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 Charles A. Krohn | Sun, 01/01/2012 - 7:29pm | 6 comments

The Troops Need Napalm and Flamethrowers

by Lincoln S. Farish | Sun, 01/01/2012 - 7:00am | 8 comments

A response to Shane Bilsborough's Counterlawfare in Counterinsurgency

by David S. Maxwell | Sun, 01/01/2012 - 5:50am | 13 comments

In times of austerity, the military's best investment is in its people: education, selection, and promotion of talent.

by John W. Jones | Fri, 12/30/2011 - 6:26pm | 31 comments

Regardless of what the current US administration and Senior Military Officers claim, we lost the peace in Iraq.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Wed, 12/28/2011 - 4:49am | 0 comments

Many areas of interest to the United States today were former Ottoman dominions like Egypt, Iraq, Syria, even Libya.  Understanding the mechanics of this former empire is crucial to comprehending the nuances of the region.

by Brad Freden | Tue, 12/27/2011 - 6:10am | 42 comments

A counterinsurgency strategy based on the now-famous Field Manual 3-24, written under the auspices of then-LTGs David Petraeus and James Mattis in 2006, is inappropriate for Mexico. 

by James Khalil | Mon, 12/26/2011 - 5:53am | 0 comments

Opinion polls in Afghanistan cover issues as diverse as the legitimacy of the Karzai regime, the use of suicide attacks, the appropriateness of female education, and the adequacy of the health systems.

by Stan Wiechnik | Sun, 12/25/2011 - 4:32am | 30 comments

The lack of guidance regarding how to identify which form of legitimacy a population recognizes and what steps need to be taken to alter a population’s perceptions is a glaring problem

by Edward Cox | Fri, 12/23/2011 - 6:22am | 9 comments

Recent budget debates have featured emotional discussions about reforming the military retirement system. This is not a new phenomenon; there have been more than a dozen official studies on reforming military retirement since 1948.

by Adam Elkus | Wed, 12/21/2011 - 5:03pm | 0 comments

Drones and special forces get the headlines, but pundits have missed a more fundamental shift in the nature and direction of American national security policy.

by Octavian Manea | Tue, 12/20/2011 - 5:36pm | 12 comments

Bing West, John Nagl, Mark Moyar, Thomas Mockaitis, Christopher Paul, Douglas Ollivant, Gian Gentile, and David Anderson share their views

by Damon Armeni | Fri, 12/16/2011 - 5:42am | 15 comments

For Whom will the American Military Fight if our Governmental System is Challenged?

by Morgan Smiley | Thu, 12/15/2011 - 3:47pm | 7 comments

Dust off the plans from 2009, Here is a "Way" to Organize for the Transition Mission

by James Khalil | Thu, 12/15/2011 - 6:19am | 2 comments

Is there really anything new under the sun?

by Shane Bilsborough | Wed, 12/14/2011 - 5:31am | 0 comments

International legal institutions, media outlets, human rights NGO’s should be leveraged to the US advantage as part of a focused and coherent counterlawfare strategy.

by Geoffrey Demarest | Tue, 12/13/2011 - 4:44pm | 0 comments

The book is not doctrine.  It invites those interested in influencing the outcome of ‘internal’ armed conflicts to weave together ideology, politics, methodology, intelligence practices, operations, and strategy as seamlessly as possible

by Sean P. Walsh, by Brian M. Michelson | Mon, 12/12/2011 - 6:54am | 3 comments

Should we continue to embrace the status quo, we will jeopardize our ability to achieve the aims of our current National Security Strategy

by Jon Custis | Thu, 12/08/2011 - 12:17pm | 4 comments

Retired Indian General and Small Wars Council extraordinaire Ray visits to talk all things India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

by Varun Vira | Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:12pm | 0 comments

Targeting Maoist-affected areas with increased funding and attention is probably good policy, but it is likely not an overstatement to say anti-Maoist success will correlate significantly with India’s progress in caring for its poorest peoples.

by Ivan Welch | Wed, 12/07/2011 - 8:24am | 9 comments

The government of India has proclaimed this Naxalite – Maoist movement to be the greatest threat to national security. This may become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

by Geoffrey Demarest | Wed, 12/07/2011 - 7:08am | 3 comments

Spanish translation of Urban Land Use by Illegal Armed Groups in Medellin

by John M. Gillette | Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:09am | 2 comments

We collect lessons learned, but do we learn from the lessons collected?

by Robert Tollast | Mon, 12/05/2011 - 10:05am | 1 comment

Can Soft Power Take The Lead In Iraq?

by Dennis J. Castellanos | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 8:08am | 0 comments

