NucleCast

by ANWA Deterrence Center

Welcome to NucleCast, the official podcast of the ANWA Deterrence Center. NucleCast is an engaging, educational podcast featuring a series of discussions and interviews with experts in nuclear policy, technology, and deterrence. The show is hosted by Dr. Adam Lowther, Strategic Advisor to the ANWA Deterrence Center and an expert on nuclear deterrence.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 2

  • Thomas Ramos - The Importance of Capturing History to Inform Current Threats

    Thomas Ramos - The Importance of Capturing History to Inform Current Threats

    In this episode of NucleCast, Adam interviews Tom Ramos, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, about the relevance of the early years of the Cold War to today's national security challenges. They discuss the lessons learned from the past and how they can inform our approach to handling current threats from Russia and China. They emphasize the importance of capturing and memorializing the history of this period and the need for strong policy analysts and integrated collaboration between the military, think tanks, and scientists. They also highlight the need for a sense of urgency and recognition of the serious threats we face. For the past 40 years, Tom Ramos has been a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he was a member of the nuclear team that developed the X-ray Laser for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. He later supported US/USSR arms control negotiations for START and over a span of seventeen years he created and ran a program for the Department of Defense called CAPS. Ramos, who graduated from West Point, commanded combat engineers before entering MIT to earn a degree in high energy physics. His most recent venture was writing a book titled “From Berkeley to Berlin: How the Rad Lab Helped Avert Nuclear War,” which focuses on how the United States had the ability to stand up to Nikita Khrushchev, former leader of the Soviet Union, and his attempts to expand Soviet influence around the globe. The book brings individuals alive, especially those at Livermore, who played important roles in making the country safe during the Cold War. Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background 02:02 Relevance of the Early Cold War to Today's Challenges 06:41 Lessons from the Kennedy Era 08:09 Challenges of Nuclear Superiority and Modernization 11:26 The Need for Collaboration and Integration 21:30 Advice for Present Leadership 23:15 The Importance of History and Lessons Learned 28:13 Conclusion and Three Wishes Socials: Follow on Twitter at @NucleCast Follow on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/nuclecastpodcast Subscribe RSS Feed: https://rss.com/podcasts/nuclecast-podcast/ Rate: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclecast/id1644921278 Email comments and topic/guest suggestions to NucleCast@anwadeter.org

  • William Hennigan - Bringing Nuclear Issues to the Forefront for Everyday People

    William Hennigan - Bringing Nuclear Issues to the Forefront for Everyday People

    William Hennigan, national security correspondent for the New York Times Opinion Section, discusses his series of articles on nuclear issues and the motivation behind them. He highlights the convergence of events such as modernization efforts, arms control treaties, and the war in Ukraine that prompted the New York Times to focus on nuclear issues. Hennigan aims to bring these issues to the forefront and make them understandable to everyday people. He also discusses the response from the professional community and the general public. He also provides insights for the nuclear enterprise on how to better communicate their perspective to journalists. Mr. Hennigan has reported from more than two dozen countries across five continents, covering war, the arms trade, and the lives of U.S. service members. Learn more: W.J. Hennigan - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Guest Introduction 06:02 Discoveries and Highlights in Reporting 12:32 Improving Communication with the Nuclear Enterprise 23:42 Concerns and Trust in Journalistic Coverage 28:12 Three Wishes: North Korea, China, and US Modernization Socials: Follow on Twitter at @NucleCast Follow on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/nuclecastpodcast Subscribe RSS Feed: https://rss.com/podcasts/nuclecast-podcast/ Rate: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclecast/id1644921278 Email comments and topic/guest suggestions to NucleCast@anwadeter.org

  • Greg Weaver - The Need for U.S. Strategy: Rebuilding and Expansion of the US Nuclear Weapons Production Infrastructure

    Greg Weaver - The Need for U.S. Strategy: Rebuilding and Expansion of the US Nuclear Weapons Production Infrastructure

    In this episode of NucleCast, Greg Weaver, former Deputy Director for Strategic Stability in the Joint Staff J5 and nuclear policy expert, discusses the potential use of nuclear weapons in a Taiwan conflict and the role of nuclear weapons in deterring and fighting China. Weaver emphasizes the need for the US to determine its strategy regarding nuclear weapons in the face of the two-peer problem with Russia and China. He also advocates for the rapid rebuilding and expansion of the US nuclear weapons production infrastructure and the fielding of the SLCM-N theater nuclear weapon. Weaver's three wishes include the rapid modernization of the infrastructure, the fielding of SLCM-N, and for listeners to read the Strategic Posture Commission Report. Mr. Weaver began his career working as a Congressional staffer in both the House and Senate, working for Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Charles Bennett (D-FL) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). He spent 18 years as a Senior Analyst and Division Manager at SAIC in both San Diego, CA and Omaha, NE. While a contractor in Omaha, Mr. Weaver co-authored the Defense Department’s Deterrence Operations Joint Operating Concept and was the Director of the USSTRATCOM Strategic Deterrence Assessment Laboratory (SDAL). Mr. Weaver returned to government in 2007 at US Strategic Command, serving as a Senior Analyst (GS-15) and as the Deputy J5 (SES-1). He was appointed by President Obama to be OSD Policy’s Principal Director for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy (SES-2) and closed out his full-time career serving over 6 years as the Deputy Director for Strategic Stability in the Joint Staff J5. In that role he was the principal nuclear, missile defense, space, cyber, and arms control policy and strategy advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Weaver is now the Principal at Strategy to Plans, LLC, a consulting firm he founded in 2022. Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background of Greg Weaver 10:42 China's Perception of US Willingness to Use Nuclear Weapons 23:26 The Importance of SLCM-N and Theater Nuclear Weapons 30:22 Greg Weaver's Three Wishes Socials: Follow on Twitter at @NucleCast Follow on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/nuclecastpodcast Subscribe RSS Feed: https://rss.com/podcasts/nuclecast-podcast/ Rate: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclecast/id1644921278 Email comments and topic/guest suggestions to NucleCast@anwadeter.org

