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 Kyle Amonson | Sat, 03/31/2018 - 4:07pm | 0 comments
This essay examines the structure and role of non-governmental organizations, identifies the principles of liberal institutionalism, discusses International Committee of the Red Cross events in Afghanistan and concludes with identifying viable solutions through international response with a liberal institutionalist theoretical framework.
by James Torrence | Fri, 03/30/2018 - 12:06am | 0 comments
To develop an effective foundation for the creation of cybersecurity strategy, cyber policymakers must learn from a historical example when a new domain of warfare, rapidly evolving technology, and an environment dominated by the offense presented challenges to conventional defense.
by Erik Grossman | Thu, 03/29/2018 - 12:17am | 0 comments
This paper examines the foundations of the "Chechen model" of Russian intervention, briefly recap the much-documented American "Afghan model” and analyze how the Chechen model proved superior in a shared conflict space with competing objectives in Syria.
by Lewis Sorley | Thu, 03/29/2018 - 12:07am | 0 comments
Bing West gives us, in this timeless work, an incomparable portrait of the lower end of the spectrum, a small war indeed. The Marines, chronicled by Marine Captain Bing West in a RAND report, all volunteers, were given one simple order—control the five square miles of the village of Binh Nghia, day and night, and do it with rifles, not artillery or airpower. The costs were high.
by Nicolò Scremin | Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:54am | 0 comments
Although Italy might be currently safer than other European societies, not only could Rome turn into a prime target in the short/medium term; evidence also suggests that, in the long term, the risk of experiencing more serious dynamics of radicalisation is not minimal.
by Bryan Baker | Wed, 03/28/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
Some might argue that these successes of the ultra-rich have trickled down to the middle and working classes; the data simply does not support such notions. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz finds that from 2005 to 2015 the income of the ultra-rich increased by eighteen percent, while the middle class saw slight declines in income and men with high school degrees experienced precipitous falls in income.
by Aaron Farley | Tue, 03/27/2018 - 6:03pm | 1 comment
This is the second in a series of “Small Wars Journal” reviews of Bing West’s military classic “The Village”.
by Stuart Vanweele, by Ralph Tillinghast | Tue, 03/27/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments
Article two of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.
by Michael Goodyear | Mon, 03/26/2018 - 8:55pm | 0 comments
Perhaps the most apt description of the factions in the Syrian war can be taken from pop culture: “They're all just spokes on a wheel. This ones on top, then that ones on top and on and on it spins crushing those on the ground.”
by Jeremy D. McLain | Mon, 03/26/2018 - 1:16am | 0 comments
Article one of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.
by Adam Klus | Sun, 03/25/2018 - 10:33am | 0 comments
In this paper, nine threat categories are discussed through the prism of a unified analytical framework. This discussion forms the central element of the paper’s analysis focusing on expanding the boundaries of the threat landscape.
by Timothy Grebos, by Thomas McAvoy, by Jonathan Gerson, by John Hughes | Sun, 03/25/2018 - 1:54am | 7 comments
From the United States’ perspective as the stronger force in recent conflicts, and typically fighting on foreign soil, Time is a critical vulnerability. For US forces fighting abroad, the shorter the duration of the conflict, the more likely the result will be decisive victory.
by Asim Yousafzai | Sat, 03/24/2018 - 12:55am | 0 comments
Manzoor Pashteen is a genuine voice for peace and his demands are constitutional; suppressing him and his movement would result in more chaos in the region. Peace in Afghanistan is ultimately related to peace in FATA, the sooner Pakistani and US authorities realize this, the better.
by Carter F. Smith, by Joshua Harms | Fri, 03/23/2018 - 8:28am | 0 comments
Military-trained gang members (MTGMs) have been identified in every wartime period for the United States—from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts. MTGMs in the military threaten the cohesiveness of military units and undermine the authority of military leadership.
by Christopher Flaherty | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 5:18pm | 0 comments
A defining feature of the marauder is that it operates outside of the rules and conventions that govern. This feature makes the marauder ubiquitous, giving it a capacity to easily outwit and overwhelm its conventional opposition.
by Peter K. Forster, by Thomas Hader | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:20am | 0 comments
Vast amounts of research exist on why the individual or small group might join a violent organization and travel to a conflict zone, but little exists on how the receiving organizations recruit, vet, and facilitate the foreign fighter process.
by Christopher Solomon | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 3:20pm | 0 comments
Fifty years ago, an armed confrontation between Israel, Jordan, and Palestinian guerillas created a new phase of Middle East diplomacy and conflicts. What does the battle’s legacy tell us about Jordan and its place the troubled region today?
by Nicholas A. Keipper | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 3:22am | 2 comments
While the US Army has an exceptional force to win the nation’s wars, it lacks the ability to stabilize areas after conflict abates.
by Donald C. Bolduc | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:25am | 0 comments
Army leadership needs to admit to itself it has a trust and honesty problem. These problems can be directly attributed to inadequate leadership engagement, poor talent management, requirement overload, and a lack of moral courage.
by Brenda A. Oppel, by David M. Gohlich, by John D. Dietz | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 12:17am | 1 comment
We propose that the United States recognize North Korea as a nuclear power, make it blatantly clear that this an unacceptable end state, and provide nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan that are jointly maintained, but still owned by the United States.
by Kyle Amonson | Sat, 03/17/2018 - 8:51pm | 1 comment
This essay defines war in the international and historical sense, then analyzes human nature’s role in conflict, followed by human nature’s projection on the nation state and finally concludes with the most frequent manifestations of conflict and conclusion.
by Sidharth Kaushal | Sat, 03/17/2018 - 6:23am | 0 comments
The successful application of prospect theory to insurgent behavior demonstrates that the selection of a strategy by an insurgent is not exogenously given, as much counterinsurgency presumes as a starting point, but is open to being shaped by the counterinsurgent state.
by Mark T. Peters | Thu, 03/15/2018 - 7:21pm | 0 comments
Suffering from triple digit inflation, rampaging price increases, severe medicine and food shortages, a 50% drop in national petroleum revenues as well as an authoritarian, corrupt government focused on regime survival guiding the ship, Venezuela requires significant course corrections.
by Bradley L. Rees | Thu, 03/15/2018 - 2:12am | 2 comments
This article explores the progression of Western, and specifically United States, military thinking and warfighting philosophies. It centers on the utility of information, information warfare, and information in war; the operational framework and battlefield geometry by which military forces are employed; and posits that a new conceptual construct is required to better frame contemporary and more importantly future warfare.
by Robert Bunker | Tue, 03/13/2018 - 12:55pm | 2 comments
This research guide has been created for Small Wars Journal readers to aid in their understanding of the plutocratic insurgency construct and explain how it is related to the earlier criminal insurgency construct which has been the focus of numerous El Centro works over the last decade.
by Mallory H. Walton | Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:30am | 0 comments
For girls, and women in particular, education can be a source of empowerment and they can serve as a catalyst for societies emerging after decades of civil unrest.
by Robert Zager, by John Zager | Sun, 03/11/2018 - 3:42pm | 0 comments
In this paper the authors review the Cyber Threat Framework and propose an extension to the Cyber Threat Framework which integrates cyber threats with cyber defenses.
by Doyle Quiggle | Sat, 03/10/2018 - 7:44pm | 0 comments
The first Small Wars Journal review of seven on this classic of the war in Vietnam.
by Alan M. Hammons | Fri, 03/09/2018 - 12:44am | 0 comments
If JPG leaders follow the general rules for fact and assumption development, they are likely to create valuable and relevant facts and assumptions faster and with less wasted effort.
by Greg Kleponis | Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:30am | 3 comments

