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On the Cusp

On the Cusp is a monthly podcast from the Modern Deterrence Project at RUSI. Hosted by Elisabeth Braw, each episode she talks with a thought leader in the field.

Keep up to date with the Modern Deterrence Project on the RUSI website here. 

Follow Elisabeth Braw on Twitter.

The show is also available on Spotify and iTunes Podcasts. 

General Riho Terras

What can other countries learn from Estonia's defence against greyzone aggression? How to best involve youth in national security? And what was it like to do more than three years' military service in the Soviet Navy? In the season finale, Elisabeth Braw speaks with General Riho Terras, until 2018 Estonia's chief of defence and now a member of the European Parliament.

Professor Henry Farrell and Professor Abraham Newman

Globalisation is the new frontline of great-power competition. What does it mean China has cornered the market for rare earth processing (think smartphones and electric car batteries)? What about global choke points that can be exploited by countries wishing to harm each other? Elisabeth Braw discusses with professors Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman.

Nina Hellum

Even with competitive national service, motivating soldiers is important. Elisabeth Braw discusses what motivates conscripts during their service with Nina Hellum, a social anthropologist at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. Hellum specialises in soldier behaviour and has just completed a report on conscript motivation.

Dr Markus Jakobsson

Ever heard the term SIM-jacking? If not, you should familiarise yourself with this growing form of cyber aggression. Victims include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In this episode of On the Cusp, Elisabeth Braw discusses new forms of cyber aggression directed at individuals with Dr Markus Jakobsson, a leading cryptologist and former principal scientist at PayPal. Listen to the end for an interesting trail leading to a government.

Stewart McDonald MP

Elisabeth Braw speaks with Stewart McDonald MP, the SNP's defence spokesman, who has followed up on Elisabeth's proposal for teenager resilience training and initiated a Resilience Scotland proposal. In McDonald's Resilience Scotland plan, people from all parts of society will be able to attend resilience training and as a result help themselves and their communities in crises.

Senator Angus King

Elisabeth Braw speaks with Senator Angus King of Maine, one of two independent members of the US Senate and the co-chairman of the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission, about how to deter cyber attacks. Plus, how to keep the economy going in case of severe cyber attacks? How to incentivise companies and citizens to play a larger role in cyber preparedness? And how will the Commission get its excellent proposals through Congress?

Damian Collins

Elisabeth Braw speaks with British member of parliament and disinformation expert Damian Collins about why disinformation and misinformation keep spreading and whether parliaments should legislate to fix the problem. Plus: should other countries’ parliaments be able to subpoena US social media executives, and what happens when growing parts of society only access news that’s not vetted?

Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog Haslum

Elisabeth Braw speaks with Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog Haslum, the Swedish Navy's new commander, about the challenges of defending a country with an enormous coastline, about greyzone aggression, citizens' trust in authorities, involving youth in national security and what it's like to command a submarine-hunting flotilla.

Deputy Prime Minister Artis Pabriks

Latvia faces unenviable national security challenges, including a mighty neighbour to the East. But the country has an answer: in a new programme called Comprehensive Defence, the government is involving everyone from teenagers to businesses in national security. And it seems to be working. In this podcast episode, Elisabeth Braw discusses Comprehensive Defence with Latvia's defence minister and deputy prime minister Dr Artis Pabriks.

 Jonathan Kewley

Despite massive efforts to improve cyber defence, cyber attacks are growing. Even hospitals are attacked. A central but little-discussed aspect are the legal implications for cyber victims. Listen to Elisabeth Braw’s discussion with Jonathan Kewley, who as co-head of Clifford Chance’s Tech Group leads more than 400 lawyers.

Giedrimas Jeglinskas 

Elisabeth Braw speaks with Giedrimas Jeglinskas, NATO’s Assistant Secretary-General for Executive Management, about what his job running NATO’s headquarters entails, about NATO’s efforts to help fight coronavirus and whether NATO should even do humanitarian work. Plus, is the alliance capable of innovating?

Samantha Ravich

Cyber aggressors are not taking a break simply because countries are busy battling coronavirus – quite the opposite. In this episode Elisabeth Braw talks with Dr Samantha Ravich of the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which has just published a major report with proposals for better cyber defence and deterrence. 

Dan Eliasson

Elisabeth Braw talks with Dan Eliasson, Director General of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. They discuss how countries can help their populations prepare for a national crisis without knowing what exactly the contingencies will be.

James Vickers

Elisabeth Braw explores how insurance gaps impact major disasters with James Vickers, and finds there are enormous gaps.

Per Brekke

We need to get used to the idea that our convenient societies can't be convenient every single day. Could teenagers play a larger role in helping countries respond to threats? Elisabeth Braw and Per Brekke discuss.

Thanks to Willis Towers Watson. The show is produced by Tom Ascott.