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 Michael Eliassen, by Matthew Myer | Mon, 04/22/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Interoperability is a function of leadership, hardship, and time. To quickly achieve it, focus on individual personalities, understand that everyone has value, and exercise mission command.

by Thomas M. Williams | Fri, 04/19/2013 - 3:30am | 5 comments

Good stories trump doctrine for effecting cultural change because they reach us emotionally; they inspire.  Consider America's first battle and what we can glean its many relevant lessons.

by Octavian Manea | Thu, 04/18/2013 - 3:30am | 33 comments

An interview with MIT Professor Roger D. Petersen.

by Jeremiah Foxwell | Wed, 04/17/2013 - 3:30am | 9 comments

Understanding the correlation between an insurgency’s goals and their IED design is crucial to defending against the devices and forecasting IED threats.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Tue, 04/16/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

Guerilla warfare is not an “Eastern Way of War,” it is the universal war of the weak.

by Ajay Singh, by Jai Singh | Tue, 04/16/2013 - 3:20am | 0 comments

Some US objectives remain unmet.

by Thomas Macias | Mon, 04/15/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

Chavista strategists have decided its best course of action is to run Chavez for president for a fifth time, only this time by proxy.

by Vanita Datta | Fri, 04/12/2013 - 10:04am | 5 comments

The issue of the reach of the state needs to be put into a wider focus by including women and gender issues as part of the narrative.

by Joseph J. Collins | Thu, 04/11/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

One consistently wrong—but always convenient—prediction has been the improbability of ground wars and the declining utility of ground forces.

by Nicholas Murray | Wed, 04/10/2013 - 3:30am | 13 comments

If physical success on the battlefield cannot be translated into part of a larger aim, it is largely irrelevant even if it does a great deal of physical damage to the enemy.

by Stephen L. Melton | Tue, 04/09/2013 - 3:30am | 26 comments

The “U.S. in the Lead” COIN approach usually fails where security force assistance could succeed.

by Keith Vore | Mon, 04/08/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

Deeper understanding of groupthink, its causes, and mitigation techniques should help a commander and his staff prevent it from occurring, and red teams can assist in the cause.

by Mark Munson | Fri, 04/05/2013 - 3:30am | 17 comments

Despite success at degrading Philippine terrorist networks, much of the security gains have been transitory, while the underlying socio-economic problems in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago remain.

by EM Burlingame | Thu, 04/04/2013 - 3:30am | 33 comments
As SOCOM takes on the task of addressing population-centric conflict post-Iraq/Afghanistan, it must field a new type of SOF Operator--master of the full-spectrum of the human domain and skilled at engaging all 7 elements of national power.
by Scott Sigmund Gartner | Wed, 04/03/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

Unlike other major wars the US has fought, Iraq & Afghanistan demonstrate extremely low occurrence of troops who become POW/MIA & high injury survival rates.

by Lukas Hegi , by Adrian Hänni | Tue, 04/02/2013 - 3:30am | 5 comments

The study demonstrates the naivety of a superpower that allows an alleged ally to receive billions of dollars with which Pakistan financed groups that kill American soldiers almost on a daily basis.

by Dan McCauley | Mon, 04/01/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

What happened to the sports college?

by Richard L. Russell | Fri, 03/29/2013 - 3:30am | 6 comments

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in the Middle East and South Asia spreads to the world.

by Jason B. Nicholson | Fri, 03/29/2013 - 3:25am | 3 comments

Sudan is the Sub-Saharan country that most resembles those of North Africa, with its shared religion, culture, and language. Will the Arab Spring blow south?

by Mark L. Brown, Jr. | Thu, 03/28/2013 - 3:30am | 13 comments

The Civilian Irregular Defense Group was one of Special Forces’ greatest success stories and by far the greatest example of how to fight unconventional warfare with an economy of force approach.

by Casimir C. Carey III | Wed, 03/27/2013 - 3:30am | 1 comment

Russia has integrated cyber operations into its military doctrine.

by Abdullahi Osman El-Tom | Tue, 03/26/2013 - 11:05am | 0 comments

Maintaining official armies in Africa makes little security, political or economic sense. The continent will do better without them altogether

by Chelsea Daymon | Tue, 03/26/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

The Egyptian Sinai is becoming a breakaway state.

by Ellen Klein | Mon, 03/25/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

While COIN remains the convention, to varying degrees, in post-conflict and steady-state operations, rule of law will be an essential part of the US security mission.

by Evan Munsing | Fri, 03/22/2013 - 3:30am | 10 comments

Modern American values continue to grow apart from traditional military values, changing the face of military culture. Munsing offers a few ways to adjust to societal change.

by Scott W. Ruston, by Chris Lundry, by Pauline Hope Cheong, by Daniel Bernardi | Thu, 03/21/2013 - 3:30am | 6 comments