A review of Sylvia Longmire's work on Cartels

by Jon Custis | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 7:39am | 4 comments

We are woefully under-trained.  The troops can absorb and do far more than we tend to credit them.  Our training is mostly designed to be easy on the trainers and to produce metrics

by Daniel S. Avondoglio | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 7:25am | 0 comments

Perspective from the Tactical Level of Operations

by Jeff Johnson | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 7:16am | 2 comments

Truth to Power with Information Operations in Khost Province

by Matthew P. Dearing | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 7:04am | 0 comments

Examing small wars in Indonesia, East Timor, Sudan, and Kenya to see what lessons apply to Afghanistan

by Tony Corn | Tue, 11/29/2011 - 9:32am | 5 comments

The Realpolitik behind the European Financial Crisis

by Sheila Medeiros, by Traci Swanson | Sun, 11/20/2011 - 8:34am | 73 comments

Have FST and CSTs teams pushed the limits of the female exclusion in combat policy?  Is it time to adjust the policy?

by Rose Lopez Keravuori | Thu, 11/17/2011 - 9:17am | 9 comments

Has there ever been an American way of war or simply a tactical way of battle?

by Arda Bilgen | Thu, 11/17/2011 - 7:27am | 4 comments

Author compares and contrasts On Guerilla Warfare and The Accidental Guerilla

by Dan McCauley | Wed, 11/16/2011 - 12:53pm | 12 comments

This essay proposes integrating elements of design thinking into the Mission Analysis and COA Development steps of the JOPP to develop the variety of options that the POTUS and SECDEF require in a complex and dynamic environment

by Octavian Manea | Wed, 11/16/2011 - 9:54am | 1 comment

From Classic Conventional Deterrence to a “Lloyd’s of London” Posture

by Grant M. Martin | Thu, 11/10/2011 - 7:12pm | 9 comments

Population-centric COIN should only mean you understand the people—not that you necessarily do anything for them.

by Sebastian L. v. Gorka | Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:17pm | 11 comments

Testimony on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

by Howard Taylor, by Thomas Cook, by James Caroland, by Greg Conti | Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:04pm | 2 comments

A thorough guide for cyberwar practitioners

by David M. Hollis | Thu, 11/10/2011 - 9:16am | 2 comments

A synchronized national approach leveraging the Defense Department’s Reserve Component (RC) forces to secure the country’s critical infrastructure from growing cyber threats

by Niels Klingenberg Vistisen | Mon, 11/07/2011 - 8:37am | 1 comment

Ground Assessment of a Helmand Province Political Advisor

by Robert Bunker | Thu, 11/03/2011 - 2:02pm | 0 comments

The Growing Mexican Cartel and Vigilante War in Cyberspace: Information Offensives and Counter-Offensives by Dr. Robert J. Bunker.

by John P. Sullivan, by Adam Elkus | Thu, 11/03/2011 - 5:03am | 3 comments

Open Veins of Mexico: The Strategic Logic of Cartel Resource Extraction and Petro-Targeting by John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus.

by Bill Ardolino | Wed, 11/02/2011 - 7:13pm | 28 comments

The Obama administration's accelerated drawdown of US forces has undercut a needed infusion of forces from RC South to the Afghan east that was an unspoken second act to the US military’s 'surge' strategy for the stabilization of Afghanistan.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Tue, 11/01/2011 - 3:15pm | 0 comments

Expose of the Writings of Dr. Abdel-Raheem Muhammad Ali

by Jordan C. S. Stern | Tue, 11/01/2011 - 3:14pm | 0 comments

Marine Corps implementing lessons learned from SOCOM

by Scott R. Lewis | Tue, 11/01/2011 - 3:13pm | 0 comments

It will take an entire generation to fully reform Afghanistan.  Are the people of Afghanistan and the Coalition partners prepared for such a commitment?

by Andrew R. Feitt | Tue, 11/01/2011 - 3:12pm | 0 comments

Engaging the villages is not enough to ensure success

by Danny Pedersen | Sat, 10/29/2011 - 7:14am | 0 comments

Examining progress in the development of Afghanistan’s infrastructure from an Afghan perspective

by SWJ Editors | Sat, 10/29/2011 - 6:49am | 6 comments

Critique of recent budget cuts

by Marty Reynolds | Thu, 10/27/2011 - 7:23am | 1 comment

Why have the post 9/11 wars not had the same degree of protests as Vietnam?

by Sean R. Liedman | Tue, 10/25/2011 - 4:53pm | 4 comments

Spending an inordinate amount of resources in executing a relatively narrow segment of our national defense interests – COIN – will undermine America’s future national security.