“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
 

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower


"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

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At the end of the Vietnam War the U.S. Army was in disarray. Racial animosities, drug abuse and rebellious attitudes caused CSA Creighton Abrams to reorganize the way the army prepares for war.

This essay focuses on noteworthy contributions that are essential for the operational artist to “better understand the problem or problems at hand.”

Continue on for a short excerpt and a link to this 31 October 2007 SWJ article. It is Small Wars Journal’s most read piece.

While frustrating to some, the United States’ increasing inability to dictate preferred outcomes should come as no surprise.

As past demobilization efforts show, significant segments of non-state armed actors who are supposed to disarm simply move on from ideologically inspired violence to economically driven violence.

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This 2015 essay was adapted from statements made by General James Mattis before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Proposals include limiting White House operational oversight and giving military more tactical authority.”

“Their views have been heavily influenced over the past 15 years by intensely personal battlefield losses, the country’s waning attention to the wars and an up-close view of a ruthless...

"Neither you nor Secretary Clinton said much in the campaign about the war in Afghanistan. I don't blame you. It's a complex issue."

“After years of moldering away under post Cold war budget crunches, Putin has spent billions to modernize the Russian arsenal.”