News & Politics


War on the Rocks


This is Bombshell, a bi-weekly podcast coming to you from Washington insiders to dissect today’s foreign policy crises and tomorrow’s security challenges. We’ll talk military strategy, White House mayhem, and the best cocktails known to (wo)man. Brou...Show More

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Think Instead About Having a Great Life

42:20 | Mar 26th

Join Bombshell for a rousing discussion of the fathomless train wreck that is Brexit and the increasing lack of predictability of the upcoming Israeli elections. Believe it or not, China trade talks are not going as well as they might, as we discuss ...Show More

Live at Duke University!

44:47 | Mar 12th

Erin, Radha, and Loren made the trip to Duke University to join the Carlucci National Security Symposium at the Sanford School of Public Policy.  On the agenda for this special live show: topics we want presidential candidates to debate, big ideas we...Show More

Ain't It Hard Keeping It So Hardcore

54:32 | Feb 26th

This week Dr. Tanvi Madan joins the ladies to explain the brewing crisis between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Then Radha breaks down last week’s trade negotiations with China (what really is an MOU anyway and what happened to our leverage?). We rev...Show More

Shove It All Into OCO

48:33 | Feb 12th

This week Paula Garcia Tufro joins the Radha, Loren, and Erin to discuss the brewing crisis in Venezuela. Then the ladies fashion an update on Brexit, explore uncharted waters in Iraq, and ask what is the point of a second North Korea summit when not...Show More

A Few Good Men

1:00:01 | Jan 29th

It's our 2nd annual Manniversary episode! We dug deep to find the most smoldering hot takes from the men in the national security arena. Join us for a far-ranging discussion with Stan McChrystal, Jeffrey Lewis, and Clint Watts!   Links Stanley McChr...Show More

Makes We Wonder Why I Even Bring the Thunder

42:56 | Jan 15th

Bombshell returns in 2019 with a new set of Bombshell questions and a guest, Dana Stroul, to give our best shot at explaining US-Syria policy. Secretary Pompeo has finished a whirlwind tour (while his staff are unpaid) trying to do the same, and at l...Show More

Live at the National WWI Museum!

1:00:16 | Jan 1st

Loren and Erin travel to Kansas City for a special live recording at the National World War I Museum. Joined by John Ismay and Steve Leonard, they dig into the many aspects of the Forever Wars including some Civ-Mil 101, opportunities for oversight a...Show More

An Emergency Bomblette

26:45 | Dec 21st, 2018

This ONE TIME we huddled for an emergency podcast. Because the Secretary of Defense resigned in protest. That doesn’t happen everyday. At least we hope not. Enjoy!

It Was a Very Good Year

41:17 | Dec 18th, 2018

This week Radha, Loren, and Erin sit down to try and figure out just what the hell happened in 2018. Storm clouds gather as the ladies discuss what NatSec stories we missed - and what we’ll still be talking about in 10 years. But Radha brings the sun...Show More

And the Money Kept Rolling In

40:41 | Dec 4th, 2018

This week Erin, Loren, and Radha read the G20 tea leaves, opine on continued chaos in Afghanistan, and remind you about all the White House mayhem from Saudi politics to a Moscow Trump Tower. Radha gets way too excited about USMCA (pronounced U-Smack...Show More

Come What May

49:29 | Nov 20th, 2018

Erin, Radha, and Loren invited Dr. Lindsay Cohn of the U.S. Naval War College to join their posse and explain America's history of employing the military for domestic purposes.  In Keeping Up Foreign Relations, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is still ...Show More

A Post-Election Bomblette

22:34 | Nov 8th, 2018

Loren, Erin, and Radha meet up in a special short episode to talk about the election aftermath. What will happen with the change in the house, who is on the Senate armed services committee, and what is oversight anyway?! Plus, a quick discussion on t...Show More

Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman

49:43 | Oct 23rd, 2018

This week Tamara Cofman Wittes joins the Bombshell ladies to discuss the fallout of the Khashoggi assassination and the future of US-Saudi relations. We get further bogged down in Afghanistan and try to understand the migrant caravan moving north fro...Show More

Every Rosé has a Thorn

40:09 | Oct 9th, 2018

This week, Loren, Radha, and Erin are reunited to discuss such cheery topics as political assassinations and sexual violence (albeit in the form of Nobel Prizes awarded to combat it). Radha dives deep on NAFTA 2.0, and we work our way through the cra...Show More

In Vino Veritas

41:07 | Sep 26th, 2018

This week on bombshell Erin and Radha drink at Kori Schake's favorite bar in the world. Joined by Amelia Egghart, they discuss why climate change is still a thing and the (lack of) process in national security issues from Syria to Korea. They also re...Show More

Live at the Army Navy Club!

