Small Wars Journal
  • “In the words of Adm. Chester Nimitz… nothing he encountered in the Pacific during the war was either strange or unexpected, for this campus had prepared him well.”
    -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis - 2018 Naval War College Commencement
  • “The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”
    -- General George S. Patton Jr.
  • “The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear it it's usually lousy.”
    -- General Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles, and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely his lips, follow me. Soldier, patriot, and uniter of modern Italy.”
    -- General Giuseppe Garibaldi
  • “The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
    -- General Colin Powell

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Mission Movement - Soldiers move tactically toward an objective during a training mission at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on 18 June 2018. The soldiers are assigned to the New Jersey Army National Guard’s C Troop, 1st Squadron, 102nd Cavalry Regiment. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht.

"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 Christopher Flaherty | Sat, 06/23/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
Recent trends in the use of weapons by terrorist, extremist or violent attackers points to a dynamic field of options, representing a spectrum from the highly complex to the simple weaponization of common everyday items. Rather than a linear progression from the simple to the complex, or devolution from the complex to the simple, there is an elastic set of polar options, that attackers range between.
by Nick Brunetti-Lihach | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:39am | 0 comments
History has shown successful military innovation requires leaders with vision, temperament, and conviction. A vision establishes an objective, even temperament builds a cohesive team, and conviction lends passion and patience to that end.
by Donald E. Vandergriff | Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:17pm | 0 comments
As an institution, the U.S. Army has yet to see Mission Command as what it really is - a culture of professionalism. All too often, we have sought tangible metrics at the expense of holistic understanding.
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.

Blog Posts

by Associated Press | Sun, 06/24/2018 - 4:46pm | 0 comments
"Syrian government troops advanced on rebel-held areas in the country's southwestern region amid intense clashes Saturday, state media and opposition activists said, in a widening offensive that has shattered a U.S.-backed truce."
by | Sun, 06/24/2018 - 11:15am | 0 comments
“U.S. Army leaders say the next war will be fought in mega-cities, but the service has embarked on an ambitious effort to prepare most of its combat brigades to fight, not inside, but beneath them.”
by Reuters | Sun, 06/24/2018 - 11:11am | 0 comments
"The US has warned Syrian rebels in the south-west of the country they should not expect military support to help them resist a major government offensive."
by The Washington Post | Sun, 06/24/2018 - 8:29am | 0 comments
"For three extraordinary days this month, the 17-year Afghan conflict took its first formal break, generating a spontaneous outpouring of emotion on all sides and leaving indelible images of Taliban fighters eating at ice cream stands, hugging tearful Afghan soldiers and praying alongside their longtime enemies."
by Army Times | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 6:45pm | 0 comments
"On month four of their first deployment, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade’s soldiers are sitting down with the Army’s top civilian to tell the top brass how it’s going."
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:38pm | 0 comments
"The recent fighting in Afghanistan has shown all too clearly that the Taliban was sincere in announcing in late April that it was rejecting participation in a peace progress and starting a new spring offensive. It has only had limited success so far, but has taken more districts. In spite of a brief Ramadan ceasefire, peace seems no closer now than it has at any point in the past."
by Stars & Stripes | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:29pm | 0 comments
"Taliban gunmen killed seven as they stormed an election registration site in Nimroz province Thursday, in a new round of attacks on Afghanistan’s hopes for safe elections this October following the end of a short cease-fire."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments
"U.S. and Afghan special-operations troops pushed Islamic State fighters out of the district that the militants had aspired to make the capital of their local territory, the military said."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:19am | 0 comments
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind the Afghan government’s attempts to kindle a peace process with the Taliban this week, reflecting growing international pressure to bring Afghanistan’s long war to a negotiated end."
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.”