May 1, 2021

Episode 21 Summary:

Join the Mitchell Institute experts for the third installment of “The Merge.” This is your opportunity to hear from leading experts in the air and space community regarding top issues that are in today’s national security debate. This episode introduces Matt Donovan, Mitchell Institute’s new lead for its Spacepower Advantage Research Center and explores his take on the challenges and opportunities facing Space Force and Space Command. Mr. Donovan joins Mitchell after serving as the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Under Secretary of the Air Force, and as a staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Mitchell team also explores new trends that are emerging in the air-to-ground munition realm—a very dynamic field given the return of peer competition.      

April 24, 2021

Episode 20 Summary:

In episode 20 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast: “Command Perspective: The Royal Air Force.” Air Chief Marshall Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the Royal Air Force, sits down with Mitchell Institute dean Lt Gen (ret) Dave Deptula and executive director Doug Birkey for an in-depth conversation regarding key opportunities and challenges facing his service. This is an incredibly encompassing dialogue, exploring everything from new aircraft investment decisions and national security space perspectives, to NATO’s future vector and the global threat environment from a UK perspective. In an era where no air force flies or fights alone, these insights are especially relevant to the security debate.      

April 19, 2021

Episode 19 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 19 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: From the F-4 to the F-35: Decision Making at the Speed of Sound. From the earliest days of air combat, success demanded extreme situational awareness. Whether detecting enemy fighters first and maneuvering for the first shot, first kill advantage, or understanding how to maneuver through the threat environment to successfully net desired mission results—flying and fighting comes down to a simple reality: information advantage is life. In World War I and World War II, much of that process relied on the basics of eyesight and mental cognition. Today, it involves an array of complex, hugely powerful sensors, processing power, and teamed connectivity between mission assets. Although various generations of combat aircraft may share some resemblance, their respective ability to harness the information advantage is vastly different. Join Maj Gen (ret) Larry "Stutz" Stutzriem, Heather "Lucky" Penney, and Justin "Hasard" Lee as they discuss this evolution from their personal perspectives via the F-4, F-16, and F-35.      

April 11, 2021

Episode 18 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 18 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: Flying and Fighting in the B-2: America’s Stealth Bomber​​​. Join us for an in-depth conversation with seasoned B-2 pilots Col Keith Butler, Commander of the 509th Operations Group, and Lt Col Christopher Conant, Commander of the 393rd Bomb Squadron of the 509th Bomb Wing. Ever since it took flight, the B-2 stands as one of the most lethal, combat-capable, and technologically advanced aircraft ever invented. It can span the globe, penetrate into the most defended airspace, strike upwards of eighty independent targets, and return home safely. This is an incredible opportunity to hear from two B-2 pilots who know what it’s like to strap into the jet and fly into harm’s way. This is an episode you won’t want to miss.      

April 4, 2021

Episode 17 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 17 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: The Merge: Bomber Taskforce Missions, Jointness Under Attack, and Modernization Choices. Join Mitchell Institute experts for a roundtable discussion to explore the impact of Global Strike’s bomber task force missions; a showdown that is emerging between the services regarding the principles underpinning jointness; and whether 2021 will see the Air Force seek to retire more aircraft in a quest to free up resources for modernization.  This a chance for you to hear about the key aerospace issues that are making headlines in Washington DC and beyond. Our goal here is to cut past the sound bites and provide you insight regarding the underlying issues at play.    

April 1, 2021

Episode 16 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 16 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: 21st Century Long-Range Strike: A Conversation with General Tim Ray, Global Strike Command. The ability to hit any target in the world at any time is a crucial military advantage enjoyed by the United States. It puts our adversaries on notice and it reassures our allies in times of peace and secures decisive results in war. Other services and our allies don’t have this capability, so it all comes down to US Air Force bombers. Learn what it takes to sustain these incredibly complex operations, modernize the aircraft that make it possible, and innovate operational concepts that speak to tomorrow’s challenges through a conversation with the Air Force’s top leader in charge of this key mission.  

March 25, 2021

Episode 15 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 15 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: Fear the Reaper: MQ-9 Operations Today and Tomorrow. The MQ-9 Reaper is one of the most iconic combat aircraft in modern history. Whether you call it a remotely piloted aircraft, an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a drone—this aircraft, its mission enterprise, and the people who operate it have fundamentally transformed what it means to fly and fight. Nor have all the chapters been written for this aircraft. While the MQ-9 may best be known for what it did over places like Afghanistan and Iraq in low-intensity counterinsurgency and counter terrorism operations, future years will see it rack up new accomplishments in far different operating situations around the globe. Join us for a conversation with those who fly this legendary aircraft and the experts who designed, built, and sustain it.

