In Episode 7, Season 2 of the Social Science of War, Major Gabe Royal is joined by Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Griffiths and Professor Nora Bensahel for a conversation about the importance of developing the skill of professional writing in the Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Griffiths begins the episode by describing the Harding Project to renew military writing and why it is a priority for General Randy George, the Army chief of staff. He outlines how this effort to promote and modernize the Army’s professional publications can help us identify and solve problems. We discuss the current state of professional writing in the Army through the eyes of Professor Bensahel and her experience teaching in the Army Strategic Education Program. From there, we consider several practical use cases for developing writing as a skill for Army officers and noncommissioned officers. Additionally, both guests see writing as part of a renewed effort to better communicate with the American people—perhaps even as a way of addressing recruiting challenges.

Lieutenant Colonel Griffiths is a US Army Special Forces officer and the director of the Harding Project. Between operational tours, he taught American politics in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. He also has published more than thirty articles and is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Bensahel is a professor of practice at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a contributing editor and columnist for War on the Rocks. She is a renowned expert on US defense policy, military operations, and the future of war. She is the coauthor of Adaptation Under Fire: How Militaries Change in Wartime.

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 the Social Science of War. Hosts on Season 2 of the podcast are Dr. Nakissa JahanbaniDr. Alexandra ChinchillaLieutenant Colonel Sean McKnight, and Major Gabriel Royal. Please reach out to the podcast team with any questions about this episode or the Social Science of War podcast in general.

Image credit: Christopher Hennen, United States Military Academy