ISW's Overwatch Podcast Series

Overwatch, a podcast series from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), goes beyond the news headlines to give listeners analysis and commentary on issues related to U.S. national security and American foreign policy. The episodes feature discussions with experts and practitioners to explore what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for the U.S. The series is hosted by Maseh Zarif and produced by Marissa Morton. Episodes will be released on a biweekly basis beginning on September 10, 2019.

Listen, subscribe, and review the program and episodes via Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Crisis Brief is a special edition of ISW's Overwatch podcast series intended to provide timely updates on unfolding crises with implications for U.S. national security.


Episode 5: General (Ret.) David Petraeus Decodes Dynamics in the Middle East (October 31, 2019)

Evolving conflicts and unrest are reshaping the Middle East rapidly. The U.S. will continue to have key national interests at stake in this region even as challenges outside it demand greater American attention. ISW Board Member General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus joined Maseh Zarif to share his views on a range of issues, including the state of ISIS post-Baghdadi, Iran’s regional campaigns, U.S. policy in the region, and the challenge of balancing among national security requirements globally.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher. Transcript forthcoming.

Episode 4: Are U.S. Partnerships Around the World in Jeopardy? (October 14, 2019)

Maseh Zarif and ISW Director of Innovation and Tradecraft Colonel Ketti Davison (U.S. Army, Retired) discuss regional destabilization in the Middle East in the wake of the crises in Iraq and Syria. They further address how the U.S. withdrawal from Northeastern Syria will have grave consequences for the future of U.S. security operations and partnerships.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher. Read the transcript here.

Episode 3: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Nagata Explains the Consequences of a U.S. Withdrawal from Syria (October 13, 2019)

American forces in Northern Syria have begun a "deliberate withdrawal" as Turkish-backed forces continue to deepen their invasion of areas held by the U.S. partner force, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Lieutenant General Michael Nagata (U.S. Army, retired), discusses the immediate and long-term implications of this retreat from Syria. LTG Nagata retired as the Director of Strategy at the National Counterterrorism (NCTC) after a long career in special operations. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher. Read the transcript here.

Episode 2: Russia's Campaign in Africa (September 27, 2019)

Maseh Zarif talks with his ISW colleagues Nataliya Bugayova and Darina Regio about what Russia is up to in Africa. They discuss Russia’s coordinated campaign to gain economic and political influence, and its attempt to create opportunities for expanding its military presence on the continent. Nataliya and Darina also put this campaign in the context of U.S. interests, identifying why the United States should be concerned and what to look for in the coming months. For background, read "The Kremlin's Campaign in Africa."

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher. Read the transcript here.

Episode 1: ISIS's Second Comeback (September 10, 2019)

ISW's Research Director Jennifer Cafarella discusses her report (written with Brandon Wallace and Jason Zhou) "ISIS's Second Comeback: Assessing the Next Insurgency." Interviewed by ISW's Director of External Relations Maseh Zarif, Jennifer discusses her insights into what the group did in Iraq and Syria to survive the U.S.-led campaign and what it is preparing to do in the future. She also describes the current U.S. role on the ground, potential scenarios in the months ahead, and how the broader fight against jihadists fits into the National Defense Strategy (NDS) framework.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher. Read the transcript here.