328. Women Warriors: Fighting for the Future

[Editor’s Note:  Mad Scientist is pleased to announce our latest episode of The Convergence podcast, featuring bestselling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, discussing writing about disruptors, the emergence of female fighters and military leaders, and the future of women on the battlefield — Enjoy!  (Please note that this podcast and several of the embedded links below are best accessed via a non-DoD network due to network priorities for teleworking)]


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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015), and The Daughters of Kobani (2021). Additionally, Ms. Lemmon is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rebellion Defense, and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as an expert on their Women and Foreign Policy Program,  She also serves in private sector leadership roles in emerging technology and national security firms,  Ms. Lemmon is a frequent speaker on national security topics, including at the Aspen Security Forum and TED forums, and has given talks at the U.S. Military Academy, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Infantry Museum.

In today’s podcast, Ms. Lemmon discusses writing about disruptors, the emergence of female fighters and military leaders, and the future of women on the battlefield.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion:

      • In The Daughters of Kobani, Ms. Lemmon details the story of an all-female Kurdish Militia that partnered with the United States to fight ISIS in Syria. Their story demonstrates the evolving nature of women in combat, as role-breakers step forward to lead both women and men in conflict.
      • The successful collaboration between this militia and the U.S. military provides strong justification for the formation of future counterterrorism partnerships. These efforts could include a ground partner force, a light U.S. special operations presence, and U.S. air support. While partnerships with local groups can be challenging, success in Kobani shows significant advantages to such endeavors.
      • As the United States forms these partnerships, it will be critical for the U.S. military to consider and define U.S. responsibilities post-conflict. Partner allegiance to the United States involves significant risk, and thus the United States should be certain to support partner efforts before, during, and after conflicts.
      • The Daughters of Kobani demonstrates the advantages for the inclusion and advancement of women in conflict operations. By harnessing all available talent and integrating women across all levels of the military, the United States can significantly advance U.S. national security interests. Importantly, this effort may involve the dismantling of structures that no longer serve U.S. interests and a reshaping of the conceptualization of power.
      • The establishment and preservation of U.S. values will be essential in order to maintain U.S. leadership internationally. The United States is not competing against other democracies for global influence, and thus will have its policies and behavior criticized on the international stage. Commitment to high democratic standards of inclusion will be critical in maintaining U.S. soft power.

Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with Ronald D. Moore — screenwriter and producer of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series and the For All Mankind streaming series portraying an alternative history of an enduring American/Russian Space Race — in the first of our special series of podcasts exploring the power of science fiction, the importance of storytelling, and the significance of imagination. We’ll be talking to writers, creators, and authors, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in thinking about the future in unique ways!

If you enjoyed this post, check out:

Going on the Offensive in the Fight for the Future and associated podcast

The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl and associated podcast

The Convergence: The Future of Talent and Soldiers with MAJ Delaney Brown, CPT Jay Long, and 1LT Richard Kuzma and associated podcast

Fight Club Prepares Lt Col Maddie Novák for Cross-Dimension Manoeuvre by proclaimed Mad Scientists LTC(P) Arnel David, U.S. Army, and Maj Aaron Moore, British Army

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