Temporareality is a strange military internal sub-culture that I have personally observed for over 16 years in 4 post 9-11 deployments.

by Robert Bunker | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:56pm | 0 comments

The intent of the work is to develop a theory and philosophy behind the narco-killings taking place in contemporary Mexico.

by Howard R. Simkin | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 9:52am | 0 comments

Article two of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Patrick Blannin | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:34am | 0 comments

Confidence building measures rely on four key components: Reputation, Status, Transparency & Trust. In theory, when RTS2 combine to establish sustainable CBMs, regional conflicts can be prevented.

by Lyle D. Burgoon | Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments

The deployment of automated weapons systems poses significant ethical challenges, especially jus in bello.

by Kyle Amonson | Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:29am | 0 comments

One key purpose of this study is to analyze and assess how Daesh’s actions as a non-state actor either supported or hindered their goals of establishing a religious caliphate.

by Sunny Petzinger | Mon, 03/05/2018 - 1:57am | 2 comments

A nexus of policy guidance meant to protect the defense industry, reduce weapons proliferation and improve financial accountability has hamstrung ANDSF materiel procurement.

by Ralph Tillinghast | Mon, 03/05/2018 - 12:06am | 0 comments

Article one of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Ronald D. Walck, by Fred E. Martin Jr. | Sun, 03/04/2018 - 1:21am | 0 comments

The increased proliferation of information collection technologies is becoming a threat to the Army’s Mission Command Philosophy.

by Matthew Martin | Sat, 03/03/2018 - 1:42am | 0 comments

A key to potentially improving influence efforts may be found in economics, in a concept called Consumption Theory.

by Suat Cubukcu | Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:32am | 0 comments

Erdogan has instigated an irregular and Iranian-like militia structure that helps him control streets, inflict oppression and carry out covert operations against dissident political groups.

by Alfred C. Crane III | Fri, 03/02/2018 - 8:08pm | 0 comments

The latest article in the Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Doyle Quiggle | Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments

Since the end of the Barre era, no Somali leader or group of leaders has managed to de-clan the Somali National Army, which is why it remains dysfunctional today.

by Anant Mishra | Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:51pm | 0 comments

Intelligence agencies in Afghanistan are failing to collect high-value information that could be beneficial to Afghan’s domestic security.

by George Galdorisi | Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:58pm | 0 comments

The types of unmanned systems the Department of the Navy should acquire are those systems that directly support naval expeditionary forces that must conduct forcible entry operations.

by Conor McCormick-Cavanagh | Wed, 02/28/2018 - 2:08pm | 0 comments

The U.S. military resumed its counterterrorism mission in the Philippines in September 2017. This new operation comes on the heels of the rise of ISIS-linked groups.

by Erik Goepner | Tue, 02/27/2018 - 9:38am | 3 comments

I argue that the war endures, in large part, because national security policy makers, military operators, and think tank scholars have embraced several false assumptions.

by Michael Trumbo | Tue, 02/27/2018 - 8:02am | 0 comments

Article three of three in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Malcolm Beith | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 7:59pm | 0 comments

N’Dala was 37-years-old when he died on Jan. 2, 2014 in an ambush. He had earned the trust and respect of his fellow soldiers, UN troops and the Congolese population.

by Lydia Kostopoulos | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 5:59pm | 0 comments

Article two of three in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Hamid Lellou | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:07am | 1 comment

Northern Mali has been living in perpetual and unfulfilled postwar reconstruction phases due to repeated unsuccessful national reconciliations.