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 Carey W. Walker, by Matthew J. Bonnot | Fri, 07/14/2017 - 1:33pm | 0 comments

The U.S. Army places great emphasis on the importance of judgment, but does little to explain the concept.

by K. Selçuk Candan, by Shade T. Shutters, by Christian Fortunato | Fri, 07/14/2017 - 6:27am | 0 comments

TRADOC Mad Scientist Project: Megacities - or more generally Dense Urban Areas - will emerge at the epicenter of future events necessitating military intervention.

by Octavian Manea | Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:10am | 7 comments

SWJ interview with Thomas Wright, author of “All Measures Short of War: The Contest For The 21st Century & The Future Of American Power”.

by Joelle Thorpe, by Kimberly Girling, by Alain Auger | Thu, 07/13/2017 - 8:59am | 1 comment

TRADOC Mad Scientist Project: The intent of this paper is to present a sample of emerging human enhancement technologies that may contribute to soldier resilience.

by Paul Maxwell, by Andrew Hall, by Daniel Bennett | Wed, 07/12/2017 - 4:02pm | 0 comments

TRADOC Mad Scientist Project: Besides the physical properties of urban terrain, the density of pervasive, networked sensors creates opportunities and challenges for military operations.

by Robert Bunker, by Pamela Ligouri Bunker | Wed, 07/12/2017 - 12:25pm | 0 comments

These new urban residences of a transnational plutonomy began to be completed in 2014 and are now spreading to key nodal global city hubs.

by Sam Bocetta | Wed, 07/12/2017 - 10:18am | 4 comments

The history of this iconic American weapon, from its inception in 1959 to the present day.

by Matthew J. Bonnot, by Carey W. Walker | Tue, 07/11/2017 - 6:42pm | 0 comments

The U.S. Army places great emphasis on the importance of judgment, but does little to explain the concept. 

by Barnett S. Koven | Sun, 07/09/2017 - 7:24am | 0 comments

While many rejoice the arrival of spring, Afghans know that this season ushers in a considerable increase in fighting. Or at least it used to.

by Tara Mooney, by Andrew Byers | Sun, 07/09/2017 - 5:39am | 0 comments

ISIS’s cyber efforts have paid off; the FBI told Congress in July 2016 that “the message of radicalization spreads faster than we imagined just a few years ago.

by Luz E. Nagle | Sat, 07/08/2017 - 2:08am | 0 comments

What are some of the most pressing transborder crime issues facing LatAm with regards to armed conflict; how does corruption sustain domestic and transnational organizations and groups?

by Mike Matson | Fri, 07/07/2017 - 6:42am | 0 comments

TRADOC Mad Scientist Project: The cyberspace domain of the future will most forcefully assert itself in urban areas.

by Victor R. Morris | Thu, 07/06/2017 - 6:38am | 3 comments

TRADOC Mad Scientist Project: Urban and global trends present a variety of critical factors contributing to center of gravity analysis and resilience assessments.

by John P. Sullivan | Thu, 07/06/2017 - 5:45am | 0 comments

"Al-Qaeda’s Revenge" is a thoroughly researched and well-presented case study on the evolution of the 3/11 network. 

by Russell W. Glenn | Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:06am | 0 comments

Maneuver in the sense recommended in this article involves only two fundamental elements: the application of capabilities to gain advantage with respect to one or more mission-relevant parties.

by Brenda Fiegel | Wed, 07/05/2017 - 1:34am | 0 comments

A narcotrafficking technique first used in Mexico now expands to other countries in Central and South America.

by Patrick Ryan Alban | Tue, 07/04/2017 - 9:04pm | 0 comments

While the sunset provision is highly unlikely to become law, it is a significant development in the debate over a possible AUMF specific to the fight against the Islamic State.

by Luke Preston Allison | Mon, 07/03/2017 - 1:49pm | 0 comments

An illusion persists where people seem somehow convinced that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to kill is somehow safer or better than available alternatives.

by Daniel H. McCauley | Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:47am | 2 comments

The purpose of a national security strategy is to protect and promote national values, which, in turn, must be developed into tangible national interests and objectives.

by Joseph N. Gardner | Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:20am | 0 comments

The world has a history of repeating themes, such as the collapse of states and global unrest, about every twenty years.

by Gary M. Klein | Sun, 07/02/2017 - 12:03pm | 0 comments

To succeed in complex environments, military leaders must change their leadership from a leader-centric to a more follower-centric model.

by Bruce Stanley, by Nathan A. Jennings | Sun, 07/02/2017 - 1:24am | 0 comments

Though newly arrived in Army doctrine, the concept of operational design finds precedent in American military history.

by Keith Nightingale | Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:12am | 2 comments

The cemetery at Omaha Beach is a lodestone for the human soul.  Its vast and manicured marble garden is an attractant that no pheromone can match.

by Philip Zager | Fri, 06/30/2017 - 3:01pm | 0 comments

Mirroring the structure of the book, this review highlights some oddities in acknowledgements and abbreviations before discussing Moghadam’s model of terrorist cooperation.

by Christopher Kelly | Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:05am | 0 comments

As we pause to celebrate, it seems appropriate to consider the vital role played by the American military in the creation and growth of our nation and its impact on our world.

