Small Wars Journal
  • "War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality."
    -- Senator John McCain
  • “The American foreign policy establishment is notoriously forgiving — of itself. Rarely are policymakers held to account when they offer bad advice, such as supporting a disastrous war in Iraq or helping organize torture or assassinations.”
    -- Daniel Bessner
  • “Once you turn enough corners, you're back where you started.”
    -- Unknown
  • "The essence of my message today is to say that when you look at the scale and the scope of this problem, without combating the ideology and the ideas, you will never defeat the extremism."
    -- Former UK PM Tony Blair
  • “In the end, left to its own dynamics, the Long War could become a Forever War. It’s time we reshape our policies to prevent that from happening.”
    -- Joseph J. Collins

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement

 

1

 

The Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea is a heavily mined no-man’s-land of barbed wire and guard posts, with thousands of infantrymen on each side. North and South Korea plan to scale down military forces along their border under an agreement this week that promises to lower tensions, but which has fanned concerns about whether the changes compromise battle-readiness. Source: Wall Street Journal - Photo: Yonhap/EPA/Shutterstock.

"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.

Journal

by Peter Polack | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 1:00pm | 0 comments
Simon Bolivar made a successful career of failures, defeats, elimination of competing fellow countrymen and repeated exiles manifested in the numerous early short-lived republics of Venezuela.
by Christopher Rodriguez | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 11:41am | 0 comments
On October 9th, 1967 at 1:45 PM, Colonel Joaquin Zetenento announced to the world that Che Guevara was dead. Many were surprised to hear the news – and it was even more surprising that he died in Bolivia of all places. Questions began to swirl around his death while world leaders began to take sides concerning his legacy. Some, such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro, publicly mourned his death and vowed to continue Guevara’s vision of global revolution.
by John P. Sullivan | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:34am | 0 comments
Tunnel warfare is now becoming a contemporary concern as seen in its use by AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb) in Mali, and by Hamas for smuggling, terrorism, and increasingly as a means of urban warfare in Gaza, Syria, and Iraq. Among other things, underground warfare is likely to merge with urban operations and proliferate in the megacity battles of tomorrow. Richemond-Barak does an excellent job of building a foundation for addressing these tactical, operational, and strategic challenges.
by Gary Anderson | Thu, 09/20/2018 - 2:51am | 1 comment
Except for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, America has been fighting small, counterinsurgency wars since 9-11. This begs the question of whether fighting small wars inhibits or enhances our readiness to transition to large, high-intensity conflicts against peer or near peer competitors? The answer is complicated and somewhat ambiguous.
by Douglas A. Livermore | Thu, 09/20/2018 - 1:40am | 0 comments
Competing visions of future warfare invariably include some version of robotic fighting machines operating either alongside, or in place of, humans. Each of the world's major powers are pursuing development of such automated killers, each looking to grant their robotic minions varying degrees of autonomy. The decisions made concerning the future employment of such systems are driving today's policymaking and research / development efforts.
by B.K. Schaefer | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:44am | 2 comments
COIN strategy in the Philippines has focused on tactical, reactionary successes against insurgent groups, and failed to build the appropriate political and economic capacity to effectively address the grievances of the local population. Without a coordinated, multi-faceted COIN strategy, incidents of violence will continue to occur on Mindanao as the population drifts further away from government control and into the influence of insurgent organizations.
by Jon Cederquist, by Anne Gibbon, by Richard Lum | Mon, 09/17/2018 - 12:32am | 3 comments
Special operations forces (SOF) will once again find itself out ahead of others, operating in ambiguity and uncertainty as the world’s players compete to establish new rules and new structures. One of the key challenges for SOF is that, rather than just being tactical, this time the ambiguity and uncertainty is strategic. If SOF is to continue to be effective during this time of transition, then they must rely on their collective ability to perceive weak signals and adapt more rapidly than our competitors.
by Abigail Gage | Mon, 09/17/2018 - 12:12am | 1 comment
The United States’ efforts in the GWOT have, thus far, prevented major terrorist organizations from conducting a second 9/11-style attack. Pursuing a strategy that shifts away from military engagement and towards stronger domestic policy will save trillions in taxpayer dollars, prevent future terrorist attacks, and help end the GWOT.
by Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen | Fri, 09/14/2018 - 12:21am | 1 comment
This summer, Australian Special Forces have been accused of War Crimes that have caused wide-spread outrage. However, although the accusations echo eerily close to those previously raised against British Special Forces, the responses of the two nations could not be more disparate.
by Sarwar J. Minar | Fri, 09/14/2018 - 12:14am | 3 comments
The book contributes to the conceptual development and understanding of the idea of grand strategy. Making grand strategy practically applicable remains one of the major contributions of the book. However, in trying to assist busy people to get practical benefit, the book simplified grand strategy as ‘problem solving method’ but all the objectives sought need not necessarily be problems.

