Small Wars Journal
  • "At the end of the third inning we declared victory and said the game's over. It ain't over. It isn't going to be over in future wars. If we're talking about the future, we need to talk about not how you win the peace as a separate part of the war, but you've got to look at this thing from start to finish.”
    -- General Anthony Zinni
  • “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way.”
    -- John Paul Jones
  • “There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!”
    -- John Hancock
  • “Most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which foreign policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any president to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world.”
    -- Zbigniew Brzeziński
  • "Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies."
    -- Thomas Paine

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Night Flight - Marine Corps Capt. Mark Reaser stands beside his helicopter after refueling at a forward arming and refueling point in Yuma, Ariz., on 9 June 2018. Reaser is a UH-1Y Venom pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 Reinforced, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Victoria Decker.

"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

Welcome. Small Wars Journal publishes original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders in small wars. We also link you to relevant goings on elsewhere.  Login with your SWJ Username to comment, or Register, it's free. You can start your own threads in the Small Wars Council discussion board, but note that the board requires a separate Council Username. Follow SWJ on Twitter @smallwars.


by Gary Anderson | Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:14am | 0 comments
If I were a commander in Afghanistan today, my first question on visiting an Afghan air base would be; “what is your aircraft readiness rate”? If it is less than 70%, I’d want to talk to the mechanics. That would say volumes.
by Donald E. Vandergriff | Sat, 06/16/2018 - 8:17am | 0 comments
The U.S. Army spills the words "Mission Command" everywhere from its literature, PowerPoint briefings, doctrine manuals, and professional journals that now seem to include an article on "Mission Command" in every issue. The U.S. Army culture, while it aspires to adopt a concept originating in German military thought, has in reality cultivated a culture that more closely emulates the French Army culture during the interwar period (1918-1939).
by Andrew Schoka | Fri, 06/15/2018 - 6:59am | 0 comments
Maneuver theory has now evolved to consider the first man-and-machine-made domain, in which cyberspace, as an artificial information domain, overlaps, intersects, and engages with the four other warfighting domains. The unique nature of the cyberspace warfighting domain presents a host of distinct challenges and considerations to maneuver thinking, requiring a change to the approach of training maneuver warfare principles for military cyberspace leaders.
by Matthew A. Cronin | Fri, 06/15/2018 - 5:40am | 0 comments
A policy decision in 2015 requires the integration of women into all military occupational specialties (MOS), including combat MOS if they meet the appropriate standards. Human history shows that women participated in war in supporting roles, but did not fight as combatants. The risks associated with changing this fundamental characteristic of human society should be assessed considering science.
by Leon Young, by Timothy Keeffe | Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments
There is a clear requirement for the development of strategic thinking in modern militaries that is not being addressed by the JPME continuum. This short article proposes a generalised model that frames the development of strategic thinking through a deliberate pedagogy and a suggested set of activities is provided.
by Donald C. Bolduc | Wed, 06/13/2018 - 1:00am | 0 comments
There are 12 critical areas that must be addressed to ensure the Army is successful in the future. None of what appears here has to do with technology, but rather people, our most important asset.
by Douglas A. Livermore | Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:13am | 1 comment
Lebanese Hezbollah, in the face of dwindling external financial support from the Iranian government between 2006 and 2012, diversified its funding streams by establishing lucrative and expansive narcotics smuggling and sales networks around the world. This narcotics trade is now arguably Hezbollah’s largest consistent source of revenue, enabling it to conduct terrorist activities, fund its charitable projects in Lebanon, and portray itself as a legitimate political and resistance movement.
by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez, by Samuel Casey | Mon, 06/11/2018 - 9:31am | 0 comments
This “letter home” is presented as part of the TRADOC G2's "Soldier 2050" Call for Ideas. This material will form a compendium of thoughts and ideas that will support the exploration of future bio-convergence implications on the Army of 2050.
by Lydia Kostopoulos | Mon, 06/11/2018 - 3:53am | 1 comment
This paper was submitted to ‘Small Wars Journal’ as part of the TRADOC G2’s Mad Scientist Initiative. Today they can say that the future of increasingly autonomous combat is preordained. Perhaps it is ‘written on the walls’, but I would remind those who say that; that there is still more space to write on the walls.
by John Bolton | Sun, 06/10/2018 - 12:04am | 0 comments
This paper analyzes how the Army’s Bureaucratic mindset, educational heuristics, and focus on big data negatively affects developing Situational Awareness. It argues that the Army’s bureaucratic mindset common throughout the Army and resident in DMCS presumes an ability to quantify the world based on faulty determinative assumptions.

Blog Posts

by The Washington Post | Sun, 06/17/2018 - 4:21pm | 0 comments
“After two days of rising hopes across the country, Taliban leaders Sunday brusquely rejected the government’s proposal to extend a three-day ceasefire and said they were ordering all insurgent fighters to resume operations against ‘the foreign invaders and their internal supporters.’”
by SWJ Editors | Sun, 06/17/2018 - 2:01pm | 0 comments
Via the United Nations University's Centre for Policy Research - "There is a clear case to be made that the sustainable development fight may be won or lost in cities. Urban areas, especially in conflict-affected contexts, are emerging as epicentres of multi-layered violence and extreme vulnerability."
by Voice of America | Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:25pm | 0 comments
"A suicide bomb attack has killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 50 others in eastern Afghanistan, a day after a deadly attack in the same area targeted government soldiers and Taliban insurgents celebrating a temporary cease-fire during the Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr."
by Associated Press | Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:51am | 0 comments
"In 2016, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, signed a peace deal that ended five decades of conflict. The peace accord was praised around the world but its implementation has been slow going and ridden with obstacles."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 06/16/2018 - 8:04pm | 0 comments
"President Ashraf Ghani ordered the extension Saturday of a first-time cease-fire with Taliban insurgents, offered to provide medical treatment to injured Taliban fighters and announced that 46 Taliban prisoners had been released Friday as a sign of official goodwill."
by The Hill | Sat, 06/16/2018 - 11:58am | 0 comments
"The Government of Afghanistan on June 7 offered a unilateral, week-long cease-fire to the Taliban beginning June 12, in observance of the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Of course, a cease-fire is not a peace agreement, but it can lead to one."
by Stars & Stripes | Sat, 06/16/2018 - 7:14am | 0 comments
"The first day of the Eid holiday in eastern Afghanistan brought a strange sight - presumed Taliban fighters walking up to Afghan soldiers at checkpoints and taking selfies with them."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 06/16/2018 - 6:46am | 0 comments
"Nearly two years after a historic peace accord ended Latin America’s longest-running insurgency and garnered a Nobel Prize, an old scourge is again spreading across the rural valleys and jungle towns of Colombia’s northeast - guerrilla warfare."
by The New York Times | Fri, 06/15/2018 - 4:34pm | 0 comments
"They come from all walks of life, ages 17 to 65. Among them is a high school student who went home to complete his final exams before rejoining the others; a poet who still carries in his chest one of the four bullets he was shot with; a bodybuilding champion who abandoned his gym and has lost 20 pounds of muscle on the journey. They are day laborers, farmers, retired army officers, a polio victim on crutches, a mechanic who was robbed of his sight by war."
by Military Times | Thu, 06/14/2018 - 1:15pm | 0 comments
“As missiles fly and bombardments are launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, experts say that requests for direct U.S. military involvement to take the vital port city of Hodeida could open a host of problems for U.S. concerns in the civil war-ravaged nation.”