Curious people instinctively seek out knowledge. They read, they watch, they travel. But like all other people, the curious need to pay rent, do dishes, and drop kids off at soccer practice. Sometimes the pursuit of knowledge just has to take a backseat to day-to-day life. Unfortunately this leads to a world of boring conversations about the weather. Podcasts are an easy way to exercise your mind while still accomplishing other tasks. Whether you’re at the gym, on your morning commute, or getting things done around the house, you can bring any of these military podcasts with you . They are not all exclusive to military topics, but  often intersect with questions of national defense, technology, and current events. Now you’ll never have to chit chat with strangers about the weather ever again.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History:

And as the name “Hardcore History” would suggest, this podcast is not for the faint of heart. Dan Carlin is a master storyteller whose in-depth research and passion for the human experience are clear in these long-form pieces. Though it’s not intentionally just a military podcast, most episodes revolve around the cultural and historical impacts of war. With most episodes as a part of a series, Hardcore History takes topics like WWI or the Achaemenid Persian Empire and fleshes them out in brilliant detail. For example, the WWI series “Blueprint for Armageddon” clocks in at a total of 23 hours. Listeners not only hear the “macro” stories of how nations rise and fall, but the “micro” of how this history affected the individuals who experienced it.  After listening, your brain will feel like your muscles after a good workout: tired, but satisfied. If you’ve got a long drive or a massive project around the house, this is a great series to get lost in.

ClearanceJobs Recommends: Blueprint for Armageddon series; The Destroyer of Worlds

Approximate Length: Varies, approx 2-3 hrs/episode

Cost: Some episodes free; others $2-3/episode

Intelligence² Debates:

It seems like no topic is off-limits today in the public square. Unfortunately, very few of those public conversations are as dignified, respectful, and substantial as Intelligence² (Intelligence Squared). Recorded at live debates taking place around the country, Intelligence² invites thought leaders, diplomats, professors, and other experts to have civil, public discussion about issues that impact society. Moderator and Emmy Award-winning journalist John Donvan is gracious and even-handed, but doesn’t pull punches when it comes to asking critical questions. At the end of each debate, online and in-person audience members vote on which side presented a more compelling argument.  Covering a wide range of topics, Intelligence Squared is focused on reasoned debate and elevating public discourse. If you were a debate nerd in high school or college, this will definitely take you back to the glory days of borrowing Dad’s blazer for Model UN.

ClearanceJobs Recommends: Negotiations Can Denuclearize North Korea, Snowden Was Justified

Approximate Length: Approx 50 mins/debate

Cost: Free

99% Invisible:

With 99% Invisible, producer Roman Mars offers glimpses into the genius and quirk behind the design and architecture of everything from Nike sneakers to dirigibles. While the podcast doesn’t concentrate on military or defense issues exclusively, it enables the listener to go on brief jaunts around the world to explore many different topics whose only common thread is design. As in the case of an Arctic seed vault in Norway, or the construction of dirigibles out of animal entrails, listeners are unlikely to hear much about these topics on a day-to-day basis. These fairly brief episodes are great on a short commute to work or for a much-needed mental break from cubicle life.

ClearanceJobs Recommends: Airships and the Future that Never Was, DIY Space Suit 

Approximate Length: Varies, 20-40 mins/episode

Cost: Free

Pritzker Military Presents:

Pritzker Military Museum & Library in downtown Chicago is dedicated to the idea of America’s Citizen Soldier. Topics for Pritzker Military Presents are on a wide range of both current events and history, featuring conversations with military leaders, authors, and historians. With guests like war journalist Sebastian Junger or Vietnam veteran and author Tim O’Brien, Pritzker gives an authentic look at how war affects both individuals and society.  It also regularly features  award-winning servicemen and women who can offer an authentic perspective on the experience of war. It’s an excellent resource for veterans who want to hear these issues discussed “in their voice,” and for civilians who want to better understand history through the lens of people who’ve served.

ClearanceJobs Recommends: Sebastian Junger: Korengal, The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II

Approximate Length: 1 hour/episode

Cost: Free


Many thanks to Lt. Matthew Hipple, U.S. Navy, for assisting with this article. These podcasts, along with his curiosity and search for knowledge, ensure that he will never be boring a day in his life. 

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Caroline's background is in public policy, non-profit fundraising, and - oddly enough - park rangering. Though she once dreamed of serving America secretly in the CIA, she's grateful she's gotten to serve America publicly - both through the National Park Service and right here at ClearanceJobs.