March 14, 2021

Episode 14 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is pleased to release episode 14 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: The Merge: Future of the F-35, Long Range Strike, and the Space Force. Join Mitchell Institute experts for a roundtable discussion to explore the present status of the F-35 program amidst increased scrutiny; a showdown that is emerging between the Army and the Air Force over the long range strike mission; and next steps required for the Space Force to orient itself for long term success. In air combat, the merge is when opposing fighter aircraft engage and one side emerges victorious. And we think it’s a pretty apt description for how the national security process here in DC works. There are multiple stakeholder positions in contention and people are playing for keeps. Above all, the future of our nation’s security is at stake in these debates. You’ve also got massive business deals and political equities on the line. Policy and budget decisions have seismic impacts felt for decades. “The Merge” segment of Aerospace Nation will explore these issues, with Mitchell Institute experts providing insights and analysis that are key to understanding the current state of play.  

March 7, 2021

Episode 13 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is proud to release episode 13 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: Weather for the Warfighter: Forecasting for Mission Success. America’s national security interests hinge on weather. Few would guess this, since it’s something we take for granted, but whether we look at Gen Eisenhower choosing when to launch D-Day in the spring of 1944, or the type of munition that will be employed off an aircraft today against a fleeting, high-value target, it all comes down to weather. Join us as we speak to frontline combat pilots and technical experts to learn more about a mission many take for granted, but actually stands as a crucial lynchpin for modern combat capabilities.

February 28, 2021

Episode 12 Summary:

The Mitchell Institute is proud to release episode 12 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: Securing Tomorrow’s Skies: A Conversation with ACC Commander General Mark Kelly. One of the Air Force’s key mission areas is gaining control of the sky—a crucial objective given that no military function can succeed if subject to attack from hostile airpower. While the service is in the midst of modernization with types like the F-35, it must also think about the capabilities it seeks to procure in future decades. General Kelly provides insights into this process and how he expects the mission to evolve given the future threat environment.

February 19, 2021

Episode 11 Summary:

The Mitchell institute is pleased to release Episode 11 of the Aerospace Advantage Podcast: Flying and Fighting with the F-35: Pilots’ Perspective. Join us as we speak with F-35 pilots Major Justin “Hasard” Lee and Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe to better understand how the F-35's stealth and information dominance capabilities are changing combat aviation. Back in the day, we used to say speed is life, but today, that mantra is evolving. It is all about understanding the battle space better than your opponent—how to best position yourself to net your mission goals, while avoiding points of danger thanks to stealth and situational awareness. That’s why the F-35 is such a capable combat aircraft.

February 15, 2021

Episode 10 Summary:

Mitchell Institute's Aerospace Advantage takes you to the flight line and beyond in Episode 10: Hanging out with Unexploded Ordnance, Saddam’s Bunkers and Me: Experiences of a Fighter Pilot. 

When we think about military pilots, we almost always envision them in the cockpit. However, whether helping establish requirements for new aircraft, designing fresh operational concepts, or developing attack plans, the Air Force needs folks who are first-hand operational experts. Thus, pilots find themselves rotating through the Pentagon and other associated functions in-between their flying assignments. This podcast explores one such experience through the eyes of Brig Gen Craig “Bluto” Baker, currently serving as the Vice Commander of 12th Air Force. A fighter pilot by trade and having just finished a tour as a Weapons School Instructor, General Baker found himself helping to build the Operation Iraqi Freedom air campaign. Subsequently, he was deployed to Iraq and executed after-action inspections at his recently targeted sites. So if you want to hear how he found himself hanging from the ceiling of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces next to an unexploded bomb, tune in!

February 5, 2021

Episode 9 Summary:

Episode 9 of Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast explores the future of manned-unmanned aircraft teaming—one of the biggest developments that will shape the future of air combat. Thanks to advancements in autonomy, machine learning, computer processing power, and the ability to connect and share information, unmanned aerial vehicles and traditional crewed aircraft will partner in incredibly complementary ways. Host Lt Col (ret) John Baum speaks with combat pilot Col Don “Stryker” Haley, one of the Air Force’s top experts on the subject, Col (ret) Mark Gunzinger of the Mitchell team, as well as two of the leading aerospace industry experts in this realm: Steve Fendley, president for the unmanned systems division at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and Mike Atwood, Senior Director for Advanced Programs at General Atomics. 

January 29, 2021

Episode 8 Summary:

In Episode 8 of Aerospace Advantage, Space Force Chief of Space Operations General Jay Raymond explains his future vision for his service, challenges and opportunities in the national security space domain, and what it’s been like standing up the nation’s newest service. Host Lt Col (ret.) John Baum and Mitchell Institute dean Lt Gen (ret.) Dave Deptula also discuss the broader circumstances regarding national security space and the creation of the Space Force. Bottom line: space is vital to America’s interests and the Space Force must be empowered for success.

