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 Benjamin Kohlmann | Thu, 04/05/2012 - 5:36am | 99 comments

Disruptive thinkers: the way to reinvigorate a senseless bureaucracy or a threat to the establishment? 

by Frank Hoffman | Wed, 04/04/2012 - 6:12am | 1 comment

Frank Hoffman reviews David E. Johnson's Hard Fighting: Israel in Lebanon and Gaza.

by David Oclander | Tue, 04/03/2012 - 5:49am | 9 comments

Former battalion commander LTC David Oclander provides a valuable experience in taking responsibility in another culture.

by Matt Ince | Mon, 04/02/2012 - 5:57am | 0 comments

Thirty years ago, on 2 April 1982, Argentine forces occupied the Falkland Islands.  Matt Ince looks at the issues that still brew there.

by Daniel R. DePetris | Sat, 03/31/2012 - 8:29am | 3 comments

By taking the fight to his opponents in the western frontier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hopes to preempt significant resistance from encroaching in the capital.

by Stephen McGlinchey, by Jamsheed K. Choksy | Fri, 03/30/2012 - 7:56am | 1 comment

The present mimics the past, more dangerously, as we take a look back at the Shah's nuclear ambitions in Iran.

by Dan McCauley | Thu, 03/29/2012 - 5:59am | 5 comments

Dan McCauley argues that the unimaginative 2012 Strategic Defense Guidance calls for some creative thinking.

by Dale C. Eikmeier | Wed, 03/28/2012 - 5:54am | 1 comment

It isn't either - or.  How the center of gravity fits into the design process.

by Seth A. Shreckengast | Tue, 03/27/2012 - 5:39am | 5 comments

Seth A. Shreckengast examines the successes of village stability operations and the Afghan Local Police program.

by Srdja Popovic, by Octavian Manea | Mon, 03/26/2012 - 5:50am | 0 comments

Regular contributor Octavian Manea interviews Srdja Popovic, Serbian non-violent activist, on strategies of non-violent resistance.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Sun, 03/25/2012 - 9:03am | 4 comments

A Sunday look at the boat types of the Persian Gulf.

by J.R. Bullington | Fri, 03/23/2012 - 10:00am | 21 comments

Ambassador J.R. Bullington, once a foreign service officer serving in the CORDS program in Vietnam, argues that we won the counterinsurgency war in Vietnam.  Harry Summers, where are you?

by Mark Munson | Thu, 03/22/2012 - 6:57am | 1 comment

Mark Munson considers the NYPD's intelligence program and finds it lacking.

by Octavian Manea, by Erica Chenoweth | Wed, 03/21/2012 - 6:36am | 3 comments

Regular contributor Octavian Manea offers an interview with Dr. Erica Chenoweth on civil resistance, or civilian operations short of insurgency.

by Richard Outzen | Tue, 03/20/2012 - 6:26am | 31 comments

COL Rich Outzen makes a plea for a transformational approach to promoting language skills in the force.  Is it possible to turn the failure around?

by Lawrence Cline | Sun, 03/18/2012 - 10:17pm | 1 comment

Lawrence Cline looks at the complexity of armed actors in internal conflicts and advises against getting too caught up in typologies.

by Andrew G. Attar, Jr. | Fri, 03/16/2012 - 12:00pm | 1 comment

Andrew Attar considers how operational design can improve success in Phase IV stability operations.

by Kip Whittington | Thu, 03/15/2012 - 5:30am | 4 comments

Kip Whittington asks if Lebanese Hezbollah will attack Israel if hostilities break out with Iran.

by Robert Sharp, by Fahad Malaikah | Wed, 03/14/2012 - 6:01am | 3 comments

Robert Sharp and Fahad Malaikah explore the critical partnership between the U.S. and Yemen amidst the recent election and continuing Al Qaeda attacks.

by Jason Thomas | Tue, 03/13/2012 - 12:56pm | 23 comments

Jason Thomas explores the romance of COIN theory and where it has gotten us in Afghanistan, suggesting instead we follow the less romantic, more focused "hedgehog concept."

by Grant M. Martin | Mon, 03/12/2012 - 6:02am | 24 comments

Grant Martin offers his thoughts on the rewrite of FM 3-24 and more realistic and sustainable COIN efforts.

by Butch Bracknell | Sun, 03/11/2012 - 12:38pm | 3 comments

In a timely offering, Butch Bracknell considers the implications of Quran burning and other slights in Afghanistan, real or perceived, to find that perception is what matters.

by Guillermo Vázquez del Mercado Almada | Fri, 03/09/2012 - 6:10am | 3 comments

Guillermo Almada offers part three of his series on how to reduce violence in Mexico.

by Caleb S. Cage | Thu, 03/08/2012 - 6:06am | 1 comment

Caleb S. Cage takes on the memoirs of the four most powerful officials of the Bush Administration.

by Guillermo Vázquez del Mercado Almada | Wed, 03/07/2012 - 6:03am | 0 comments

Guillermo Almada offers the second in his three-part series on reducing violence in Mexico.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein, by David Trandberg | Tue, 03/06/2012 - 8:04am | 1 comment