48:31 | Sep 11th, 2018

The Army and Navy Club in Washington, DC, hosted Loren and Radha this week for a live show. Lara Seligman of Foreign Policy and Valerie Insinna of Defense News joined the Bombshell crew to discuss defense journalism in the Trump administration, what ...Show More

Next Time Jack Write a Memo

47:02 | Sep 4th, 2018

Erin, Radha, and Loren head back to school from summer break, with smiling and shining faces. This week they catch up on some extensive Kabul mayhem, covering recent Taliban forays into Afghan-government controlled cities, the state of possible negot...Show More

It’s Aghast

45:56 | Aug 7th, 2018

While the ladies of Bombshell will talk with just about anyone, should the U.S. government? Bombshell dives into President Trump's proclivity for theatrical political summits with adversaries, following up on current efforts in Afghanistan, North Kor...Show More

And Now For Something Quite Special

49:04 | Jul 24th, 2018

Alina Polyakova of Brookings joins the Bombshell crew to dive into the fallout from the Helsinki Summit.  Radha furthers our education on tariffs, er trade taxes, as the great trade war of 2018 slouches toward chaos. Meanwhile, Teresa May’s Brexit wo...Show More

No Muppet, No Muppet. You're the Muppet.

32:11 | Jul 11th, 2018

This week we do our best impersonation of the Georgetown set recording from 1789 and lamenting the world gone to hell. We break down Pompeo's trip to North Korea, Theresa May's Brexit woes, and the NATO summit which has already been overrun by chaos ...Show More

Mutually Assured Dysfunction

42:14 | Jun 26th, 2018

Bombshell goes international! Loren warily crosses the border to visit Stefanie von Hlatky, Stephanie Carvin, and Elaine Bunn for a special Canadian episode at the Kingston Conference on International Security. The ladies give deterrence a playlist a...Show More

Practical, Tactical Brilliance

47:04 | Jun 21st, 2018

In the most ambitious crossover event since that one time on TGIF, Bombshell joins Rational Security for a very special joint episode.  Radha, Erin, Loren, Shane, and Susan take on our hellscape of a government’s evolving policy on family separation;...Show More

The Goat Rodeos

50:29 | Jun 11th, 2018

Radha, Loren, and Erin invite Alex Bell to preview the Singapore Trump-Kim summit, explaining that while there’s more than staring into one another’s eyes for arms control, chemistry is a good start. When we recorded, the G7 had wrapped but not yet c...Show More

The Hangover

54:07 | May 29th, 2018

This week we ask Emma Ashford to reveal the mysteries of Trump's Middle East policy. Then Loren, Radha, and Erin dive into the recent trade dramas before pondering whether the summit with North Korea is best understood as a Rom-Com or Telenovela. Col...Show More

The Only Way Out Is through

49:28 | May 15th, 2018

This week the Bombshell crew does something different. After a crazy few days in the national security world, we break down the good, the bad, and the pop-culture remedies. From Spain to Iran, to Iraq and Lebanon, to Niger and back home to the Haspel...Show More

All He Had to Do Was Turn Left

55:05 | May 2nd, 2018

This week on Bombshell, Rebecca Lissner of Penn's Perry World House guest hosts with Radha and Loren to discuss the handshake heard round the world at the DMZ.  The Iran Deal is on the rocks yet again, despite the entreaties of a very affectionate Pr...Show More

Only Mostly Dead

51:38 | Apr 18th, 2018

This week on Bombshell, Radha, Erin, and Loren play natsec madlibs with Amanda Sloat, discussing every possible complexity of US-Syria policy during John Bolton's first week.  The neverending potential for a trade war, protests in the run up to the U...Show More

Long Legs and Brains

45:23 | Apr 2nd, 2018

Erin, Radha, and Loren make it back to the Show (where we never handle our own luggage), welcoming back all-star guest Kori Schake to talk NSC turnover, civil-military relations, and everything else that's radical in a tubular kind of way.  We break ...Show More

Not Bringing Rexy Back

46:29 | Mar 20th, 2018

This week, the ladies of Bombshell welcome Lindsey Ford, from the ‎Asia Society Policy Institute, to chat about this spring's Appointment in Helsinki: the US-North Korea presidential summit. Then, they set an Iran Deal death watch and puzzle through ...Show More

Been Caught Steelin'

51:20 | Mar 6th, 2018

This week, the ladies of Bombshell welcome Sarah Margon, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, to explore a side of the Syria conflict we discuss too little on this show: the human dimension. The ladies wade through three different political mae...Show More

