CENTCAST: The official podcast of U.S. Central Command

CENTCAST Episode 14: Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, A Short Life with A Lasting Legacy

We celebrate the 40th Anniversary of CENTCOM in 2023, but have you ever wondered what the regional security picture was like before then? With the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and its potential for instability causing much concern, the establishment of a Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force was seen as crucial to countering Iranian and Russian influence. Headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base after its 1980 beginning, the task force took the first steps in building the unified, permanent command needed in the Middle East. Episode 14 highlights the short lifespan of an organization that recognized a gap in the security framework of the United States and her partners and closed it with the contemporary resources and tools available. Join us now to learn about those who paved the way for CENTCOM.

Listen on DVIDS

June 13, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 13: Air Forces Central, Watching the Friendly and Not-So-Friendly Skies over CENTCOM

We have a chance in Episode 13 to hear from U.S. Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich about regional air challenges. He's been in command of Air Forces Central for little more than a year, one filled with challenges, opportunities and successful collaboration. While regional adversaries highlight the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, you'll hear about the continued U.S. and Coalition presence fully capable of deterring and defeating any threat. Whether it's helping to lead the charge on innovation, countering Russian influence in the region or harnessing the full potential of diverse and unique partners, Lt. Gen. Grynkewich has a front row seat to the CENTCOM issues of the day. We'll hear those perspectives on regional air power and more in this CENTCAST episode.

May 30, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 12: CENTCOM’s Women, Peace, and Security Program Explained in 15 Minutes

Episode 12 of the CENTCAST highlights a critical plank in our Partnership programs: the Women, Peace, and Security program. The program empowers and highlights women serving and leading in their countries’ national security. In so doing, the effort offers military forces throughout the CENTCOM region a strategic advantage of our adversaries and competitors. Rachel Arin, the CENTCOM program coordinator, joins host Joe Buccino and his friend Crespo to explain the value of women’s meaningful participation in security. She is a retired Army Sergeant Major who served in public affairs and is now living her best life in Tampa running the WPS program. It’s an important program, this is an interesting subject, and we’re giving you a short episode. So, give us 15 minutes and we’ll give you everything you need to know about the Women, Peace, and Security program.

May 16, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 11: Schuyler Moore, Driving a Culture of Innovation

Schuyler Moore, the first Chief Technology Officer in CENTCOM history, has been driving innovation across the command since coming into the job last November. The 30-year-old Harvard grad is accelerating the implementation of new technology and new ideas, moving out on AI-based targeting solutions, and encouraging creativity across all echelons. She’s also served as the subject of a Washington Post profile, addressed the national media in a Pentagon press briefing, and spoken with national and international reporters about her innovation focus. For Episode 11 Schuyler entered the CENTCAST studio to share her story and her focus within CENTCOM. She describes how she entered the command at the perfect moment and why CENTCOM is driving innovation for the US Department of Defense. She also describes some of CENTCOM’s innovation initiatives, including its counter-drone experimentation, unmanned platforms, and AI data collection programs. Schuyler has an inspiring backstory – she left Harvard for a year to teach in Afghanistan, was selected by Forbes as among 30 Under 30 brightest young American leaders, and entered military service in her late-twenties. She served as the Director of Science and Technology for the Defense Innovation Board – the youngest director in that organization’s history. In 2019, her report on 5G technology was presented to Congress and the White House. She’s already accomplished and experienced more than most people do in a lifetime. Amazingly, her journey is just getting started. All these elements are revealed in this 40-minute episode. CENTCAST host Joe Buccino spends a lot of time talking about CENTCOM history. This episode is about the present and future: in its 40th year, CENTCOM is revolutionizing its processes and operations to take advantage of AI, machine learning, robotics, and cloud computing. Schuyler Moore is leading those efforts. This episode has insight and wisdom for anyone interested in military innovation or the intersection of new technology into military operations.

May 9, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 10: Partnering at the Speed of Trust

CENTCOM's strategic approach centers on three components: People, Partners, and Innovation. This episode focuses on the second one. Marine Corps Major General Sean "Sumo" Salene, the CENTCOM Director of Plans and Strategy, enters the CENTCAST studio with host Joe Buccino to discuss US Central Command's focus on partnering with military forces in the Middle East, Levant, and Central and South Asian States. Sumo tells Joe about the value of listening and how a little humility advances American interests in the region. He also explains why leaning into our American military values in developing enduring, abiding relations offers CENTCOM a strategic advantage over China and Russia. This episode describes CENTCOM's philosophy on partnering and how CENTCOM organizes training exercises and operations partners. Our partners are such a critical aspect of everything we do and this episode explains what that means for our troops in the region and across the United States. Every leader assigned to CENTCOM and any security professional interested in CENTCOM's priorities will find insight in this shorter episode of CENTCAST.

