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 Alma Keshavarz | Sat, 10/21/2017 - 7:45pm | 0 comments

"A Military History of the Modern Middle East" represents a new offering by James Brian McNabb.

by Robert Zager, by John Zager | Sat, 10/21/2017 - 1:33am | 0 comments

In this article we combine Colonel John Boyd’s Observe/Orient/Decide/Act Loop with the NSA Methodology for Adversary Obstruction to create a new cyber‑defense model.

by Christopher Keith Johnson | Fri, 10/20/2017 - 3:13am | 0 comments

Nigeria remains a fragile state fighting what many believe is a misguided war on terror to hold itself together as a republic.

by John Bolton | Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:39am | 0 comments

In Afghanistan Americans seemed determined to validate F. Scott Fitzgerald's aphorism that American lives have no second act.

by J. Overton | Thu, 10/19/2017 - 7:52am | 0 comments

While the concept and terminology of the Gray Zone is new, the geo-political situation it described is not, and the US military does have experience operating within them.

by U.S. Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative | Thu, 10/19/2017 - 5:03am | 0 comments

1 December deadline - continue on for information on the latest Mad Scientist call for ideas.

by Spyridon Plakoudas | Wed, 10/18/2017 - 4:58am | 0 comments

Hanna Bohman and Joanna Palani. What do a former model from Canada and a politics student from Denmark have in common?

by Christopher Elliott | Wed, 10/18/2017 - 12:18am | 0 comments

Despite the attempts of many to simulate the future using game theory et al, one less-considered variable is missing from the equation. Primatology.

by Michael Clyne | Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:15am | 0 comments

Opportunity might reside in the administration’s focus on security, where non-traditional strategy could still address foreign extremism.

by Casey W. Wilander | Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:20am | 0 comments

Cocaine and illicit-timber trade are linked by their profitability, industrial proximity, and smuggling convenience.

by Robert E. Smith | Sun, 10/15/2017 - 2:50pm | 1 comment

Here is the latest from the US Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Project - "Serious sport is war minus the shooting".

by Sam Bocetta | Sun, 10/15/2017 - 2:54am | 0 comments

I recently wrote a short history of body armor article for Small Wars Journal. Here, I deal with the other side of the story and take you through the history of ammunition for small arms.

by Albert Palazzo | Sat, 10/14/2017 - 12:25pm | 4 comments

The U.S. needs something that can do more than just fight and win battles.  MDB is a start, but something far more ambitious is needed.

by Andrew D. McNaughton | Sat, 10/14/2017 - 2:12am | 1 comment

For many years after the withdrawal, it appeared that the so-called ‘Reagan Offensive’ in its political pressure and provision of arms to Afghan rebels was the overwhelming factor.

by David Zelaya | Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:02pm | 0 comments

Fighting the urge for unnecessary control is a difficult addiction to break. It requires trust not commonly seen, especially when outcomes are unknown.

by Assad Raza | Thu, 10/12/2017 - 9:13pm | 0 comments

In the age of accelerated globalization and its toll exacted on conflict, USSOCOM should prioritize conflict prevention activities to achieve US national security objectives.

by Edgardo Buscaglia | Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:33pm | 0 comments

SWJ-El Centro - An Economic-Jurimetric Analysis of Asset Forfeitures and Human Rights

by James King | Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:30pm | 0 comments

This reading list is comprised of recommendations from members of the INTELST forum, a group of almost 4000 current and former Military Intelligence professionals.

by David S. Maxwell | Tue, 10/03/2017 - 1:43pm | 39 comments

A cyber underground, organized around special operations principles can create a nationwide and global network that will seek out, identify, understand, and expose active measures and propaganda.

by David S. Maxwell | Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:11am | 1 comment

23 years of halfhearted efforts to prevent north Korea from developing nuclear weapons has resulted in six nuclear tests and an intercontinental ballistic missile capability.

by Sam Bocetta | Mon, 10/02/2017 - 6:14am | 0 comments

Today, I’m going to look at an untold story, tracing the development of body armor and some other types of protective gear from the early 20th Century to today.

by Ken Segelhorst | Mon, 10/02/2017 - 2:56am | 0 comments

The US Air Force requires an inexpensive, light air support aircraft as a practical and cost-effective means of providing air support for IW in low air threat environments.

by Grant M. Martin | Sat, 09/30/2017 - 1:20am | 0 comments

This is a synopsis of a chapter I wrote in the newly released book, "Mission Command: The Who, What, Where, When and Why: An Anthology".

by Hamzeh Hadad, by Brandon L. Wallace | Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:15pm | 0 comments

As a non-state partner of the U.S., it is important to recognize the fragility and divisions within the KRG defense structure and to recognize the growing risk for intra-state conflict within the Kurdish Region.

by Antonio Garcia | Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:42am | 0 comments

The point of departure of this paper is that the UN has not defined offensive operations, and specified what this means in practice.

by Keith Nightingale | Wed, 09/27/2017 - 7:47pm | 0 comments

Walls are physical and mental.  Grunts know them both. Walls can be reduced by time or the physics of destruction. It depends upon the nature of the wall and the person behind it.

