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Urban Training - Marine Corps Sgt. Dalyss Reed maneuvers through a breach hole during a training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., on 12 November 2018. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton Swanbeck.

"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 Colette Rausch, by Tina Luu | Fri, 11/16/2018 - 6:18am | 3 comments
If we want to increase the chances of our missions succeeding, we must first understand the complexity of what we are dealing with and plan accordingly. Moreover, we need to treat planning not as a one-time activity but as an ongoing, iterative affair that is responsive to the continual and multifaceted changes characteristic of complex crises.
by Franklin C. Annis | Wed, 11/14/2018 - 5:36am | 2 comments
Via The Cove - The good news is that the rise of the independent producers of PME might be the solution to “fill the gap” between the credentialed “official” military training and the educational opportunities that soldiers really need.
by Falko Ernst | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 8:28am | 0 comments
This essay is an excerpt from a longer field investigation conducted by Falko Ernst in Michoacán in 2015. The author met with this sicario four times to interview him about his life story. The full story was originally published as “The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman” on 17 October 2018 by the International Crisis Group.
by Salem Solomon | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 4:29am | 2 comments
The Central African Republic might seem like an unusual venue for Russia’s evolving strategy in Africa. The CAR doesn’t boast Ethiopia’s booming economy or Angola’s deep oil reserves. It lacks a developed mining industry like Zambia or a strategic location like Djibouti.
by Alma Keshavarz | Sun, 11/11/2018 - 5:16pm | 0 comments
Mexico’s cartels have become a global problem. From the manufacture and sale of drugs, to human trafficking, turf wars, among other criminal acts, narcos have an international footprint. Ioan Grillo’s "El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency", is an account of how Mexico’s cartels were once drug smugglers who later radically transformed into “paramilitary death squads”
by Marc W.D. Tyrrell | Fri, 11/09/2018 - 4:49pm | 0 comments
This essay has been written specifically for Small Wars Journal—El Centro as part of an ongoing Los Caballeros Templarios de Michoacán research project that will be published as a future eBook.
by Army News Service | Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments
Now based at the New Kabul Compound in the middle of the country's capital city, SGT Zabi Abraham is one of the most impactful advisors within the brigade's 5th Battalion. Often, he is at the battalion commander's side, translating conversations between him and senior Afghan leaders.
by Karl Umbrasas | Thu, 11/08/2018 - 10:40am | 2 comments
Mass hysteria may occur within cohesive groups that share information. The nature of twenty-first century media, coupled with frank information manipulation, may create conditions favorable for mass hysterical reactions.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:34am | 2 comments
Trump and his enablers do enough damage in America and to their direct targets, but the indirect effects are also quite serious, not least of all in the Middle East. Two very current, sad examples are Saudi Arabia and Israel.
by Larry Kay | Tue, 11/06/2018 - 12:02pm | 1 comment
Some would consider it incredulous to believe that thoughts could possibly be the cause of so much pain and grief in the world. Disappointingly, they are not trying hard enough to solve the problem and fail to recognize that the history of the world is indeed a history of thoughts, shaped by ideas before it is even shaped by events.

Blog Posts

by Foreign Policy | Tue, 11/20/2018 - 5:46pm | 0 comments
"Another devastating suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday and an independent report on the situation in Afghanistan serve to underscore what is now a growing consensus in Washington: that the United States is making no progress toward ending the 17-year-old war there."
by The New York Times | Tue, 11/20/2018 - 1:37pm | 0 comments
"President Trump declared his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday, declaring that the prince’s culpability in the killing of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, might never be known."
by SWJ Editors | Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:26am | 0 comments
Long War Journal - "The Taliban confirmed that it met with a high-level delegation of US officials in Qatar, and quashed news reports that the group wanted the Afghan government to postpone the April 2019 presidential elections and establish an interim government. Yet again, the Taliban insisted that “an Islamic government,” a not-so-vague reference to its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, rule the country."
by DoD News | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 10:31pm | 0 comments
"Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford reiterated yesterday that reconciliation is the only way forward in Afghanistan and that political, economic, religious and military pressure must be maintained on the group."
by Foreign Policy | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 10:28pm | 0 comments
"U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, returning from a trip to Colombia, said over the weekend that the Trump administration is making a push to strengthen alliances across Latin America as part of an effort to counter rising Chinese and Russian influence in the United States’ backyard."
by Stars & Stripes | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 9:44pm | 0 comments
"The roughly 5,800 active-duty troops sent to locations along the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections will spend Thanksgiving in Texas, Arizona, and California, but they are expected to return home in time for Christmas, Pentagon officials said Monday."
by The Washington Post | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 9:33pm | 0 comments
"The Trump administration is preparing to add Venezuela to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism in what would be a dramatic escalation against the socialist government of Nicolás Maduro, according to U.S. officials and internal government emails."
by Military Times | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 7:52pm | 0 comments
“Though a 1,000-fighter strong Taliban takeover of Ghazni City was repelled by a combination of U.S. and Afghan forces earlier this year, conditions remain for the insurgent group to take other vulnerable urban centers, according to a recent report.”
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 11/19/2018 - 8:08am | 0 comments
ML Cavanaugh for the Salt Lake Tribune - "Why go 'over there'? We should first note the vast, impersonal forces that drove Taylor to Afghanistan. Over time, American political consensus has led us into both a commitment in Afghanistan and avoidance of conscription. We also face a post-9/11 global resource-to-requirements challenge that has led us to make operational use of the reserve components. That demand is what pulled a major from the Utah Army National Guard to Afghanistan."
by Voice of America | Sun, 11/18/2018 - 5:06pm | 0 comments
The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation says despite challenges and difficulties he is “cautiously optimistic or hopeful” about facilitating an inter-Afghan peace dialogue to end the 17-year war.