In the blurred spaces between peace and war, a contest over influence plays out. But how is the contest won? What are the components of an effective strategy in this gray zone? What role do irregular warfare campaigns play? And how do strong alliances enable these campaigns?

This episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast explores these questions and more, specifically looking at the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region, where observers can see the broad contours of China’s gray zone strategy. In competition with this strategy are the activities of a network of actors, a centerpiece of which is the strong alliance between the United States and Australia.

The episode features a discussion with two guests. Clementine Starling is the director of the Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense program and the author of a 2021 strategy paper, “Seizing the Advantage: A Vision for the Next US National Defense Strategy,” which forms the basis of the conversation. And David Van is a member of the Australian Senate, where he has worked extensively on foreign affairs and defense issues and where he serves as the deputy chair of the Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade.

You can hear the full episode, hosted by Adam Darnley-Stuart and Julia McClenon, below. And be sure to subscribe to the Irregular Warfare Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode!

Image credit: Spc. Christopher Wilkins, US Army