Small Wars Journal

Blog Posts

SWJ Blog is a multi-author blog publishing news and commentary on the various goings on across the broad community of practice.  We gladly accept guest posts from serious voices in the community.

by Voice of America | Sat, 04/14/2018 - 12:39am | 0 comments
President Trump announced Friday night “a combined operation” by the U.S., France and Britain against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, aimed at ending his government’s use of chemical weapons. As Trump spoke from the White House, explosions lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital. The assault is now over. Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and a huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east. Syrian television said the attacks targeted a scientific research center in Barzeh, near Damascus, and an army depot near Homs.
by DoD News | Fri, 04/13/2018 - 4:02pm | 1 comment
If a nation wants to challenge the United States conventionally, that nation will lose. So, nations won’t challenge America conventionally, but look for asymmetric ways to do so, DoD’s most-senior civilian and military leaders said to the House Armed Services Committee yesterday. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke about the problems caused by “gray zone” warfare.
| Thu, 04/12/2018 - 9:24pm | 0 comments
"Britain, France and the U.S. united Thursday around broad plans for a military strike against Syria as they worked to bridge differences over the scope and purpose of a coordinated response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, U.S. officials said. President Donald Trump met with his national security team to weigh military options while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sought to limit the impact of an expected attack by moving warplanes under the protection of Russian air defenses."
by The New York Times | Thu, 04/12/2018 - 8:58pm | 0 comments
"Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought on Thursday to slow down an imminent strike on Syria, reflecting mounting concerns at the Pentagon that a concerted bombing campaign could escalate into a wider conflict between Russia, Iran and the West. During a closed-door White House meeting, officials said Mr. Mattis pushed for more evidence of President Bashar al-Assad’s role in a suspected chemical attack last weekend that would assure the world that military action was necessary."
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:31am | 0 comments
German Marshall Fund of the United States Report by Oytun Orhan - "Changes in the U.S. administration will largely determine the cooperation between the United States and Turkey in Syria. Mike Pompeo, who will soon replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and John Bolton, Trump’s latest pick for national security advisor, both prioritize the containment of Iran, and both hold similar views to the Pentagon in acting unilaterally rather than using the means of diplomacy in foreign policy."
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:28am | 0 comments
Part of the Small Wars Journal anthology series, Hammer of the Caliphate is a continuation of previous works on the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and their affiliate groups. The anthology title is a play on words related to the fifteenth-century treatise Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of the Witches").
by CNN News | Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:13am | 0 comments
"Not a building in Eastern Ghouta has emerged unscathed after six years of war. The people who remained have carved out livable space within the destruction. Along the side of a road, a boy sat on a burnt barrel atop a mound of debris. Two toddlers played inside a blown-up truck. A barber went about his business inside his ravaged shop. CNN visited the shattered suburb last week in the company of the Syrian military and saw the vestiges of the Damascus suburb's double life, above and below ground."
by Military Times | Wed, 04/11/2018 - 5:53pm | 0 comments
"Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales on Wednesday unveiled some of the early work being done on a task force that was years in the making but only under Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has received the heft of funding and resolve to get moving."
by Stars & Stripes | Wed, 04/11/2018 - 2:00pm | 0 comments
"A key U.S. senator is pressing the Army to set aside one of its new Security Forces Assistant Brigades for missions in Africa, which are now being carried out by a mix of rotating units. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a letter Monday to Army leadership that U.S. Africa Command would benefit from having a more reliable unit to tap for its expanding advisory mission on the continent."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 04/11/2018 - 7:06am | 0 comments
"President Trump last week ordered National Guard troops to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico. The president is eager to show supporters that he is fulfilling his campaign pledge to eliminate illegal immigration, but he will soon find that using the National Guard this way won’t be easy—and may not do much to solve the problem. Unless acting under the authority of a state governor, the troops the president sends to the border will be restricted to observing and reporting violations."
by Breaking Defense | Wed, 04/11/2018 - 5:58am | 0 comments
"'Battle' is very tactical," said another participant approvingly. "We've got to have a cultural shift." We need to recognize we're in conflict right now with great power adversaries, even if we're not shooting at each other.
by Voice of America | Tue, 04/10/2018 - 6:00pm | 0 comments
The United States on Tuesday consulted with allies in preparation for possible expanded military action in Syria following the latest suspected deadly chemical weapons attack on a Syrian rebel-held village. "We are looking for a coordinated response, whatever that response might be," said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert about possible U.S. military action in Syria. President Donald Trump has warned those responsible will pay a "big price" for Saturday's attack in eastern Ghouta that killed at least 40 people.
