Episode 3 – What Drives National Security? Understanding the Threat

Episode Summary

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is proud to present the next episode of its Aerospace Advantage Podcast. In episode 3, your host John “Slick” Baum brings former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Jim Miller and Maj Gen (ret.) Larry Stutzriem onto to better understand the national security landscape that drives defense decision making. The threats facing America are incredibly diverse and span from countries like China and Russia to non-state actors like ISIS. This means America needs smart options, including aerospace power.

Full Topic Guide

In Episode 3, host John Baum looks at the broader national security environment. Things like combat aircraft and national security space constellations don’t exist for their own purposes—they speak to a need. It all comes down to deterring conflict, favorably shaping engagements with adversaries, reassuring allies, and winning decisively when war comes. That takes smart combat power—of which air and space options are crucial. 

To dig into the details surrounding this topic, Baum invites former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Jim Miller to share his observations and insights on the national security environment. To complement Dr. Miller’s civilian leadership view, we explore the military’s role in the process with Mitchell Institute’s Director of Studies Maj Gen (Ret.) Larry Stutzriem . 

The episode wraps with Baum highlighting the major issue at play: the threat environment that the U.S. face is incredibly complex, and Air and Space provide the most flexible and adaptable capabilities to meet the threats head on.

Time Marks

4:28 – Slick introduces the NDS framework to understand the threat environment

8:17 – Dr. Jim Miller describes the threat landscape

11:02 – Dr. Miller explains how to prioritize the threats to national security

15:22 – Dr. Miller describes the difference between China and Russia

17:52 – How are North Korea and Iran different?

20:42 – Lessons Learned from Iraq and Afghanistan

23:11 – Air and Space power as seen by a Defense leader

32:14 – Stutz on the unique advantage of the Air Force and Space Force

32:50 – Stutz racks and stacks the threats against the U.S. and explains how he makes the assessment

35:45 – Stutz gives advice for the incoming Biden defense team


Host: Lt Col John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Dr. Jim Miller

Guest: Maj Gen Larry “Stutz” Stutzriem, USAF, ret.


David Ochmanek soundbite from Center for a New American Security event found here.

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