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Episode 633: The Use and Misuse of our Military Attachés

  • Broadcast in Military
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Networks, local knowledge, human terrain, and even gossip.  It does not matter if you are a tourist, a diplomat, or an invading army – if you come into a foreign nation you need local knowledge, a guide – someone who can not just tell you where the head is, but the important parts of the intangible nature of any culture that simply does not come from a briefing book.

And it needs to be someone you trust.

Likewise, as social animals, from the middle school lunchroom to the United Nations, we have our “in-group” and the “out-group.” Friendly, hostile, or aggressively neutral, out-group people are racked-n-stacked based upon their perceived threat or value.

Do they have power? Do they have access to power? Can they get information I need, or are they a reliable path to deliver information? Are they worthy of trust by me, and do they have the trust of their “in-group?”

When it comes to bi-lateral military relations between nations, at least on paper one of the most important players is the military attaché.

This Sunday we will be looking at the United States’ military attaché ecosystem along the spectrum of how they should be used, how they are being used, and how we could better use them in the service of our nation’s interests.

Our guest for the full hour will be Colonel Raymond M. Powell, USAF former Air Attaché to Vietnam from 2013 to 2016, and the Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché to Australia from 2017 to 2020.

We will use his recent article at DefenseOne, DOD’s Diplomats Don’t Need More Rank, Just Less Disdain, as a starting point for our conversation.

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