies. Warfighting should be the starting point for further scholarship. It is simple to read and enjoyable. The themes and points of discussion in Warfighting could be discussed for many hours. In Part Two of this interview with Major Ian Brown, we dive into the specific chapters in MCDP1: Warfighting that include the nature of war, the theory of war, preparing for war, and the conduct of war. Maj Brown highlights many of the key themes of the book and reflects on the history and evolution of these themes. Check out the interview and share it!   For copies of Maj Brown’s book, A N

  • John Boyd, Maneuver Warfare, and MCDP-1 (Part 1) with Major Ian Brown

    John Boyd, Maneuver Warfare, and MCDP-1 (Part 1) with Major Ian Brown

    22/04/2018 Duración: 01h05min

    What is “maneuver warfare”? Who is Air Force Colonel John Boyd, who throughout the late 1970s and 1980s found a captive audience in the Marine Corps leadership? In Episode 11, Major Ian Brown discusses the evolution of the Marine Corps' doctrinal publication, MCDP-1: Warfighting. Furthermore, he focuses on the contribution of Air Force Colonel John Boyd, who developed a brief called “Patterns of Conflict.” This brief combined Boyd’s study of military history with his earlier technical development of Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) theory. The result was a transformational concept of warfare by maneuver, which the Marine Corps released in 1989 in a publication called “Fleet Marine Force Manual 1” (FMFM 1). FMFM 1 was later revised and updated under the direction of General Krulak, 31st Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1997, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1 was published under the name Warfighting. Maj Brown wrote a book entitled, A New Conception of War: John Boyd, the U.S. Marines, and Maneuver Warfar

  • On Tactics: An Interview with B.A. Friedman

    On Tactics: An Interview with B.A. Friedman

    17/09/2017 Duración: 01h09min

    In episode 10 of the Professional Military Education podcast, we talk to B.A. Friedman, author of On Tactics: A Theory of Victory in Battle. The conversation focuses on tactics and its relationship to strategy. Mr. Friedman discusses what he calls the three tactical tenets- physical, mental, and moral. He discusses how he developed his theory of tactics, and how that theory can be applied by military thinkers.  Be sure to follow Mr. Friedman on Twitter @BA_Friedman Like On Tactics on Facebook,  HELP SPREAD THE WORD! If you like this interview, and want to hear others, subscribe in iTunes. Support the show with written reviews, share on social media, and through word of mouth. For any requests for additional shows or guests, e-mail me: On Tactics: A Theory of Victory in Battle

  • The North Korea Threat: An Interview with Dr. Bruce Bechtol

    The North Korea Threat: An Interview with Dr. Bruce Bechtol

    18/08/2017 Duración: 01h03min

    In the following interview, Dr. Bruce Bechtol discusses the threat of North Korea. North Korea has made headlines for their ICBM tests and nuclear tests. We discuss the threat that they pose as well as dive into the details of their regime, their current leader, past provocations, weapons systems, and options that the U.S. and its allies have to deal with them. Dr. Bechtol is Associate Professor of political science at Angelo State University in Texas. He is a retired U.S. Marine, and wrote the lead article in the December 2016 edition of the Marine Corps Gazette. The article was called "A Marine's Guide to North Korea." North Korea Threat Synopsis We begin the interview discussing the current situation between the U.S. and North Korea. North Korea recently threatened to fire ICBMs at Guam. But, Kim Jong-un backed down... for now. Dr. Bechtol talks about the different types of missiles that the North Koreans have including Musadan, KN-08, and KN-14 missiles. The Washington Post reported North Korea's advancem

  • Blueprint for America: “Restoring our National Security”

    Blueprint for America: “Restoring our National Security”

    16/07/2017 Duración: 01h14min

    Dr. Kori Schake co-authored, "Restoring Our National Security", with Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and James O. Ellis Jr. The chapter appeared in the book, Blueprint for America, which was published by Stanford Universities Hoover Institute. Dr. Schake is a professor of history at Stanford, and is a research fellow at the Hoover Institute. She also co-edited a book with Secretary Mattis called, Warriors and Citizens: American Views of our Military. Key Takeaways: Schake describes working with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. She says, "We are both argumentative." Dr. Schake claims that since meeting Secretary Mattis, they have had many long running debates specifically about the political composition of the Middle East. I asked Dr. Schake about her definition of strategy. She defines it as, "The way you connect political objectives to their execution. How you identify the means and array them so you have the highest likelihood of being able to carry out your objectives." Schake’s nephew Captain Barr

  • On Strategy: An Interview with Sir Lawrence Freedman

    On Strategy: An Interview with Sir Lawrence Freedman

    28/05/2017 Duración: 01h06min

    Sir Lawrence Freedman is Professor of War Studies at King’s College and the author of numerous books and publications to include Strategy: A History. In Episode 7 of the PME podcast, we talk about strategy. What is strategy and what it is not? We trace its historical roots, and discuss how traditional views of strategy still apply or do not apply to today’s conflicts and future conflicts. Additionally, Sir Lawrence Freedman was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1996. He was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG (Knight Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2003. Finally, he was appointed in June 2009 to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War.   Key Takeaways:  “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” -Mike Tyson •What is strategy? Strategy involves making decisions when faced with “other people with their own plans and interests.”

