Small Wars Journal
  • "Before a war, military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war, it seems more like astrology."
    -- Rebecca West
  • “Look! We're not worried about the German army, we've got enough troubles of our own. To the right General Patton, to the left the British Army, to the rear our own goddamn artillery, and besides all that it's raining. And the only good thing to say about the weather is it keeps our air corps from blowing us all to Hell because it’s too lousy to fly.”
    -- Big Joe – ‘Kelly’s Heroes’
  • "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
    -- Napoleon Bonaparte
  • "When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship."
    -- Dick Gregory
  • “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”
    -- Douglas MacArthur

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement




Best Seats in Town – A U.S. Air Force A-10 takes part in an urban operations drill on 13 June during NATO’s Saber Strike exercise in a Soviet-era former military town near Skrunda, Latvia. (Ints Kalnins/TPX Images of the Day/Reuters)

"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 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.
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.

Blog Posts

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.
by DoD News | Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:12am | 0 comments
Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva told the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition that DoD has learned lessons from past disasters such as the earthquake in Pakistan, the tsunami in South Asia, the Haitian earthquake, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan. In humanitarian crises occurring today, with most caused by war, 66 million people are displaced in the Middle East, Asia, South and Central America and the Arabian Peninsula.
by The Washington Post | Tue, 06/19/2018 - 4:15pm | 0 comments
"The statement by Army Lt. Gen. Austin 'Scott' Miller during his confirmation hearing was an acknowledgment that the war has dragged on nearly 17 years and of how past U.S. commanders often proclaimed that conditions were set for forces to make significant progress soon."
by Military Times | Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:53pm | 0 comments
“While acknowledging that 17 years of war “is a very long time,” the incoming head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers he sees progress in the ongoing fight thanks to recent changes in military strategy there.”
by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments | Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:10pm | 0 comments
A Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments Study - "By the middle of the 21st century, ground forces will employ tens of thousands of robots, and the decisions of human commanders will be shaped by artificial intelligence; trends in technology and warfare make this a near certainty."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 06/19/2018 - 9:23am | 0 comments
"And then they come, bus after bus, wheelchair after wheelchair, battalions of his bent brothers, stooped with years but steeped in pride, veterans coming to see their country’s monument to their sacrifice and to be welcomed by of one of their country’s icons."