January 25, 2021

Episode 7 Summary:

In Episode 7, Flying The Missions: The Desert Storm Air Campaign 30 Years Later, host Lt Col (ret.) John Baum and Mitchell Institute dean Lt Gen (ret.) Dave Deptula speak with airmen who strapped into their jets and flew into harm’s way as part of the air campaign. Guests include F-16 pilot Lt Gen (ret.) “Orville” Wright, B-52 pilot Lt Gen (ret.) Mike Moeller, F-117 pilot Major Gen (ret.) Greg Feest, F-15C pilot Colonel (ret.) Rico Rodriguez, Air Force Special Operations rep Col (ret.) Randy O’Boyle, and Mr. Dale Burton, who was the Technical Lead for JSTARS. Each one of these individuals brings unique experiences to this conversation, ranging from Feest dropping the first bomb in Iraq from an F-117, or Rodriguez scoring multiple air-to-air kills against Iraq MiGs.

January 21, 2021

Episode 6 Summary:

In Episode 6, Commanding the Air War: The Desert Storm Air Campaign 30 Years Later, Mitchell hosts a conversation between Gen (Ret.) Chuck Horner and Lt Gen (Ret.) Dave Deptula, the joint forces air component commander who led the air war and his chief offensive air campaign planner. Their air campaign marked a turning point in warfare. As they walk through the planning to the execution of the first attacks, which exploited the advantages of stealth and were based on a strategy of airpower, they reflect on the implications of their success and how it would change warfare and shape the development of airpower—and counter airpower—capabilities for decades to come. This winning approach contrasts sharply with those that evolved in the conflicts of the first decades of the 2000s, in which our military became entrenched in nation-building. Given the current security challenges facing the United States, the lessons of Desert Storm are more important than ever. 

January 17, 2021

Episode 5 Summary:

Episode 5, A Strategy for Success, features Gen (Ret.) Mike Loh, Lt Gen (Ret.) Dave Deptula, and Col (Ret.) John Warden describing some of the initial key actions taken in response to Saddam’s aggression. Desert Storm marked a shift in the paradigm of warfare. For centuries, a strategy of attrition was the only path to victory. Harnessing the virtues of air and space power, U.S. air forces in Desert Storm yielded peace rapidly and effectively in a way no adversary had ever imagined. This episode will discuss key events and highlight important lessons learned, as we hear firsthand from the airmen in the fight what really happened. This episode is one of a special trilogy of podcasts commemorating the 30th anniversary of Desert Storm featuring key airmen who participated in the campaign

January 11, 2021

Episode 4 Summary:

In Episode 4, Stealth, Speed, Precision, and Persistence: The Keys to the Aerospace Advantage, Join 17th Air Force Chief of Staff Gen (Ret.) John Jumper and Mitchell Institute Dean Lt Gen (Ret.) Dave Deptula to explore how the Air Force can secure maximum value for every dollar it invests. In conversations with Aerospace Nation host Lt Col (Ret.) John Baum, these seasoned leaders explore the intersection between technology, concepts of operation, and a continual quest to pursue smart solutions, not just pure mass. A central part of the conversation focuses on cost-per-effect analysis and covers a wide range of air operations—from the skies over Vietnam and Desert Storm, to Kosovo and Afghanistan. These leaders also explore key investment areas that should be prioritized to best address tomorrow’s challenges.

December 28, 2020

Episode 3 Summary:

In Episode 3, host John Baum looks at what drives national security requirements. Things like combat aircraft and national security space constellations don’t exist for their own purposes—they speak to a need. It all comes down to the mission of deterring conflict, favorably shaping engagements with adversaries, reassuring allies, and winning decisively when war comes. That takes smart combat power—of which air and space options are crucial. Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Jim Miller discusses the threat environment and makes the case for a broad range of military capabilities, including aerospace power.  Mitchell Institute Director of Studies Maj Gen (Ret.) Larry Stutzriem provides a military senior leader perspective, discussing how national security policy requirements translates to strategy and operational concepts.

December 14, 2020

Episode 2 Summary:

In Episode 2, host John Baum asks a crucial question: “Why is the Air Force aircraft inventory so small and old?” In gaining better insight regarding how we got here, the episode also emphasizes important lessons that will prove crucial to the service as it seeks to buy the next generation of combat aircraft. 

To dig into the details surrounding this challenge, Baum speaks with individuals who had a front-row view of key historic decisions, including Col (Ret.) Mark “Gonzo” Gunzinger, the Mitchell Institute’s Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments, and Gen (Ret.) John Corley, former Air Combat Command Commander. 

The F-22 production termination saga serves as a key case study in this episode, with General Corley offering direct insight from his leadership vantage. This is an opportunity to find out what went down and why from those who were there. Most importantly, we need to learn how the Air Force can recover and reset for future success. 

November 23, 2020

Episode 1 Summary:

In Episode 1 of the Aerospace Advantage, the host John “Slick” Baum lays out the case for Aerospace power. Slick starts from the beginning, and speaks with Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula to explain the importance of aerospace power. He then interviews the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Executive Director Douglas Birkey to fully develop the fundamental theories of aerospace power. Doug covers the history of aerospace theory and leads us to today’s problem of an aging fleet and an unfunded Space Force. Slick ends the episode with laying out the threats that the US faces in the aerospace domains, and how the United States is taking these threats head-on.