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 Scott Swanson | Fri, 10/05/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

The “Red” element can enhance analytical products, challenge critical planning outcomes, scrutinize the viability of source reporting, and assess potential attacks or responses. 

by Joost Hiltermann, by Robert Tollast | Thu, 10/04/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

The subject of Israel’s relations with Iraq does not make for headline news. If Israel attacks Iran, that could quickly change...

by Sterling Jensen, by Robert Sharp | Wed, 10/03/2012 - 6:30am | 1 comment

As some try to connect the dots of recent events, is there an Iranian role in what appears to be Stage 2 of the Arab Spring?

by Grant M. Martin | Wed, 10/03/2012 - 5:30am | 24 comments

One of the reasons, if not THE reason, that we struggled to accomplish our objectives in Afghanistan is that we applied an industrial-era approach to the way we conceptualize planning and operations.

by Peter Garretson | Tue, 10/02/2012 - 5:30am | 5 comments

In assessing our “lessons learned” it is vital that the service look forward and not just retrospectively so it does not learn the wrong lessons. 

by Jason Thomas | Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:35am | 16 comments

Multi-national corporations--particularly from the extractive sector with long project life cycles, access to capital, and attractive return on investment--could act as a new phase in civil-military operations.

by Daniel R. DePetris | Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:30am | 0 comments

The Syrian regime’s use of shelling and aircraft are now being complimented with wholesale executions in rebel-controlled neighborhoods.

by Nelson E. Hernández | Fri, 09/28/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

Water scarcity is an increasingly dangerous problem in the USCENTCOM AOR.

by Erik Goepner | Thu, 09/27/2012 - 5:30am | 23 comments

The prevalence of PTSD and mental disorders in weak and failed states is exacerbated by insurgencies, defying efforts break the cycle.

by William L. Greenberg | Wed, 09/26/2012 - 5:30am | 7 comments

Pershing's leadership attributes and willingness to understand and work through the Moro culture achieved success in a complex operational environment.

by Landon Shroder | Tue, 09/25/2012 - 5:30am | 5 comments

Without international intervention, Syria will continue to slip into deeper sectarianism, which is the worst case scenario for Iraq.

by Leo Wyszynski, by Mike Simmering | Mon, 09/24/2012 - 5:30am | 6 comments

“Afghan Led” is a critical aspect of our counterinsurgency operations that we must grasp to enable ultimate mission success.

by Jesse Sloman | Fri, 09/21/2012 - 6:30am | 8 comments

The uniformed analytic community largely lacks institutional expertise and struggles to provide commanders with meaningful intelligence products.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Thu, 09/20/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

A scathing and scholarly critique of the impact of De-Ba’athification on the America’s efforts to stabilize Iraq. 

by Steve Griffin | Wed, 09/19/2012 - 5:30am | 23 comments

Further thought is required if this concept is going to succeed in the future.

by Tom Pike | Tue, 09/18/2012 - 5:30am | 14 comments

Historians often turn wars and battles into linear sequences outlining casual chains for which the mind has a natural bias.

by Pete Turner, by Jeff Stewart, by Richard Ledet | Mon, 09/17/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

Transition can’t simply be, “We are leaving...good luck.”

by Mehar Omar Khan | Fri, 09/14/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

The barbarians have come and the rules of war and peace stand transformed.

by Gregory Conti, by John Nelson, by Jacob Cox, by Jon Brickey | Thu, 09/13/2012 - 5:30am | 7 comments

Cyber warfare isn’t hype; it’s real.  

by Andrew Chadwick | Wed, 09/12/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

 “We’ve won the war,” General Dan Halutz boasted.

by Andrew Chadwick | Tue, 09/11/2012 - 5:30am | 4 comments

What began as an Israeli air campaign rapidly evolved into an extensive ground war of bloody house-to-house battles that the Israelis were ill prepared to wage. 

by Jason B. Nicholson | Mon, 09/10/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

Iranian inroads in Africa present a potential new front in the Iranian-US cold war.

by Richard Weitz, by Robert Tollast | Fri, 09/07/2012 - 5:30am | 2 comments

An autocratic Iraq will probably be happier doing more business with China and Russia. But the idea of a Sino-Russian strategy in the Middle East is far from simple.

by John R. Deni | Fri, 09/07/2012 - 5:00am | 1 comment

Using security cooperation to prevent, shape ... and win.

by EM Burlingame | Thu, 09/06/2012 - 5:30am | 56 comments

Implementing a provocative idea.

by G. Scott Alamanach Mikalauskis | Wed, 09/05/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

The conventional approach taken by most aid programs has been a counterproductive disaster.