No Joy in Munchen

46:31 | Feb 21st, 2018

This week, the Bombshell ladies welcome Lauren Fish of the Center for a New American Security to talk all things FY19 defense budget, including why this big funding increase may not be all that it seems.  While finding future employment for Navy SEAL...Show More

Cha Cha Bang Bang

51:26 | Feb 6th, 2018

This week the ladies of Bombshell return to regularly scheduled programming, re-introducing ourselves with our new Bombshell questions including everyone's favorite bars and least favorite books. Next we turn to our old friends Afghanistan and North ...Show More

It's Raining Men

1:04:39 | Jan 26th, 2018

On our first anniversary we couldn’t help but wonder: What's it like to be a man in national security? Kai Ryssdal, Frank Gavin, and Benjamin Wittes join us to discuss. Theme Song: Future Teens – Jennifer Lawrence Produced by Tre Hester

Be Like Shawn

49:05 | Jan 12th, 2018

Bombshell returns from a long winter's nap for its first 2018 episode and first test run of a brand new set of Bombshell questions! Christy Abizaid joins us to talk Pakistan and the joys of Austin, TX, and we talk protests in Iran and what happens wh...Show More

Special Episode: Live from Maxwell AFB!

1:36:49 | Dec 19th, 2017

Loren, Radha, and Erin traveled to Maxwell AFB for a special live year in review episode at the Air Command and Staff College. Come for their thoughts on the biggest national security stories of the year and stay for an extended Q&A with ACSC student...Show More

We Can Only Hope, Sir

54:05 | Dec 13th, 2017

This week Susanna Blume joins to tell us how the sausage is made on Capitol Hill - the defense budget, continuing resolutions, and other congressional hijinks. And Radha returns from maternity leave! Then we wade through the president's Jerusalem ann...Show More

Candlesticks Always Make a Nice Gift

50:46 | Nov 29th, 2017

This week on Bombshell we talk with Mieke Eoyang about, well, basically everything. We take a rapid fire tour of political dramas in Zimbabwe, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Stop for a bit to bask in the crazy sunshine of Turkish plots and then ...Show More

Burn Before Pleading

46:53 | Nov 15th, 2017

This week on Bombshell, Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare (and Washington Post!) fame joins us to break down the Mueller investigation, AUMF debate, and whether Mike Flynn is really a character from a Coen Brothers' movie. We also discuss the president's tri...Show More

The Fallout's Gonna Kill You

45:47 | Nov 1st, 2017

This week on Bombshell, Alice Hunt Friend joins us to talk all things Africa and civ-mil. We dive into U.S. operations in Niger and the Kenyan elections reboot. Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping get new mandates while preparing for the president’s big trip t...Show More

Me too and the Gimme Gimmes

56:06 | Oct 18th, 2017

This week on Bombshell, special guest Elizabeth Rosenberg explains the art of unmaking the Iran deal and the consequences of the Trump administration's Iran 'strategy.' Foreign relations are keeping us busy with a tinderbox in Kirkuk at the worst pos...Show More

We Got This, Rexy

46:54 | Oct 4th, 2017

This week, the Bombshell squad goes shoulder to shoulder into the fray of referenda for the Iraqi Kurds and the Catalans in Spain, alongside a recap of the German general election.  Like many women have before us, we ask "Why Chad?" and explore the m...Show More

How I Learned to Start Worrying...

53:08 | Sep 20th, 2017

Erin, Radha, and Loren get the band back together and invite Laura Rosenberger to dish about the launch of the Alliance for Security Democracy (her new project aimed at countering Russian efforts to undermine democratic institutions), her love of the...Show More

Lattes at the End of the World

54:37 | Sep 6th, 2017

This week, Bombshell bids farewell to summer with our final distributed ops episode, closing out what has been a nice, quiet August (ha. ha). Afghanistan is, as usual, still a thing, but this time President Trump - or his teleprompter - actually gave...Show More

Livin' in a Powder Keg

43:17 | Aug 22nd, 2017

This week the Bombshell crew preps for the eclipse from opposite corners of the world to ask why we haven't all perished in the Fire and the Fury (alternate title for our next romance novel). Along with North Korea we talk India-China donnybrooks, mi...Show More

Day-Drinking Like a Queen

41:23 | Aug 8th, 2017

This week on Bombshell, we each dial in from parts-unknown to compare our drinking habits to the Queen of England. We also discuss new North Korean sanctions, whether anyone sent flowers to the new Pakistani Prime Minister, and what on earth is happe...Show More