The explosive effects of rumors in Syria and insurgenceis around the world.

by James Howcroft | Wed, 03/20/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

The trajectory of developments holds value as a guide to the challenges of the next decade and the education and training needed to meet them.

by Jeff Gilmore | Tue, 03/19/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Constraint, imagination, and collaboration can produce meaningful innovations.

by Christopher Wilkerson | Tue, 03/19/2013 - 3:25am | 1 comment

Do the terrain and the friendly and enemy situations allow stability operations at the village or district level?

by Chris Miller | Mon, 03/18/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Knowing the balance between when to exercise power and when to hold back is vital to maintaining America’s strength.

by Luke Falkenburg | Fri, 03/15/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

The only long-term solution to end the LRA’s child soldiering is through a decisive victory, which requires expanded regional and international involvement.

by Nathaniel Rosenblatt, by Robert Tollast | Thu, 03/14/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Regardless of whether Britain and France arm the rebels, Syria faces more challenges than Assad’s rule. An interview with Nathaniel Rosenblatt from Caerus Ascociates by Robert Tollast.


by Alixe Turner, by Christopher Alexander | Wed, 03/13/2013 - 4:30am | 0 comments

The provision of both financial and development programs in the northern territories of Mali is an effective way to deter vulnerable groups from adhering to AQ ideology.

by Douglas S. Wilbur | Wed, 03/13/2013 - 4:25am | 2 comments

Successful information operations (IO) often require effective inter-cultural communications in order to inform and influence foreign audiences.

by Robert M. Kerr | Tue, 03/12/2013 - 4:30am | 2 comments

The realities of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan necessitated “just-in-time” cultural training that focused heavily on the “do’s and don’ts.” A more deliberate approach is warranted in Asia.

by Rob Rouleau, by Andrew G. Attar, Jr. | Tue, 03/12/2013 - 4:25am | 10 comments

Making IPB an “entire staff” process is critically important to achieve shared understanding of the various mission variables. 

by Dan McCauley | Mon, 03/11/2013 - 4:30am | 4 comments

Paul was an independent thinker, uninterested in unifomity of behavior in others. His thinking and practice were contextual—shaped by and for each new situation

by Robert R. Greene Sands | Fri, 03/08/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

A proof of concept for an integrated language and culture learning program.

by Alexis Leanna Henshaw | Thu, 03/07/2013 - 3:30am | 4 comments

Women are acting as combatants in approximately one-third of present-day armed insurgencies. Are there lessons for the US military?

by David Segalini | Wed, 03/06/2013 - 3:30am | 6 comments

The CIA should focus on gathering intelligence to inform policy makers and to attack the underlying causes and enablers of terrorist group formation and action.

by Octavian Manea | Tue, 03/05/2013 - 3:30am | 23 comments

When Afghanistan failed, then COIN was seen as having failed too, having proved itself too risky, too time-consuming to justify its extraordinary investment in lives and treasure.

by Mark Jacobsen | Mon, 03/04/2013 - 3:30am | 5 comments

This article proposes a positive vision for how disruptive junior officers and established senior officers should advance the discussion about improving their services.

by John Catherine | Fri, 03/01/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

West German law enforcement used combinations of intelligence analysis and HUMINT collection while simultaneously engaging and disrupting the Red Army Faction.

by David Sterman | Thu, 02/28/2013 - 3:30am | 3 comments

Under certain conditions, supporting rebels can achieve strategic objectives without causing instability or humanitarian catastrophe.

by Raymond Miller | Wed, 02/27/2013 - 3:30am | 2 comments

Miller traces the history of conflict resolution and negotiation during the four Tuareg rebellions in Mali, focusing primarily on the role of ideology.

by David Rodman | Tue, 02/26/2013 - 3:30am | 0 comments

Israel’s defenses against rockets and ballistic missiles provide important strategic benefits to the state, and they may change the face of Middle Eastern warfare in the future.

by Douglas A. Borer, by Joshua Thiel | Mon, 02/25/2013 - 3:30am | 11 comments

If the coalition consolidates on major bases along the ring road and attempts a Soviet-style hub and spoke concept, the result will be the same: defeat. 

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Fri, 02/22/2013 - 4:12am | 1 comment

Those interested in Vietnam, the mechanics of secret peace talks, and the national decision making of several countries will find this an important and historic work.

by Yasir Kuoti | Fri, 02/22/2013 - 3:25am | 2 comments

As someone who was born and lived in Iraq, I witnessed much of what Dr. Sassoon describes and believe that his analysis is profound and accurate.

by Bradley E. Weisz | Thu, 02/21/2013 - 3:30am | 36 comments

From 13-14 May 2010, the COIN shura took place in Kabul aboard Camp Julien, the COIN Academy in Afghanistan to refocus the Surge's forces on COIN.