by Marwan Noman, by Robert Sharp | Tue, 09/04/2012 - 8:47pm | 0 comments

Looking to Plan Colombia to create a Plan Yemen.

by Ben Zweibelson | Tue, 09/04/2012 - 5:30am | 65 comments

Or how to shatter organizational stagnation and identify critical tensions preventing creative thinking and improvisation.

by Michael Cummings and Eric Cummings | Fri, 08/31/2012 - 5:30am | 25 comments

The authors lay out the “courses of action” available to Iran at sea, air, ground, in other countries and by conducting terrorism around the globe.

by Butch Bracknell | Thu, 08/30/2012 - 5:45am | 11 comments

The killing of this (unprivileged, unlawful) combatant enjoyed ample legal authority under both international and domestic law, and is, as a matter of law and policy, uncontroversial.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Thu, 08/30/2012 - 5:30am | 0 comments

A look inside the increasingly pivotal nation.

by Robert Sharp, by Sterling Jensen | Wed, 08/29/2012 - 5:35am | 1 comment

Lebanon has a political system, security force, and national memory to weather the current storm. 

by Sylvia Longmire | Wed, 08/29/2012 - 5:30am | 0 comments

Guadalajara could lose its protected status among drug lords and become the next epicenter for drug-related violence.

by Thomas Doherty | Tue, 08/28/2012 - 11:27am | 21 comments

Developed to streamline and expedite the orders process, the CONOP has forced leaders to expend time, effort and energy to push the CONOP through the approval process from the lowest to the highest levels; time that should be spent on mission planning. 

by Ajay Singh, by Jai Singh | Tue, 08/28/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

A look at the war and how the administrations have prosecuted it.

by Garrett Wood | Mon, 08/27/2012 - 5:30am | 6 comments

There is a danger in the empirical mode of reasoning that it will lead us to think of a thousand locals or twenty counterinsurgents as homogenous units of human being. 

by The Ellis Group | Mon, 08/27/2012 - 3:57am | 16 comments

America’s maritime and amphibious capabilities are pivotal to the nation’s future ability to deter and defeat adversaries, strengthen alliances, deny enemies sanctuary and project global influence.

by Robert Tollast, by David Forsythe | Thu, 08/23/2012 - 8:21pm | 3 comments

As the US Treasury imposes sanctions on an Iraqi bank, what defines our relationship with friendly autocracies?

by Niels Klingenberg Vistisen | Thu, 08/23/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

Could a conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan lead to tactical nuclear weapon use?

by Louis H. Smith IV, MS | Wed, 08/22/2012 - 5:30am | 2 comments

Life-saving training for deploying forces.

by Frank Hoffman | Tue, 08/21/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

An edited volume by Williamson Murray and Peter Mansoor.

by Barry Zellen | Mon, 08/20/2012 - 5:30am | 5 comments

The post-Westphalian world must understand the pre-Westphalian one.

by Bob Couture | Fri, 08/17/2012 - 5:30am | 1 comment

Observing how the Afghans develop intelligence and seek creative means to support their operations is vital to Afghans owning the security.

by Alexander Ghaleb | Thu, 08/16/2012 - 5:30am | 2 comments

The current US/EU two-track policy on Iran, which includes the imposition of an oil embargo, is not sufficient to break the current nuclear stalemate.

by Barry Zellen | Wed, 08/15/2012 - 5:30am | 3 comments

As we begin to imagine a post-Long War era, a renewed appreciation of the fundamental building blocks of world order is required.

by Howard Campbell, by Tobin Hansen | Tue, 08/14/2012 - 6:22am | 3 comments

This dialogue between anthropologists Howard Campbell and Tobin Hansen explores the relationship between violence, politics, and terrorism in Mexico’s narco-conflict.

by August Cole | Tue, 08/14/2012 - 5:30am | 2 comments

After more than a decade of overseas operations since Sept. 11, 2001, there is a needed moment of reassessment as to how to equip, train and even fund the military.

by Dan McCauley | Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:35pm | 0 comments

To facilitate operational success and to provide clarity for Service members, Joint Force leaders must have clear codes of conduct developed for their organizations.

by Wm. J. Olson | Sat, 08/11/2012 - 2:06pm | 6 comments

Much of the discussion of a ‘military takeover’ is the phantasmagoria of the radical fringe that sees conspiracies and plots everywhere.  This fever-swamp mentality makes it possible to lose sight of the slow-motion trend that does exist and is undermining civilian control of the military.

by Grant M. Martin | Thu, 08/09/2012 - 6:03pm | 54 comments


Will we “learn” the same lessons we learned after Vietnam again? (…and, by the way, what were those lessons?)