by Juan Ricardo Gómez Hecht | Wed, 09/27/2017 - 8:51am | 0 comments

This article was originally published in Spanish as 'Las Pandillas en El Salvador: ¿Un Nuevo Tipo de Insurgencia?' at 'Small Wars Journal'-El Centro on 4 September 2017.

by Ian Kippen | Tue, 09/26/2017 - 8:48am | 0 comments

If we have our decisive conditions wrong, we will construct the wrong effects and wrong measurements.  It doesn’t matter how good our actions may be.

by Andreas Hedenstrom, by Marius Kristiansen | Mon, 09/25/2017 - 8:35am | 0 comments

This article presents potential Military Assistance concepts of operations in support of specific security policy objectives, and proposes feasible new concepts in MA operations.

by Marta Kepe, by Jan Osburg | Sun, 09/24/2017 - 9:51am | 8 comments

As small countries with little strategic depth and limited human and economic resources, the Baltic states are increasingly adopting a “total defense” approach to national security.

by Christopher Keith Johnson | Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:55pm | 0 comments

On Carl von Clausewitz: What is less spoken of is his study of small wars and people’s war.

by Robert Bunker, by Marisa Mendoza | Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:21pm | 0 comments

The sniper rifle has become a preferred weapon for cartels since a round can penetrate walls, steel, and the sides of unarmored and even moderately armored vehicles.

by Thomas R. McCabe | Thu, 09/21/2017 - 4:38am | 0 comments

ISIS has ambitious plans for continuing to stage attacks around the world. As part of this, we must consider the danger of ISIS organizing a terrorist underground in the West.


by Ian M. Sullivan, by Russell W. Glenn | Wed, 09/20/2017 - 6:37am | 0 comments

One of the authors of this article previously proposed an alternative definition that recognizes the need to consider more than fires and movement alone.

by Patricia DeGennaro | Tue, 09/19/2017 - 10:34am | 2 comments

If I have learned anything in my long career of service to my country, it is that there are many fights that can be better fought non-lethally than lethally.

by Peter Popella, by Daniel Koehler | Tue, 09/19/2017 - 8:22am | 0 comments

CBRN based terror attacks by the far-right have become a serious threat scenario. One of the key counter-measures is early detection of plots during the phase of preparation.

by PRISM - Center for Complex Operations | Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:54pm | 0 comments

General David Petraeus - Interview by Dr. Joseph Collins and Mr. Nathan White - CCO PRISM

by Stuart Murray, by Patrick Blannin | Mon, 09/18/2017 - 7:57am | 1 comment

It’s an appropriate time to reflect upon the role of diplomacy in the War on Terror through the years of the Bush and Obama administrations.

by Morgan Smiley | Sat, 09/16/2017 - 3:00pm | 4 comments

A reduced U.S. military footprint around the world coupled with an increase in state and non-state threats has forced us to reconsider our strategy and posture.

by Thomas Petersen, by Randy Hughes, by Darrel Choat, by Christina Bembenek | Sat, 09/16/2017 - 12:07pm | 0 comments

The current military-focused strategy is insufficient. ISAF advisers’ efforts alone cannot overcome the powerful dynamics ready to tear the proud Iraqi force apart.

by David Murphy | Fri, 09/15/2017 - 12:37pm | 2 comments

NATO needs to deploy more SF units specifically trained to counter the deployment of Russian airborne, Spetsnaz and “little green men” as part of its potential countermeasures.

by Brian J. Hancock | Wed, 09/13/2017 - 12:37pm | 1 comment

When employed correctly Military Information Support Operations  as a force multiplier enjoys unparalleled capability to shape, and ultimately win, the hearts and minds of the populace.

by Jonathan K. Zartman | Wed, 09/13/2017 - 10:12am | 0 comments

The author has written an extraordinarily thorough and richly descriptive argument, with a variety of supporting themes.

by Real Clear Defense | Wed, 09/13/2017 - 9:57am | 0 comments

“Pakistan is the source of the stalemate, not the scapegoat for it.”

by Haley Allen, by James Sisco | Tue, 09/12/2017 - 7:50pm | 0 comments

The removal of presidents, prime ministers, and top executives is the result of rapidly evolving demographics, shifting cultural attitudes, and social media

by Peter David | Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:27am | 0 comments

This article describes the results of a statistical analysis of the entire corpus of Mad Scientist SciFi stories to identify common themes that emerge when all stories are considered together.

by Carlton G. Haelig | Sat, 09/09/2017 - 1:10pm | 0 comments

The LTTE’s focus on conventional military operations proved to be their ultimate downfall.

by Paul W. Taylor | Sat, 09/09/2017 - 1:52am | 1 comment

A complex proxy war between Iran and the US/Saudi coalition. Iran directly supports the Houthis and via its proxy Hezbollah. The US provides support to Saudi Arabia in its operations in Yemen.

by Pikria Saliashvili | Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:02am | 1 comment

Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" mimics Eric Maria Remarque’s "All Quiet on the Western Front" matter-of-fact depiction of war, down to a boot.

by Steven Maguire | Thu, 09/07/2017 - 6:37pm | 2 comments

Overt Russian aggression and uncertainty in the Middle East has left many questioning the role NATO plays in securing peace and deterring aggression.