  • The Iran Wars with Jay Solomon

    The Iran Wars with Jay Solomon

    30/04/2017 Duración: 02h05min

    Jay Solomon is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the author of The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East. In Episode 6 of the PME podcast, the history of the conflict between the U.S. and Iran is covered along with the events and negotiations that led to the nuclear agreement of July 2015. Mr. Solomon talks about how pressure was exerted on Iran to bring them to negotiate, and observes how the model of economic sanctions might be used against countries like North Korea. The interview also highlights the complexity of foreign policy in the Middle East. Mr. Solomon also talks about Iran’s use of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their Quds force to achieve their strategic objectives.   Key Takeaways:  The U.S. historically supported Iran as an ally in the region against the Soviet Union. Iran is a Shiite dominated country. They view themselves as the historical great power in the region upholding the legacy of the Persian Empire. The Isla

  • Steven Lee Myers on The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

    Steven Lee Myers on The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

    02/04/2017 Duración: 02h15min

    Steven Lee Myers is a columnist for the New York Times and the author of The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. Myers talks about the life and career of Vladimir Putin from his time as a KGB foreign intelligence officer to his current role as Russian president. The interview covers a wide range of Russian history from World War II to the current conflict in Ukraine.   Key Takeaways: What is a Tsar? Myers explains the historical role of a Tsar in Russia. Vladimir Putin’s upbringing in Leningrad what is called Saint Petersburg today. His early childhood in the Soviet Union. Putin grows up with the legacy of the “Great Patriotic War,” and is exposed to tales of “heroism and suffering.” As he prepares for a career in the KGB, Myers explains that Putin comes of age in the “high water mark” of the Soviet era. Inspired by a movie called The Shield and the Sword, Putin decides to join the KGB. Putin joins the foreign intelligence branch of the KGB in 1975 and is initially stationed in his home town of L

  • S. C. Gwynne on The Intricate Strategies of Stonewall Jackson

    S. C. Gwynne on The Intricate Strategies of Stonewall Jackson

    12/03/2017 Duración: 02h14min

    S.C. Gwynne is a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning Historian. His book, Rebel Yell, focuses on the Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Jackson was a brilliant leader and was consider a real ‘rock ‘n’ roll star,’ during the era where his bold strategic maneuvers became famous on an international level. Find out more about this fascinating man in this week’s episode!   Key Takeaways: [4:35] What was Gwynne’s inspiration to writing the book? [6:05] Who was Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson? [13:35] Why was Jackson against the Civil War? [21:30] When the war starts, what was Jackson’s role in the army? [26:30] How did the weapon technology change during this time period? [29:20] How did Jackson get to The first Bull Run? [34:40] Jackson became a mini celebrity after the First Battle of Bull Run. [35:25] What’s the difference between First Bull Run vs. First Manassas? [39:25] Jackson’s men marched 700 miles in 28 days and fought 5 major engagements. [43:35] How did Jackson achieve such maneuv

  • Patrick O’Donnell on The Forgotten Story of The Maryland Heroes

    Patrick O’Donnell on The Forgotten Story of The Maryland Heroes

    26/02/2017 Duración: 02h08min

    Patrick K. O’Donnell is a combat historian, bestselling author, and public speaker. O’Donnell has written ten critically acclaimed books that recount epic, and untold, stories of American war. His most recent book, Washington’s Immortals, recounts the story of the forgotten Maryland Heroes who helped push the war onto America’s winning side and defeat the British.   Key Takeaways: [4:00] Much like the rest of O’Donnell’s books, this one found him. [6:35] Green-Wood Cemetery is a fascinating place because it held an epic battle during the Revolution where we could have lost to the British. [9:10] These Marylanders bought the United States precious time during the war. [11:45] O’Donnell became obsessed with uncovering the Marylanders’ story. [14:00] Although it’s hard to confirm these numbers, but up to a 3rd (if not more) of Americans sided with the British. [18:10] Hollywood makes fun of it, but the British army was a very strong and professional force. [19:15] British soldiers were constantly adapting to Ame

  • Joby Warrick on Zarqawi and ISIS

    Joby Warrick on Zarqawi and ISIS

    05/02/2017 Duración: 01h20min

    Joby Warrick is an American Journalist who has won two Pulitzer Prizes. His work at The Washington Post covers topics on the Middle East, diplomacy, and national security. On today’s discussion, Warrick discusses his book, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, in greater detail, and gives some history on how ISIS began.   Key Takeaways: [2:55] Even though we’re not under attack, the American people are still affected by ISIS. [6:10] Who is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, really? [9:25] Warrick discusses Zarqawi and his relationship with his mother. [13:45] How did prison make Zarqawi more radical? [16:10] Prison helped form a brotherhood, a university, for a lot of these men. [21:25] Zarqawi and his associates were disowned by Al-Qaeda because they were almost too brutal. [22:20] ISIS and Al-Qaeda do not like each other. Al-Qaeda views them as ‘crazy heretics.’ [27:55] How was Zarqawi connected to Saddam's regime? [32:30] The U.S. decided to wait until after after the Iraq invasion to go after Zarqawi. [40:05] Zarqawi created

  • Gideon Rose on How Wars End

    Gideon Rose on How Wars End

    12/01/2017 Duración: 02h10min

    Gideon Rose is the editor of Foreign Affairs, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also the author of the book How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle. In this week’s episode, Mr. Rose discusses why, no matter the war, we see the same mistakes occur throughout U.S. history. The truth be told, the end state in war is often too broad. The lack of planning by civilian decision-makers based on these broad and vague terms, leads to a longer-than-necessary war that could have very well been prevented, and had lives spared. However, war is inherently political, and leaving just the violence to military officials, and politics to politicians, is not the realistic balance and conclusion we all crave.   Key Takeaways: [1:55] Who is Carl Van Clausewitzian and why is he relevant to how wars end? [3:30] What is war? Clausewitzian defined it in two different ways. [6:25] The end state, in this case, goes beyond the physical battlefield, and it stretches into the political realm. [6:35] Should m