April 25, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 9: Fleet Walters

If you’ve ever spent time with Navy Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters – America’s longest-serving Navy SEAL – you’ll know immediately that he is a quiet, softspoken intellect, but he has a lot to say. A lot to say about the social evolution of the US military, about leadership, about the legacy of the brotherhood of the SEALS, and many other subjects related to life and service. In Episode 9 he says it all in the Tampa, Florida CENTCAST studio with host Joe Buccino. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Derrick served a lifetime as a Navy SEAL. He’s fought and led SEALs in some of the toughest, most violent, most strategically important places and missions ever witnessed by the American servicemember. He’s risen to the top of the American military, advising Generals and Admirals at the highest levels. Derrick now finds himself advising the commander of US Central Command at a critical moment of transformation for the organization and the region. Fleet Walters has always invested in his people. This goes beyond ensuring they are ready for combat – his personal investment in people extends to their families, to their lives beyond military services, and to seeking a balance between all the aspects of life that allow a fulfillment. He explains this leadership philosophy during an enlightening and thoroughly entertaining half hour. CENTCAST is the official podcast of US Central Command. With a new episode every Tuesday, the show tells the 40-year history of CENTCOM, America’s military command focused on the Middle East, Levant, and Central Asian States.

April 11, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 8: Iran-US Relations, 1988 - 1992, A Missed Opportunity

In 1988, at the close of a ruinous eight-year slog of war with Iraq, an exhausted and increasingly unpopular Iranian regime sought to reestablish pre-revolution ties with the United States. In his inaugural address that year, the new American president, George HW Bush, seemed to welcome a new relationship with Tehran. The Cold War was ending with a golden American triumph. The Iran-Iraq War had culminated with Iran militarily and economically devastated. A new day dawned for both the Untied States and Iran. Both sides were moving toward some kind of rapprochement. So, what happened? Iranian-American author, scholar, and historian John Ghazvinian joins the podcast to explain how DC ignored Tehran’s diplomatic outreach. John is the author “America and Iran” A History, 1720 to the Present,” named by the New York Times as one of the “100 Notable Books of 2021.” The book is full of insights into the long arc of America’s relationship with the country we now consider the primary destabilizing force in the Middle East. John describes what could have been, what the Middle East might look like today had the US administration brought Iran in from the cold, and how both sides viewed a possible diplomatic reengagement during a critical period. CENTCAST is the official podcast of US Central Command, the American military command overseeing the Middle East, the Levant, and the Central Asian States. The program tells the history of CENTCOM and describes the command’s activities and initiatives today.

March 28, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 7: The Tanker War

The Tanker War was a big moment in early CENTCOM history. The US was involved in a low-grade combat at sea with Iran that almost escalated to a major theater conflict. In the 1980s, Iran and Iraq, embroiled in a massive land war, engaged in a series of shoot-outs on the high seas. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, supported by the United States (believe it or not), started the whole thing. In an attempt to weaken Iran’s ability to fight on land, he began attacking Iranian shipping vessel.

March 23, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 6: The Iran Hostage Crisis

CENTCAST details all the events, crises, and geopolitical considerations that led to the formation of US Central Command in 1983. One event stands in history above all others in prominence. One crisis forced the American Congress, presidency, and Pentagon to develop a unified command focuses solely on the central region. That event sits at the heart of this episode.

March 23, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 5: The Story of Kuwait

We normally release episodes of CENTCAST every other Tuesday. This episode, however, is going out on a Saturday: February 25th, Kuwait National Day. In fact, Kuwait National Day is the subject of episode 5. Host Joe Buccino is joined in studio by Staff Lieutenant Colonel Khaled Al Rubaian, a Kuwaiti Armed Forces officer who represents his nation in the US Central Command headquarters in Tampa.

March 23, 2023

CENTCAST Episode 4: The 1973 Oil Crisis

You remember the 1973 oil crisis? Remember the shock, the anger? The fear that the country would never fully recover? Remember when President Nixon announced oil rationing measures, gas stations closed on weekends, people all over the country lost their minds, and some states told residents not to put up Christmas lights? No? Well, you’re in luck. We cover all of that in this episode.