Youssef Aboul-Enein and David Trandberg take a look back into Libyan history to examine Arab insurgency tactics.

by Guillermo Vázquez del Mercado Almada | Mon, 03/05/2012 - 6:13am | 4 comments

In the first of a three part series, Guillermo Vázquez del Mercado Almada describes organized crime in Mexico and lays a basis for his "five Ps" proposal to reduce violence there.

by Christopher Bassford | Sat, 03/03/2012 - 11:26am | 33 comments

Christopher Bassford offers a saucy counterpoint to the Cordesman suggestion that we continue to muddle through in Afghanistan.

by Alfred H. Paddock, Jr. | Fri, 03/02/2012 - 5:06am | 10 comments

Al Paddock explores the divorce between active and reserve component psychological operations units.

by Youssef Aboul-Enein | Thu, 03/01/2012 - 4:33pm | 2 comments

Youssef Aboul-Enein offers a timely review of John Calvert's book on Sayyid Qutb.

by Cameron Graham | Wed, 02/29/2012 - 6:17am | 0 comments

Cameron Graham provides us with a peek at what is in Pandora's Box in the Middle East.

by Brian Tivnan, by Sarah Mulutzie, by Matthew Koehler, by Zoe Henscheid, by Jessica Glicken Turnley | Tue, 02/28/2012 - 5:41am | 13 comments

The authors set forth a counterinsurgency model that focuses on socio-cultural structural relationships and dynamics of the local population, providing insights into how to target interactions with them.

by Sergio Miller | Mon, 02/27/2012 - 5:57am | 5 comments

Sergio Miller offers and important and interesting look at armed nation building in Vietnam and Afghanistan; a look that does not leave one with much optimism.

by Rebecca Zimmerman | Sun, 02/26/2012 - 7:27pm | 14 comments

In the wake of the withdrawal of advisors from Afghan ministries, Rebecca Zimmerman argues that drawdown in Afghanistan is a chance to get the strategy right, but only if it is a drawdown in manpower, not in willpower

by Peter Matulich | Fri, 02/24/2012 - 7:17am | 7 comments

Peter Matulich argues for a more comprehensive approach to COIN in Pakistan.

by M. Shands Pickett | Thu, 02/23/2012 - 7:10am | 5 comments

M. Shands Pickett suggests that we aim for greater stability in Afghanistan by co-opting the Afghan Taleban and breaking down the walls between GIRoA and Afghan Taleban shadow governance.

by Jonathan Smith | Wed, 02/22/2012 - 8:03am | 2 comments

Jonathan Smith considers the impact of night raids on counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan.

by Lincoln S. Farish | Tue, 02/21/2012 - 9:27am | 19 comments

Fourth Generation Warfare advocates propose a tactical shift in how operations are conducted to defeat an insurgency. This paper explains why, from a legitimacy standpoint, 4GW will lead to a strategic failure.

by Jack Midgley | Mon, 02/20/2012 - 8:08am | 23 comments

Jack Midgley considers how the Army should prepare itself to accomplish partner nation capability-building missions.

by Daniel R. DePetris | Sun, 02/19/2012 - 8:50am | 3 comments

With the UN Security Council closed for business, the international community is clamoring for a way to increase the costs on President Bashar al-Assad.  Here are some of the options that western and Arab diplomats are looking at.

by Robert Sharp, by Fahad Malaikah | Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:27am | 0 comments

As Yemen faces presidential elections on February 21, for which only one candidate is standing, Robert Sharp and Fahad Malaikah ponder what is next for the country.

by Michael V. Rienzi | Fri, 02/17/2012 - 6:16am | 16 comments

Michael V. Rienzi lays out possible Iranian responses to a U.S. attack.

by Richard L. Dixon, Jr. | Thu, 02/16/2012 - 9:25am | 3 comments

Richard Dixon provides a much needed look at the issue of suicide and military leadership.

by David Glaser | Wed, 02/15/2012 - 6:13am | 8 comments

COL David Glaser lays out suggestions for selecting and properly training the right people to serve as advisors to senior foreign officials.

by Joseph J. Collins | Tue, 02/14/2012 - 5:47am | 6 comments

Joseph Collins reviews All In and finds that it lives up to the man that it is about.

by Lionel Beehner | Mon, 02/13/2012 - 8:38pm | 3 comments

Lionel Beehner explores the paradox behind terming a conflict a civil war, with an eye to events in Syria.

by Adam Elkus, by John P. Sullivan | Mon, 02/13/2012 - 6:13am | 0 comments

Stemming from the Occupy and Indignados movements, as well as the London riots, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus look at the complex disorder of riots, their types, and the challenges they present.

by Dan McCauley | Sat, 02/11/2012 - 8:11am | 13 comments

Dan McCauley urges us to consider strategic thinking and apply it in considering our complex problems.

by Alex Verschoor-Kirss | Fri, 02/10/2012 - 2:31am | 8 comments

Alex Verschoor-Kirss provides an interesting look at a case of cultural insurgency: the Estonian Forest Brothers movement.

by Adam Ahmad | Thu, 02/09/2012 - 11:04am | 3 comments

Adam Ahmad evaluates the prospect of Bashir al-Assad's survival in Syria.