How to Lose a Clearance in 10 Days

41:56 | Jul 25th, 2017

Susan Hennessey of Lawfare and Rational Security fame joins Radha and Erin to wade through recertifying the Iran deal, social media shenanigans in the Persian Gulf, and whither the new Russia sanctions. Also on tap: all the leaks! and how we forgot a...Show More

In Space, No One Can Hear you Scream

48:52 | Jul 12th, 2017

Special guest Amy Shafer joins us for the full show and highlights her fabulous research on the civil-military divide in America (and dishes on the Air Force Tops in Blue). Then we celebrate the liberation of Mosul, walk through the North Korean miss...Show More

Bombshell LIVE! Fake News Edition

56:33 | Jun 30th, 2017

A special LIVE episode from the CNAS annual conference. We pour some French 75s and talk to Karen Attiah and Jia Lynn Yang from The Washington Post about national security in a time of distraction. Then we dive into the Modi visit, late night Syria s...Show More

Gutter? Catahr? Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

47:58 | Jun 21st, 2017

How do you solve a problem like Qatar? This week over Pimms Cups, we talk with Mara Karlin about all the Middle East dramas (and why she loves the SAIS cult). We lament the State Dept budget and UK politics, pay tribute to the USS Fitzgerald, and won...Show More

Soon, and For the Rest of Your Life

47:40 | Jun 7th, 2017

This week we go it alone to focus on your questions! We force Radha and Loren to actually define their true loves of process and staffing, all while drinking delicious white sangria. Plus, what’s a wonk? Then we dig into the president’s whirlwind tri...Show More

Drink to the Foam

49:17 | May 24th, 2017

This week we trek out to the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis for a geek field trip of epic proportions (three words: Jack Ryan's couch). We drink some rum and Claude Berube's scotch, and ring up former Under Secretary of the Navy Janine Davids...Show More

Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Bombshells

54:34 | May 10th, 2017

This week on Bombshell, we say nothing about Jim Comey! We recorded Monday and who could have guessed we'd be here today? Instead, we discuss recent casualties in Afghanistan and Somalia, check in on Venezuela and the French elections, and talk about...Show More

Mother of all Bombshells

52:43 | Apr 26th, 2017

This week on "Bombshell," we dissect Trump’s first 100 days: whither America First, Axis of Adults (or just the big kids table?), budget shenanigans, and delegating all the things. But first, Mira Rapp-Hooper joins us to walk through the state of pla...Show More

Red, Red Lines

48:23 | Apr 12th, 2017

This week on Bombshell we take a long look at Syria with special guest Melissa Dalton: what happened, what questions to ask, what hot takes to avoid, and where to go from here. And then we drink a lot. Also on the table: Devin Nunes and the Great Unm...Show More

There Xi Goes

45:32 | Mar 29th, 2017

This week on "Bombshell," Kelly Magsamen joins us to talk about Sec Tillerson’s Asia visit, the upcoming Trump-Xi soiree, and North Korean chicanery. We also discuss splitting the check with NATO, attacks on civil servants, whether the Defense Depart...Show More

Iraq Chalk, Chickenhawk, DPRK Who?

47:46 | Mar 15th, 2017

This week Radha, Loren, and Erin drink hot toddies and reluctantly dig into the newest Marine Corps scandal. They also explore growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Europe with a brief "missiles: big, medium, and small" explainer; debate the w...Show More

Rage Against Alcibiades

49:49 | Mar 1st, 2017

This week, Loren, Radha, and Erin discuss the North Korean assassination (beware the perfume lady) and take questions from listeners (what is inter-service rivalry anyway?). Kori Schake joins to dissect the defense budget, H.R. McMaster's challenges ...Show More

Process is My Valentine

51:27 | Feb 15th, 2017

Join us for another round of "Keeping up Foreign Relations" and "White House mayhem." We tackle the Yemen raid, North Korea, Afghanistan, NatSec staffing, and the hiring freeze. Special guest Julie Smith weighs in on Russian intrigue and the future o...Show More

Aint' No Party Like an America First Party

49:12 | Feb 1st, 2017

This week on Bombshell, we walk through the first week of the Trump administration. Sit down and listen to Radha Iyengar Plumb, Loren Dejonge Schulman, and Erin Simpson discuss America First, cabinet confirmations, Chelsea Manning, Wall of Stars + Ha...Show More

Introducing Bombshell: The Explosive First Episode

47:35 | Jan 16th, 2017

Welcome to Bombshell.  This new bi-weekly series, brought to you by War on the Rocks, is hosted by three of your favorite Washington insiders who will dissect today’s foreign policy crises and tomorrow’s security challenges.  Our hosts — Loren DeJong...Show More