STEPTOE & JOHNSON CYBERLAW PODCAST; led by former DHS policy chief Stewart Baker with Michael Vatis from DOJ/FBI and DOJ cyberlaw expert Jason Weinstein. Covers a broad range of topics, with an “NSA Weekly” segment, deep dives into the weeds of legal matters, and consideration of policy both current and future.
LAWFARE PODCAST; The second podcast I ever listened to and the only podcast I’ve actually listened to every episode of. Hosted by national security law legal reporter Ben Wittes, an absolute essential for all natsec people from law to policy to operations.
RATIONAL SECURITY PODCAST: hosted, by the inimitable Shane Harris and featuring Ben & Tamara Cofman Wittes in a wide-ranging discussion of all things national security. Filled with humor and insight–basically a more casual and broader version of Lawfare.
DEFENSIVE SECURITY PODCAST; practitioners Jerry Bell and Andrew Kalat decode the week’s happenings in the cyber realm. Very wonky–occasionally too much so for the casual listener–but a must-listen if you want to get down past the conventional wisdom on cyberattacks, defensive practices, and best practices for cybersecurity.
MIDRATS; Two salty old sailors talking all things naval. Long and detailed, both hosts bring a level of experience and history, both through themselves and their connections, that I find very useful as a neophyte.
CIMSEC SEA CONTROL PODCAST; an awesome startup by a maritime think tank startup; hosted by Matt Hipple, who brings on the best in naval matters, the show has several partners that focus on regional maritime issues. Always a fine listen, and the special series on the Falklands Wars is my favorite deep-dive podcast–at least until Dan Carlin releases his next WWI episode.
WAR ON THE ROCKS PODCAST; From one of my favorite publications, a podcast led by WotR founder Ryan Evans, who not only selects brilliant guests, but knows enough about a broad array of issues to pull the discussion in provocative & insightful directions. Topics range widely in the national security arena.
ARMS CONTROL WONK PODCAST; possibly the only arms control and technically inclined podcast, Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein range far and wide, bringing in SMEs on regional and functional areas for comment. Secondarily an awesome listen if you’re interested in open source intelligence, as both hosts are members of the burgeoning OSINT community–aspiring researchers would do well to listen to their forensic stories.
LOOPCAST; led by Sina Kashefipour & Chelsea Daymon, the Loopcast ranges all over the national security arena. Particularly a good listen because they have impeccable taste in guests and a minimalist interviewing style that allows guests to expound on their areas of interest without being interrupted or driven toward a particular conclusion.
MIDDLE EAST WEEK; Karl Morand brings on the best of MENA scholars and practitioners to discuss salient news about the region. Gets down in the weeds, and Karl puts a great deal of work into asking the right questions. Wish something like this existed for other regional areas.
SSI LIVE: U.S. Army War College scholar John Deni brings on other AWC SSI (Strategic Studies Institute) policy scholars to discuss the week’s national security occurrences.
ON THE MEDIA; Bob Garfield & Brooke Gladstone are industry vets with a beautiful command of journalistic history and a knack for digging up and covering offbeat or unreported stories.
CNN’S RELIABLE SOURCES PODCAST; An audio version of Brian Stelter’s fantastic Sunday media reporting bonanza, Reliable Sources tends a bit more toward the high-powered guests, which makes it the perfect complement to On the Media. I often only have time to read the quick hits from Carr, Byers, Wemple, Gold, etc. so these two fill in the story behind the story very well.
SLATE’S POLITICAL GABFEST; My favorite podcast every week, comes out Friday morning, the OG podcast that got me hooked on podcasts (also reading while walking in Boston wasn’t going to well). Fmr. Slate EE David Plotz with Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson is the uber-podcast, with a a perfect number of topics (3 per week) and a blend of serious discussion, rancorous argument, and humor that I would really miss if I had to get on the Friday morning train without.
KEN RUDIN’S POLITICAL JUNKIE; Veteran political reporter Ken Rudin draws on local political reporters from across the nation to bring insight beyond the conventional wisdom. Much like Lithwick on legal issues, Rudin takes deep dives, with possibly my favorite segment of any podcast I’ve listened to: This Week in Political History.
SLATE’S HANG UP AND LISTEN; Similarly to the culture gabfest, I often arrive at Slate’s sports offering with nearly no background on the stories, but they’re just as good as their artistic counterparts. Non-sports fans should give it a try; it’s not a discussion about the acumen of particular teams, and you might be surprised how complex some of these discussions get.
SLATE’S CULTURE GABFEST; Since my cultural life has gone to shit amid my professional life, I try to get to at least the culture gabfest every week. Often I have no idea about the subject matter, but even then, I can get a sense of cultural currents, retain my slipping sense of humanity, and bullshit about TV shows I’ve yet to watch. Listening to the four fine hosts argue about art is like eye bleach for your mind if you’re in politics.
SLATE’S WHISTLESTOP: John Dickerson recounts whimsical & significant moments from the campaign trail over history.
SLATE’S AMICUS; Slate‘s legal reporter Dalia Lithwick covers primarily the Supreme Court’s prevailing issues; perfect complement to Emily Bazelon’s coverage on the Political Gabfest, as Lithwick is able to bring on the involved parties for lengthy interviews.
SLATE’S LEXICON VALLEY; my wildcard podcast–as a lover of words, there’s really nothing better than Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talking etymology and linguistics. Both the hosts are funny as hell and experts in the art of finding fascinating topics. I’m normally trying to recount a Lexicon Valley episode toward the end of any given happy hour.