Small Wars Journal
  • “All I can say to the American people: Welcome to your military. It’s on duty.”
    -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis
  • “It's so damn complex. If you ever think you have the solution to this, you're wrong and you're dangerous.”
    -- Lieutenant General (Ret.) H.R. McMaster
  • “Strategic pioneers who create theories, concepts, and other intellectual tools for use by doers have been scarcer than hen’s teeth throughout human history. Sun Tzu, Mahan, Liddell Hart, Herman Kahn, and Bernard Brodie, the world’s first nuclear strategist, are prominent exceptions. Lenin, Mao, Giap, Billy Mitchell, and a handful of others who practiced what they preach, remain even rarer.”
    -- Colonel (Ret.) John Collins, The Warlord Emeritus
  • "If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don't take the shot. Don't create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act."
    -- General (Ret.) James Mattis
  • “So, I’m going to give you a proposed solution,” Zinni told the group. “I’m going to say we need to create an interagency command” to manage America’s response to complex or “hybrid” security crises. “I hate to use that word, ‘command,’ because I don’t mean it to be military.”
    -- General (Ret.) Anthony Zinni

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Northern Guide - Marine Corps Cpl. Aaron J. Troyer guides an assault vehicle onto a bridge at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 7 December 2018, during Northern Steel, a large-scale field exercise. Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Adaezia L. Chavez.

"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 Patricia Murphy Minch | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 1:47pm | 0 comments
"The Luckiest Guerrilla: A True Tale of Love, War and the Army" by Patricia Murphy Minch was recently published by First Steps Publishing, a small traditional publisher in Oregon The book is available in several formats through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others.
by David L. Harrell | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 12:38am | 0 comments
Through extensive social media use, groups revolt, leadership falls, and countries change. Civil Affairs as a branch needs to continue to evolve within the civil environment by formally adding a social media analysis function.
by Tamim Asey | Fri, 12/14/2018 - 3:34am | 0 comments
The new Afghan President, Dr. Ashraf Ghani, has the chance to clean up the Afghan foreign policy machinery from corruption political cronyism and bring competent, loyal and patriotic diplomats and formulate a clear foreign policy to manage its crucial relations with the world and its neighbors.
by John M. Gillette | Wed, 12/12/2018 - 6:35pm | 6 comments
The purpose of this paper is to offer some thoughts and, hopefully, stimulate debate about the Department of Defense’s collective advising efforts over the last fifty plus years; of which I have been a witness from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
by SWJ Editors | Wed, 12/12/2018 - 4:42am | 2 comments
Small Wars Journal-El Centro is seeking papers on the theme of corruption, violence, and governance in Latin America for the next SWJ-EL Centro Anthology.
by Leanne Erdberg, by Maria J. Stephan | Tue, 12/11/2018 - 1:59pm | 1 comment
Terrorists make the case for violent, radical change and recruit aggrieved individuals to be part of the change. But in radicalization, there is more than a political mission at play —violent extremists warped political identity includes dehumanizing others, speaking to grievance, victimhood, and local characteristics of social orientation.
by Franklin C. Annis | Tue, 12/11/2018 - 10:30am | 0 comments
What would become the book "An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army" is a collection of journal entries and letters that she wrote between 1915-1916 when she joined the ambulance of the Second Infantry Regiment of the Serbian Army.
by William McHenry, by Adam Twardowski | Sun, 12/09/2018 - 7:46pm | 1 comment
Russia is counting on the United States and its allies to calculate that supporting Ukraine with additional lethal and non-lethal aid exposes them to unacceptably high risk of escalation with Russia. But the only side this risk serves to constrain is the West.
by Brad Striegel | Sun, 12/09/2018 - 9:36am | 1 comment
Today, the U.S. has several Dragons to contend with, to include; Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Radical Islamic Terrorism and Narco-Terrorism in Mexico. When dealing with Dragons one must first be ready with the right weapons and protection. When dealing with Dragons we must also be careful how we approach them.
by Tamim Asey | Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:30am | 2 comments
History is repeating itself in Afghanistan. Proxy wars and great power politics is returning to the country. It is putting Afghanistan once again at the center stage of regional and global rivalries over influence for a variety of geostrategic interests and the quest for resources. This time, unlike the past, there are many players including almost all of Afghanistan's neighbors - with the prominent players being Pakistan, Iran, China and India.

Blog Posts

by Voice of America | Sun, 12/16/2018 - 8:30am | 0 comments
"The United States said Saturday it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighboring Afghanistan. The acknowledgement came a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his country has arranged another round of Washington’s peace talks with the Afghan Taliban scheduled for Monday."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 6:43pm | 0 comments
"Raqqa, a ruined, fearful city was once the Islamic State's capital, the showcase of its caliphate and a magnet for foreign fighters from around the globe. Now it lies at the heart of the United States' newest commitment to a Middle East war."
by Voice of America | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 6:13pm | 0 comments
"The World Food Program says reopening the Yemeni Port of Hodeida is crucial in efforts to stave off famine in that country, which has been at war for more than three years. The United Nations warns some 14 million people are on the verge of starvation in Yemen."
by Military Times | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 5:24pm | 0 comments
"The struggle between managing resources for the United States’ counterterrorism fight and an emerging great power competition has quietly begun."
by Defense One | Sat, 12/15/2018 - 11:19am | 0 comments
"To compete with China in Africa, the White House aims to encourage U.S. investment but will continue a troop drawdown and plans a harsh re-evaluation of foreign assistance."
by Defense News | Fri, 12/14/2018 - 7:44am | 0 comments
“As the Trump administration pulls back America’s military presence in Africa, it’s calling for more African regional security organizations to step up, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Thursday.”
by SOF News | Fri, 12/14/2018 - 4:58am | 1 comment
This article takes a close look at the establishment, pre-deployment training, and employment in Afghanistan of the 1st Security Force Assistance Battalion.
by Voice of America | Fri, 12/14/2018 - 1:23am | 0 comments
"The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar's military campaign against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide."
by Stars & Stripes | Fri, 12/14/2018 - 1:05am | 0 comments
"The Senate on Thursday approved legislation to end the U.S. military’s support of the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen, dealing a blow to the White House and a longtime strategic ally in the Middle East."
by Voice of America | Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:56pm | 0 comments
The Trump administration has unveiled a new strategy toward Africa, saying that U.S. interests and priorities must come first in all dealings with the continent.