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 04/10/2018 - 2:48pm | 0 comments
"The U.S. is reducing the presence of American commandos on Africa’s front lines, a move U.S. officers believe will make troops less vulnerable to the type of militant attack that left four U.S. soldiers dead in this West African country last fall. American Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine special operators serving as advisers to African forces will largely stay closer to the rear, working from command centers and battalion headquarters, rather than accompanying African troops on hazardous operations against militant groups."
by Hal Kempfer | Tue, 04/10/2018 - 12:14am | 0 comments
On April 7th, the Syrians again used chemical weapons against their people, with dozens killed, potentially 70 or more. Many were innocent children, yet again. Israel has put down a marker, by striking first at a Syrian airfield, now the United States must act. Whatever we do in Syria has to gauged on several levels. We don’t want to do something that would help ISIS nor help Al Qaeda affiliates from gaining ground or advantage. The Russians are deeply embedded with the Syrians, so whatever we do militarily will likely cost Russian lives.
by The Washington Post | Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:15pm | 0 comments
"The U.S. military said Monday that it has killed the senior leader of an Islamic State enclave in northern Afghanistan, highlighting an evolving fight that expanded more than a year ago after the militant left the Taliban in a dispute."
by Military Times | Mon, 04/09/2018 - 12:20pm | 0 comments
"Cyber attacks soon will destroy infrastructure and kill people. And that might be what it takes for policy leaders to prepare for what’s coming, experts said. A panel of four experts from military, finance, cyber and strategy laid out frightening scenarios at the New America Future of War conference Monday that are not far-off possibilities but things that are happening now."
by RAND Corporation | Mon, 04/09/2018 - 7:14am | 3 comments
Continue on for a summary and a link to this newly released RAND Corporation report by Linda Robinson, Austin Long, Kimberly Jackson and Rebeca Orrie. This report examines major U.S. decisions related to the development or employment of special operations forces. The purpose of the report is to analyze how change has previously occurred in Army, Joint, and U.S. Department of Defense policy regarding SOF to inform future development of options for policymakers and to better articulate the ways in which the varied Army Special Operations Forces capabilities can help to meet U.S. national security objectives.
by The Wall Street Journal | Sun, 04/08/2018 - 7:22pm | 0 comments
"President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser enters the White House this week facing an immediate test in developing a response to a suspected chemical-weapons attack in Syria that has killed dozens. John Bolton, who has served as American ambassador to the United Nations, State Department official under two presidents, and a Fox News commentator, is known for advocating muscular military responses to advance U.S. interests and will play a key role in helping Mr. Trump decide whether to strike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."
by SWJ Editors | Sun, 04/08/2018 - 3:17pm | 0 comments
Via Arab News - "As Iraqi forces battled Daesh, former general Abdel Karim Khalaf came to a sad realization - they were fighting against some of his former army comrades. The tactics Daesh terrorists used - from the way they dug tunnels to their construction of defenses - were lifted straight from the manual of the old Iraqi armed forces under dictator Saddam Hussein."
by Voice of America | Sun, 04/08/2018 - 10:01am | 0 comments
“The grass-roots call for peace by some residents that began as a sit-in in Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province is gathering momentum and spreading to other provinces of the country… A group of young local men began a sit-in at the capital of the province and demanded an end to violence. Later, women joined the sit-in and urged the warring sides to end the vicious cycle of violence that has been tearing through the nation.”
by Reuters | Sat, 04/07/2018 - 7:24pm | 0 comments
"Japan on Saturday activated its first marine unit since World War Two trained to counter invaders occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo fears are vulnerable to attack by China."
by The Jamestown Foundation | Sat, 04/07/2018 - 10:54am | 0 comments
Continue on for links to all the latest articles in the most recent edition of The Jamestown Foundation's "Terrorism Monitor".
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 04/07/2018 - 9:12am | 0 comments
Continue on for a 6 April official statement by outgoing National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.
by The Washington Post | Sat, 04/07/2018 - 8:35am | 0 comments
"The Pentagon’s mission against the Islamic State in Syria remains open-ended despite President Trump’s promise of a quick U.S. withdrawal. Military leaders are focusing on pushing the once-powerful group out of the small foothold it controls in eastern Syria and ensuring that it cannot plot attacks against the United States, a task defense officials have suggested will require a U.S. footprint after the fighting stops."
by USA Today | Fri, 04/06/2018 - 11:06pm | 0 comments
"American and international strategy towards the horrific conflict in Syria is at a crossroads. ISIS has been largely defeated militarily on the physical battlefield. The top goal of both President Obama and President Trump has been partially achieved, through a strategy they both helped develop and implement. The temptation for Americans in general, and the Trump administration specifically, may be to declare victory and go home — as in fact Trump has just signaled he would like to do, as soon as possible."