In this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, Kyle Atwell and Shawna Sinnott discuss proxy and partner warfare in Africa with retired Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks and Dr. Eli Berman. This is the first installment of a two-part discussion on fighting irregular warfare through proxy forces.

Eli and Mark discuss the objectives of proxy and partner warfare, the tools available to influence local agents, and whether the United States should increase or decrease its military and diplomatic footprint across Africa in an era of renewed great-power competition. The episode provides insights on the opportunities and challenges of working with local partners from the perspectives of a senior practitioner and an acclaimed academic. 

Retired Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks served as the commander of Special Operations Command Africa from 2017 to 2019, where he was responsible for all special operations forces across the continent. Before that he was the chief of staff and director of operations at US Special Operations Command headquarters and a career AC-130 pilot.

Dr. Eli Berman is a professor at the University of California, San Diego. He is the co-editor of the book Proxy Wars: Suppressing Violence Through Local Agents and co-author of the book Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict, which was the topic of Episode 1 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast. Before entering academia, Eli was a member of the Israel Defense Forces, where he participated in the 1982 Lebanon War.

The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a collaboration between the Modern War Institute and Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. You can listen to the full episode below, and you can find it and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, or your favorite podcast app. And be sure to follow the podcast on Twitter!

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Love, US Africa Command