  • Col. USAF (Ret.) Curtis McGiffin - Enhancing Decision-Making: AI-enabled NC3

    Col. USAF (Ret.) Curtis McGiffin - Enhancing Decision-Making: AI-enabled NC3

    In this episode of NucleCast, Adam and Colonel Curtis McGiffin discuss the need for an AI-enabled NC3 system with a dead hand. They argue that the current NC3 system and the decision-making process have significant problems that need to be addressed and propose using AI tools to enhance the decision-making process and improve the speed and effectiveness of the system. They also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of such a system and its importance for deterrence. The conversation highlights the need for the United States to modernize its nuclear command and control capabilities and consider new approaches to ensure the effectiveness of its deterrent. Curtis McGiffin is the Vice President for Education and Co-founder of the National Institute for Deterrence Studies. His areas of expertise are deterrence theory education, grand strategy, and strategic triad operations. He also serves on the teaching faculty of the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University, where he teaches graduate and doctorate courses in deterrence theory and grand strategy. Previously, he was the Associate Dean of the School of Strategic Force Studies at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he led a robust portfolio of USAF professional continuing education programs supporting the AF nuclear enterprise. He also was the Executive Director of the Louisiana Tech Research Institute, where he designed and developed a catalog of Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications curriculum and courses for Air Force Global Strike Command’s workforce. Colonel McGiffin retired with over 26 years of experience in the USAF as an aviator, commander, staff officer, and educator, most of which was supporting the USAF’s nuclear enterprise. Prior to his retirement from active duty, Colonel McGiffin was the Associate Dean of Faculty and Assistant Professor of Strategy and Deterrence at the National War College in Washington DC. He has served on the Joint Staff, HQ AF staff, and combatant command staff, as a squadron commander, and as the senior advisor to Iraq’s military Vice Chief of Staff. He was a Master Navigator and flight instructor with 2,750 flight hours in the E-4B, EC-135, KC-135 and T-43 aircraft. He has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, a Legion of Merit, and two Aerial Achievement Medals. Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background 06:16 Enhancing Decision-Making with AI Tools 25:11 The Importance of Modernizing the NC3 System for Deterrence Socials: Follow on Twitter at @NucleCast Follow on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/nuclecastpodcast Subscribe RSS Feed: https://rss.com/podcasts/nuclecast-podcast/ Rate: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclecast/id1644921278 Email comments and topic/guest suggestions to NucleCast@anwadeter.org

  • Kyle Balzer, Ph.D. - The Importance of SLCM-N in the US Nuclear Posture

    Kyle Balzer, Ph.D. - The Importance of SLCM-N in the US Nuclear Posture

    In this episode of NucleCast, Dr. Kyle Balzer discusses three topics: the submarine launch cruise missile (SLCM-N), the origins of tailored deterrence, and the concept of hedging the hedge. SLCM-N is seen as a missing piece in the US nuclear posture, providing regional presence, promptness to respond, widespread deployment, and complicating adversary defense planning. Tailored deterrence, which dates back to the Cold War, involves understanding the values and priorities of adversaries to deter them effectively. Hedging, or maintaining extra warheads, is crucial in a complex and unpredictable threat environment. The conversation emphasizes the need for intelligence on adversary thinking, bipartisan support for SLCM-N, and continued debate and implementation of nuclear strategies. Kyle Balzer is a Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he specializes in US nuclear strategy and policy. He is currently working on a book project, The Revivalist: James R. Schlesinger and the Rebirth of Cold War U.S. Nuclear Strategy. It examines the origins of diagnostic net assessment and competitive nuclear strategies. His work has been published in Breaking Defense, National Review Online, The Hill, The National Interest, and War on the Rocks. Kyle holds a Ph.D. in US diplomatic history from Ohio University, where he studied the relationship between American grand strategy and nuclear deterrence policy. Socials: Follow on Twitter at @NucleCast Follow on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/nuclecastpodcast Subscribe RSS Feed: https://rss.com/podcasts/nuclecast-podcast/ Rate: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nuclecast/id1644921278 Email comments and topic/guest suggestions to NucleCast@anwadeter.org