John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare with the Madison Policy Forum, has just returned from Ukraine where strategies and tactics that he developed as a combat soldier in the U.S. Army, are being used by the Ukrainian military against Russian invaders.

On the Lean to the Left podcast, Spencer says those tactics helped defeat Russia's attempt to capture Kiev and topple the Ukrainian government, and he discusses the lack of motivation of Russian soldiers who are reluctant to fight, even shooting themselves in the foot and slicing their vehicle tires to avoid combat.

The author of the new book, ?Connected Soldiers: Life, Leadership, and Social Connections in Modern War,? Spencer has provided the Ukrainian military with a step-by-step guide for succeeding in urban combat. The first step, he says, is "don't get killed." His book is available July 1, and his second book, ?Understanding Urban Warfare,? will be available in September.

Spencer is an internationally recognized expert and advisor on urban warfare and other military related topics. He served over 25 years in the active Army, including two combat deployments to Iraq as both an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company commander.

In this episode, Spencer discusses how internet connectivity is affecting soldiers who are away from home facing combat. It's an insider's view of how the ability to use FaceTime and other digital resources to stay connected with family back home can interfere with unit cohesion and morale.

Here are questions Spencer discusses in this episode:
1. You?re a recognized expert in urban warfare. Is that why you were in Ukraine? Are you working as an advisor there?

2. You?ve published a ?mini-manual for the urban defender.? It?s published in the Ukrainian language?I presume it?s come in handy there?

3. On CNN, you said that the use of many layers of barriers being used by the Ukranian forces in their cities ?can hold off the best army in the world, and Russia?s not the best.? Explain what you were talking about.

4. You also told Ali Velshi that ?the will to fight is everything.? How is that coming into play in Ukraine?

5. You said that even a generally unprofessional force like the Ukrainian fighters ?can turn every street into a meat grinder? for Russian troops who are less motivated, just by following a few simple steps. What are those steps?

6. You told Velshi in March, ?It?s going to be really bad for Russia. It?s going to be a bloodbath.? Do you still believe that?

7. Let?s talk about ?Connected Soldiers,? your new book. Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of the surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said this about it:

"Connected Soldiers provides a wonderfully stimulating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking examination of how the increase in connectivity between those on the frontlines and those on the home front affects the all-important bonds between our soldiers carrying out tough missions overseas.?

Please explain.

8. On your website, you said that in 2003 when as a second lieutenant you parachuted into Iraq leading a platoon of infantry soldiers into battle, that you learned how important unit cohesion was to survival, both physically and mentally. You said cohesion developed between soldiers when they spent downtime together and shared experiences.

But when you returned to Iraq five years later, you found that rather than bonding and discussing trauma as a group, soldiers spent downtime separately, on computers, communicating with family back home. You began to believe that the internet was a threat to unit cohesion. But what happened when you returned home, and your wife was deployed?

How does your book address all of this?

9. Do the same issues apply to non-military families in their daily lives?...

Show Notes



John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare with the Madison Policy Forum, has just returned from Ukraine where strategies and tactics that he developed as a combat soldier in the U.S. Army, are being used by the Ukrainian military against Russian invaders.

On the Lean to the Left podcast, Spencer says those tactics helped defeat Russia's attempt to capture Kiev and topple the Ukrainian government, and he discusses the lack of motivation of Russian soldiers who are reluctant to fight, even shooting themselves in the foot and slicing their vehicle tires to avoid combat.

The author of the new book, ?Connected Soldiers: Life, Leadership, and Social Connections in Modern War,? Spencer has provided the Ukrainian military with a step-by-step guide for succeeding in urban combat. The first step, he says, is "don't get killed." His book is available July 1, and his second book, ?Understanding Urban Warfare,? will be available in September.

Spencer is an internationally recognized expert and advisor on urban warfare and other military related topics. He served over 25 years in the active Army, including two combat deployments to Iraq as both an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company commander.

In this episode, Spencer discusses how internet connectivity is affecting soldiers who are away from home facing combat. It's an insider's view of how the ability to use FaceTime and other digital resources to stay connected with family back home can interfere with unit cohesion and morale.

Here are questions Spencer discusses in this episode:
1. You?re a recognized expert in urban warfare. Is that why you were in Ukraine? Are you working as an advisor there?

2. You?ve published a ?mini-manual for the urban defender.? It?s published in the Ukrainian language?I presume it?s come in handy there?

3. On CNN, you said that the use of many layers of barriers being used by the Ukranian forces in their cities ?can hold off the best army in the world, and Russia?s not the best.? Explain what you were talking about.

4. You also told Ali Velshi that ?the will to fight is everything.? How is that coming into play in Ukraine?

5. You said that even a generally unprofessional force like the Ukrainian fighters ?can turn every street into a meat grinder? for Russian troops who are less motivated, just by following a few simple steps. What are those steps?

6. You told Velshi in March, ?It?s going to be really bad for Russia. It?s going to be a bloodbath.? Do you still believe that?

7. Let?s talk about ?Connected Soldiers,? your new book. Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of the surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said this about it:

"Connected Soldiers provides a wonderfully stimulating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking examination of how the increase in connectivity between those on the frontlines and those on the home front affects the all-important bonds between our soldiers carrying out tough missions overseas.?

Please explain.

8. On your website, you said that in 2003 when as a second lieutenant you parachuted into Iraq leading a platoon of infantry soldiers into battle, that you learned how important unit cohesion was to survival, both physically and mentally. You said cohesion developed between soldiers when they spent downtime together and shared experiences.

But when you returned to Iraq five years later, you found that rather than bonding and discussing trauma as a group, soldiers spent downtime separately, on computers, communicating with family back home. You began to believe that the internet was a threat to unit cohesion. But what happened when you returned home, and your wife was deployed?

How does your book address all of this?

9. Do the same issues apply to non-military families in their daily lives? People are so busy these days?both parents working, sometimes on shifts where they barely see each other. How can they cope?

Listen to the interview:

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