This episode of the MWI Podcast is one of the most timely episodes we’ve had the opportunity to record and publish. The outbreak of COVID-19 over the past days and weeks has disrupted lives—and to a considerable extent, the collective public life of the nation, just as it has in so many countries around the world. The response to that outbreak—or more specifically, one very specific component of it—is what we’re going to talk about in this episode. In some states, the National Guard has been called on to play a role in the government’s efforts to respond to the crisis. There have also been calls to leverage active-duty forces to further bolster resources and capabilities. But the deployment of the military on US soil has important policy implications and involves questions of law.

That’s what the conversation in this episode is about. My guest is Dr. Ryan Burke. He is a former Marine officer and currently an associate professor in the Department of Military & Strategic Studies at the US Air Force Academy. He is also a non-resident fellow with the Modern War Institute and researched and written extensively about what the US government calls “defense support of civil authorities.” With the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, I asked him to come on the podcast and talk about the military’s potential role in the response.

It’s an important topic, and you can hear the full discussion below. And be sure to subscribe to the MWI Podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode.


Image credit: Sgt. Leia Tascarini, US Army