Small Wars Journal


Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog.

We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

by Christopher Paul | Tue, 07/30/2013 - 8:36pm | 1 comment

The U.S. Department of Defense and supporting intellectual communities are abuzz with discussions about assessment and how it is conducted.

by Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, by Bibhu Prasad Routray | Mon, 07/29/2013 - 10:32pm | 4 comments

The inability to craft an effective national policy to deal with the surge of left-wing extremism is a subject of intense policy debate and mounting public concern in India.

by Richard A. Lindsey | Mon, 07/29/2013 - 9:53pm | 9 comments

The Arab Spring spawned a series of revolutionary movements that are unique in that they utilized social media as a means to spread information and promote agendas.

by Daniel Golebiewski | Sat, 07/27/2013 - 12:45pm | 1 comment

In the near future, in a galaxy not so far away from Planet Earth, millions will march across the battlefields, mercilessly mowing everything in their path. Unlike computers, they will be self-aware and conscious.

by Agustin E. Dominguez | Fri, 07/26/2013 - 10:07am | 0 comments

The US must shift focus away from the Global War on Terror and prepare for the complexities of the twenty-first century international security environment. 

by Wm. J. Olson | Fri, 07/26/2013 - 2:55am | 14 comments

The study of war, or peace, remains relevant.  But does the study of On War?

by Patricia Blocksome | Thu, 07/25/2013 - 3:23am | 0 comments

The development of female local national security forces are a useful tool in designing culturally appropriate security operations.

by Jeanne McDonnell | Thu, 07/25/2013 - 3:08am | 6 comments

This essay discusses warnings our top leaders ignored, the dangers of political correctness, thwarted opportunities to “know our enemy,” and ideas on changing this deadly path.

by Kevin A. Pavnica, by Karl K. Schoch | Thu, 07/25/2013 - 2:26am | 0 comments

The Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) can provide great value to their organization by developing refined geographic targets.

by Marc J. Sanborn | Wed, 07/24/2013 - 6:43am | 5 comments

US strategy must continue to include a significant element dedicated to irregular warfare to counter likely future threats and retain hard won knowledge and expertise in irregular warfare.

by Aaron Zimmer | Tue, 07/23/2013 - 1:02am | 3 comments

The issue of the Kashmir is important not because of the region itself, but because the dispute involves two nations of strategic interest to the United States.

by Chris Rawley, by Claude Berube | Mon, 07/22/2013 - 7:29am | 2 comments

The last decade has again reminded us that irregular warfare can be every bit as challenging and deadly as conventional wars, even in the maritime setting.

by David J. Katz | Sat, 07/20/2013 - 7:12pm | 2 comments

The types of information needed by the military to conduct population-centric counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan shares little in common with intelligence used for lethal targeting.

by Adam Brady | Sat, 07/20/2013 - 8:17am | 2 comments

Sustainable development is a catch phrase, found throughout our modern culture, which does not have a common definition. While these multiple meanings are acceptable within society, the military requires an unambiguous definition that can be used across services and government agencies.

by David R. Abruzzino | Thu, 07/18/2013 - 10:39pm | 2 comments

Although some theories expound truly universal principles that apply regardless of time or place, others are uniquely suited to a specific strategic context. Attempting to apply a particular theory to circumstances outside of the context for which it was developed can result in failure on the battlefield.

by Oscar Ware | Thu, 07/18/2013 - 5:31am | 2 comments

Governments are being confronted by hard realities, peace and stability can’t be sustained through the introduction of military power alone. Today’s military powers are either engaged in, or preparing for counterinsurgency operations.

by Ramey L. Wilson | Wed, 07/17/2013 - 12:13pm | 0 comments

This article is written as a letter from an insurgent commander to a sub-commander to illuminate the perspective and tools used by insurgent forces to influence and control medical NGOs.

by Edwin G. Corr, by John T. Fishel | Wed, 07/17/2013 - 2:12am | 14 comments

Thinking and Writing About COIN: A Review Essay of Fred Kaplan’s The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.

by Magdalena Defort | Tue, 07/16/2013 - 5:11pm | 1 comment

This article provides insights into the privatization of violence and the legal as well as illegal armed actors’ activities in the new wars.

by Jeff Moore | Tue, 07/16/2013 - 12:36pm | 1 comment

The war in southern Thailand that began in earnest in 2004 shows no signs of stopping. Critics of the government’s Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations abound.

by Michael J. Forsyth | Mon, 07/15/2013 - 8:47am | 5 comments

If only I could speak personally with the old master I would ask him in the first person to give me his opinion as to whether his theory could explain today’s phenomenon.

by Aries B. Rebugio | Fri, 07/12/2013 - 9:36am | 3 comments

Since the inception of the intelligence discipline, there have always been problems associated with the collection and analysis of information.  Several of these problems occur because the human mind is easily influenced.

by Iver Gabrielsen | Thu, 07/11/2013 - 1:54pm | 0 comments

This article examines Hezbollah's strategy and the evolution of their tactical performance during their insurgency in the security zone in Southern Lebanon between 1985 and 2000.

by Tom Ordeman, Jr., by Martin Myklebust | Thu, 07/11/2013 - 8:44am | 21 comments

This essay examines several COIN case studies to detail lessons and provide recommendations for both policy-makers and warfighters engaged in future conflicts of these and other comparable types.