Blog Posts

by Voice of America | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 12:30pm | 0 comments
The Afghan Taliban has warned the United States against meeting "fake" and "fraudulent" insurgent delegations, saying such contacts could "seriously harm any possible genuine process of dialogue." The Islamist insurgency issued the warning following media reports of meetings between American and unidentified "high-ranking" Taliban officials in Dubai and Bagram, the largest U.S.-run military base in Afghanistan.
by The Washington Post | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments
"As the chief backer of Syria’s embattled opposition, Turkey now faces a perilous task. It must disarm its rebel allies in Syria’s Idlib province, under a new agreement with Russia, and eliminate the hardcore jihadists in their midst."
by The Washington Post | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
"When Yemeni soldiers freed this whitewashed port city from the grip of al-Qaeda in 2016, it was hailed as a signal moment in the government’s effort to reunite a nation splintered by civil war. But more than two years after al-Qaeda’s retreat, Yemen’s government is still absent."
by USA Today | Sun, 09/23/2018 - 12:19am | 0 comments
"Daniel Kimmage may have one of the most daunting jobs in Washington. He’s charged with countering Russian disinformation across the globe from his perch in a small corner of the State Department. He also has to worry about distortions and meddling from Iran, China, and North Korea – along with anti-American messages from extremist terrorist groups."
by The New York Times | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:38am | 0 comments
“This week, Russia and Turkey proposed a demilitarized zone to stop a military offensive that Mr. Assad had planned against Idlib Province, the last major rebel enclave in Syria. Even a delay in the rampage would buy time for the United States to help draw up new strategies for dealing with Syria if it definitively falls under Mr. Assad’s rule.”
by The New York Times | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
“Taliban insurgents killed so many Afghan security forces in 2016, an average of 22 a day, that by the following year the Afghan and American governments decided to keep battlefield death tolls secret. It’s much worse now. The daily fatalities among Afghan soldiers and policemen were more than double that last week: roughly 57 a day.”
by Military Times | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments
"There is ample evidence that most troops are not comfortable with the general label of hero: if all are heroes, what remains to describe the truly heroic?"
by Foreign Policy | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
"A cocktail of criminality, extremism, and insurrection is sowing havoc in parts of Central and South America, sub-Saharan and North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, these conflicts are defying conventional international responses, such as formal cease-fire negotiations, peace agreements, and peacekeeping operations. And diplomats, military planners, and relief workers are unsure how best to respond."
by The Christian Science Monitor | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:08am | 0 comments
"World leaders, including President Trump, gather at the United Nations next week to tackle a host of issues. Yet no issue deserves more attention than fixing the one activity that has embodied the UN’s highest ideals over seven decades: peacekeeping. The blue-helmet soldiers and police who help keep war at bay and create space for political solutions are due for a 21st-century upgrade."
by Voice of America | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:18pm | 1 comment
"Ideology is not the main reason that some people in the conflict-ridden Arab world join extremist groups. Rather, a host of other issues, including political participation, poverty, income disparity and unemployment, push people toward violence and extremism, a panel of experts said Thursday."