Episode 8, Season 1 of the Social Science of War podcast is the second in a two-part series that examines land warfare in Europe, and the focus of this episode turns to the lessons learned from Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The first part of this series released two weeks ago and explores the strategic and political dynamics of the NATO alliance. Today’s episode zooms in to examine what tactical and operational lessons the war in Ukraine can teach us about large-scale combat operations. The conversation starts with tactical observations from the current fight on topics such as mission command, logistics, air defense, and synchronizing combined arms across dispersed tactical units. It then shifts to the theory of conventional deterrence and how to shape US force posture in Europe moving forward, to include a discussion on whether the United States should posture permanent or rotational US forces in Europe.

Our guests bring recent perspective from the tactical to strategic levels in Europe, and all three have conducted research and published about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges is a retired United States Army officer. His flag officer assignments include time as the commander of NATO’s Allied Land Command, and then as the commander of United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017.

Major Ryan Van Wie is a US Army infantry officer and a former assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, where he published multiple articles on the war in Ukraine. He served as a company commander in Operation Atlantic Resolve in Europe in 2017 and is currently the operations officer of 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, deployed under Operation European Assure, Deter, and Reinforce.

Dr. Jack Watling is senior research fellow for land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute. Jack works closely with the British military on preparing for the future of land warfare, and he has published and spoken extensively on lessons learned from the Russian war in Ukraine.

The Social Science of War podcast is produced by the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. Visit our website if you would like to be a student or teach in the department, or if you would like to connect with any of our instructors based on their expertise.

Kyle Atwell created and is the host of the Social Science of War. Please reach out to Kyle with any questions about this episode or the Science of War podcast in general.

Image credit: Mil.gov.ua, via Wikimedia Commons