by J. Michael "Mike" Young | Wed, 07/10/2013 - 7:27am | 6 comments

A lot of people focus on the annual budget figures of DOD.  Not many realize DOD spends just south of $1T annually because of previous year appropriations. This is like crack cocaine to Congress.

by William Sheridan Combes | Tue, 07/09/2013 - 8:00am | 79 comments

Few nations have sought to take a more comprehensive and non-violent approach to tackling violent extremism.  Authorities label these programs as countering violent extremism, and they exist in both Muslim and non-Muslim majority states.  Two such programs have gained notoriety for their effort to tackle militant Islamist extremism:  Prevention, Rehabilitation, and After Care program in Saudi Arabia and the Prevent Strategy in the UK. 

by EM Burlingame | Mon, 07/08/2013 - 5:12am | 41 comments

The United States Special Operations Command is currently reorganizing itself as it shifts from conducting kinetic warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq to conducting population-centric warfare globally.

by Jason Thomas | Fri, 07/05/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

Avoid the Charlie Wilson complex: guilt over the cries of ‘abandoning Afghanistan’ and deciding not to spend billions more of taxpayer’s money on a hop-scotch of social development programs.

by Phil Reynolds | Wed, 07/03/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

The traditional military decision making process with its locked, vertical communication processes will be too slow to be completely effective in the face of the fast pace of unfolding disasters.

by Dale C. Eikmeier | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 3:30am | 21 comments

Because we love Carl von Clausewitz and the center of gravity concept, we need to grant them a divorce- for our sake.

by Robert Tollast | Mon, 07/01/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

As Iraq appears to unravel, it is only right to continue the debate about counterinsurgency, the appropriate application of landpower, and  the expanding role of Special Operations in the US military.

by Michael C. Sevcik | Fri, 06/28/2013 - 3:30am | 4 comments

Danish philosopher Kierkegaard noted almost 200 years ago, “There are only two ways to be fooled.  One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” 

by D. Stiegman | Fri, 06/28/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

Part One of this series examined conflicts in Asia while Part Two explored Middle East conflicts. Part Three focuses on conflicts closer to home in the Western Hemisphere.

by Paul Rexton Kan | Thu, 06/27/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

The potential for this cyber war in the underworld to expand or to spill out into real world violence is high.

by John R. Deni | Wed, 06/26/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

If there is one thing the United States military has come to value over the last decade of war – perhaps the only thing – it is having interoperable coalition partners.

by Matthew W. Broaddus , by Bill McCollum | Tue, 06/25/2013 - 3:35am | 2 comments

Do you improve your organization, or detract from its success?

by James Howcroft | Tue, 06/25/2013 - 3:30am | 5 comments

While we pay lip service to ‘partnership’, the US military is still used to being the dominant player. This  ‘reality’ is changing. 

by Chris Paparone | Mon, 06/24/2013 - 3:30am | 8 comments

This essay seeks to de-literalize the word strategy—theorizing that its meaning has been morphologically displaced from an ancient Greek wartime phenomenon. 

by Ross Hertlein, by Thomas Feeney | Fri, 06/21/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

At present, for every US Soldier there is at least one 20-foot container of equipment in Afghanistan; a quantity that cannot be overemphasized as our military begins to face the challenges of retrograde in earnest.

by Ryan Scadlock | Fri, 06/21/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Despite the media hype, the Druze and Alawi communities are not likely to seek rule of minority cantons in the south or west of the country, while the Kurds are likely to retain de facto control over the northwest of Syria.

by D. Stiegman | Fri, 06/21/2013 - 3:25am | 4 comments

Part One of this series covered conflicts in Asia that the U.S. military must consider as it turns its focus toward the future. Part Two will investigate two conflicts in the Middle East.

by Joseph Cheravitch | Thu, 06/20/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

While impressive on paper, in practice the NSR is a hollow concept that will not translate into any substantial economic benefits for Central Asians, Afghans, or Pakistanis.

by James D. Fielder | Wed, 06/19/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Conventional and cyber conflict diffusion diverge on two points:  third-party intervention (escalation) and collateral damage (pathogen).  The findings raise questions regarding state neutrality, non-state actors, and authenticating attackers.

by Peter J. Munson | Tue, 06/18/2013 - 4:30am | 4 comments

Beware the lure of "credibility."

by Christopher G. Ingram | Tue, 06/18/2013 - 3:30am | 4 comments

Counterinsurgency is often a small-unit battle, with company-sized elements requiring organic intelligence capabilities to leverage information into tactical success.

by Thomas M. Williams | Mon, 06/17/2013 - 9:00am | 3 comments

Building a culture that accepts risk requires frank discussion about what words mean and how they translate into action. The Battle of Bunker Hill provides excellent fodder for any leader seeking to develop that shared understanding.

by Grant M. Martin | Mon, 06/17/2013 - 3:30am | 9 comments

Today SOF are being asked to do more than ever before and with increasingly vague and hubristic-sounding missions and concepts. New paradigms are needed.

by Dave Shunk | Fri, 06/14/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

A lesson for today’s Army and the next twenty years.

by Amin Tarzi | Fri, 06/14/2013 - 3:25am | 0 comments

If critical issues are not dealt with prior to 2014, they most likely will result in Afghanistan’s returning to a state of civil war or a highly dysfunctional state.

by D. Stiegman | Thu, 06/13/2013 - 3:35am | 4 comments

For the U.S. military to restructure and prepare for the future it must look at large formal armies that are currently using proxies to engage in small conflicts that enforce a larger agenda.