Small Wars Journal
  • “We have all seen the officer who, by working very hard, produces an excellent performance but on promotion fails to maintain his promise. He reached that rank because he was clever enough not to need to delegate. He failed because he did not have the sense or character to know that he should.”
    -- Major General Rupert Smith
  • "Before a war, military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war, it seems more like astrology."
    -- Rebecca West
  • “The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
    -- General Colin Powell
  • "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
    -- Napoleon Bonaparte
  • “Leadership in war is an art, a free creative activity based on a foundation of knowledge. The greatest demands are made on the personality.”
    -- Generals Werner von Fritsch and Ludwig Beck

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Seahawk Signal - Navy Seaman Yulisa Hernandez Garcia directs the crew of an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter as it takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean, on 20 June 2018. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dylan M. Kinee.

"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 Christopher Flaherty | Sat, 06/23/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
Recent trends in the use of weapons by terrorist, extremist or violent attackers points to a dynamic field of options, representing a spectrum from the highly complex to the simple weaponization of common everyday items. Rather than a linear progression from the simple to the complex, or devolution from the complex to the simple, there is an elastic set of polar options, that attackers range between.
by Nick Brunetti-Lihach | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:39am | 0 comments
History has shown successful military innovation requires leaders with vision, temperament, and conviction. A vision establishes an objective, even temperament builds a cohesive team, and conviction lends passion and patience to that end.
by Donald E. Vandergriff | Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:17pm | 0 comments
As an institution, the U.S. Army has yet to see Mission Command as what it really is - a culture of professionalism. All too often, we have sought tangible metrics at the expense of holistic understanding.
by Peter Layton | Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:30am | 0 comments
Grand strategy may seem an irrelevant idea but it’s not. As Colin Gray declares “all strategy is grand strategy.” Without a grand strategy that explains the ends, works the means and sets out the ways, lower-level strategies will be uncoordinated, work at odds with each other and be unlikely to succeed. It should be thought of as a practical problem-solving methodology you can apply to particular real-world problems. This article rethinks grand strategy to provide just that.
by Bryan Baker | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 3:51pm | 0 comments
Freedom of movement is a long established civil right in free societies. Today, however, this right has been sacrificed as a part of America’s War on Terror. In the name of preventing illegal entries into the US, citizens across America are being stopped by armed Border Patrol (BP) agents at interior checkpoints—up to 100 miles inside of the border—and asked any of a series of questions: “Do you own this car? Are those your kids? Are you an American citizen?” “What is your social security number? “What is your phone number?” “What company do your work for?”
by William Spach | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:49am | 0 comments
Both ideologies emphasize using violence to overthrow the existing international order and replace it with a strict, intolerant doctrine. Of the similarities, one of the most foundational is an emphasis on appealing to disenfranchised members of a middle class and the groups’ exploitation of middle class identity to achieve their goals.
by Daniel H. Heinke | Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:07am | 0 comments
This sketch intends to highlight the need for an expanded systematic cooperation between those state actors tasked with ‘external’ security and those responsible for homeland security. It expands on the role of law enforcement in counter-terrorism brief the author delivered in a multi-national environment of both military and law enforcement practitioners.
by Margaret Loper | Mon, 06/18/2018 - 6:22pm | 0 comments
Cities may be the first to benefit from the IoT, but reliance on these machines to make decisions has profound implications for trust. This article is the latest addition to the U.S. Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative’s Future of Warfare 2030-2050 project at Small Wars Journal.
by AT&T Global Public Sector | Mon, 06/18/2018 - 6:21am | 0 comments
This article is the latest addition to the U.S. Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative’s Future of Warfare 2030-2050 project at Small Wars Journal. By AT&T Global Public Sector: Roger Wong, Usha Mohan, Michael Canty, Tina Chester, Richard Chung and Terry White.
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.

Blog Posts

by Army Times | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 6:45pm | 0 comments
"On month four of their first deployment, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade’s soldiers are sitting down with the Army’s top civilian to tell the top brass how it’s going."
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:38pm | 0 comments
"The recent fighting in Afghanistan has shown all too clearly that the Taliban was sincere in announcing in late April that it was rejecting participation in a peace progress and starting a new spring offensive. It has only had limited success so far, but has taken more districts. In spite of a brief Ramadan ceasefire, peace seems no closer now than it has at any point in the past."
by Stars & Stripes | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:29pm | 0 comments
"Taliban gunmen killed seven as they stormed an election registration site in Nimroz province Thursday, in a new round of attacks on Afghanistan’s hopes for safe elections this October following the end of a short cease-fire."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments
"U.S. and Afghan special-operations troops pushed Islamic State fighters out of the district that the militants had aspired to make the capital of their local territory, the military said."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:19am | 0 comments
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind the Afghan government’s attempts to kindle a peace process with the Taliban this week, reflecting growing international pressure to bring Afghanistan’s long war to a negotiated end."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 2:11pm | 0 comments
“Taliban fighters killed dozens of government soldiers in overnight attacks on two security checkpoints in northwestern Afghanistan, authorities and medical personnel said Wednesday, in the insurgent group’s first major assault since refusing to extend an unprecedented three-day cease-fire.”
by Voice of America | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:51am | 0 comments
Somalia’s most dangerous terror group is likely not getting any stronger despite a series of deadly attacks, including one that claimed the life of a U.S. special operations soldier earlier this month.
by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:33am | 0 comments
Today, SIGAR released a review of the construction of a 233-kilometer segment of Afghanistan's Ring Road between Qeysar and Laman. Since 2006, the project has been funded by five separate grants from the Asian Development Bank totaling $721 million.
by Morgan Smiley | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:17am | 0 comments
Our Air Force allowed us to go from air superiority to air dominance. In order to maintain it, we need to go higher. From that higher level, we can protect the vital assets that allow our modern high-tech society to function.
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 1:23am | 0 comments
The U.S. Army general nominated to head U.S. military operations in Afghanistan says Washington must be careful not to withdraw too quickly, otherwise terror groups will regroup and plunge the country into deeper conflict.