by Ronald W. Sprang | Tue, 06/27/2017 - 8:44am | 0 comments

A critical analysis of the contributions of the DOD and USNORTHCOM can make towards defeating transnational terror organizations with a domestic U.S. presence.

by Gary Anderson | Mon, 06/26/2017 - 7:21am | 1 comment

Concerning the sorry performance of the Afghan National Army since 2012, the military and Pentagon planners need to ask themselves some hard questions.

by Mais Haddad | Mon, 06/19/2017 - 11:22pm | 0 comments

The crisis, if addressed wisely, presents a unique opportunity to advance the fight against extremist terrorist groups backed not only by Qatar, but by other countries as well.

by John Zambri | Sat, 06/17/2017 - 3:07pm | 5 comments

Development of COIN methods and application has ebbed and flowed in its effectiveness. Though many studies have been initiated, the role and impact of the peasantry has been largely overlooked.

by Bradford Burris | Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:00am | 0 comments

ISIL’s notion of a Caliphate is aligned with the concept of a community rather than of a state and strategic focus is on psychological rather than territorial control.

by Troy E. Mitchell | Thu, 06/15/2017 - 12:09pm | 17 comments

A Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest Finalist Article

by W. R. Baker | Wed, 06/14/2017 - 8:12pm | 0 comments

Continue on for a SWJ book review of “Dog Company: A True Story of American Soldiers Abandoned by Their High Command”.

by Ian M. Sullivan, by John C. Bauer, by Eric L. Berry, by Luke Shabro | Wed, 06/14/2017 - 10:06am | 5 comments

The OEs of today and the future will be marked by instability.  This instability will manifest itself in evolving geopolitics, resurgent nationalism, changing demographics, and unease.

by Victor R. Morris | Tue, 06/13/2017 - 9:51am | 30 comments

This article conducts COG analysis on the Taliban sub-system and Pashtun tribal system using revised joint doctrine and non-linear dynamical systems analysis.

by Brian C. Darling | Mon, 06/12/2017 - 4:25pm | 0 comments

This book is not an academic, historical, or scholarly work, although it does contain his personal accounts of his involvement in the 2012 attacks on the US Special Mission in Benghazi.

by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Mon, 06/12/2017 - 2:46pm | 0 comments

Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 22: Spiritual Appropriation of San Judas Tadeo and Santo Niño de Atocha—Criminal Petitions and Santo Niño Huachicolero.

by Tony Rivera, by Robert Schafer | Mon, 06/12/2017 - 1:25am | 1 comment

It is necessary to develop and deliver strategic design education, in order to bridge the gap between operational and strategic design and between SOF and civilian partners.

by Stefan J. Banach | Sun, 06/11/2017 - 11:16pm | 11 comments

The ability to generate global influence by maneuvering one civilian population against another to produce catastrophic physical effects is a significant transformational change for warfare.

by Samuel J. Ellison | Sun, 06/04/2017 - 1:48pm | 2 comments

An insurgency concerns itself with legitimacy as the opposing sides are not only competing for domination of terrain, but for the support of the populace as well.

by Morgan G. Keay | Sat, 06/03/2017 - 4:30am | 1 comment

This paper demonstrates some of the proven and potential options to optimize interagency and multi-sector collaboration in support of U.S. policy.

by Martin Wetterauer III, by Timothy Payment, by Brian Greata, by Christopher Goodyear | Fri, 06/02/2017 - 9:25am | 3 comments

Organizing elements of national power along the Threat Network Function lines of effort will best serve a joint force commander searching for an effective approach to counter threat networks.

by Allyson Christy | Fri, 06/02/2017 - 9:18am | 11 comments

One and the other, leftist ploys and rising Islamism, make use of each side for their intended manipulations, exploitations, and decisive similarities.

by Adam D.M. Svendsen | Thu, 06/01/2017 - 8:14am | 0 comments

‘Hybrid defence’ frequently can mean almost anything, and even everything-to-nothing (nothing still being something), to different participants and observers.

by Guillaume Corneau-Tremblay | Thu, 06/01/2017 - 7:59am | 0 comments

The threat coming from Western militants in Kurdish groups fighting the Islamic State has been overlooked.

by Thomas Doherty | Wed, 05/31/2017 - 10:34am | 13 comments

A continuation of SWJ article “Treating Islamic Violent Extremism as a Pandemic Super-infection”.

by Robert Murphy | Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:36am | 14 comments

One of the most essential, neglected elements of our national power remains untouched.

by Volney F. Warner | Tue, 05/30/2017 - 8:10am | 0 comments

8 May 1986 address by General Volney F. Warner at Saint Anselm College, New Hampshire. Posted here with the kind permission of General Warner.

by Randall Kaailau, by Richard V. Puglisi, by Donald C. Bolduc | Mon, 05/29/2017 - 11:30am | 0 comments

SOCAFRICA must understand and operate in the space between war and peace in a complex, volatile, uncertain and ambiguous environment - an environment of adversarial competition.

by Scott Porter | Sun, 05/28/2017 - 8:35am | 0 comments

The US must be capable of operating within an irregular war against hybrid forces, including in support of large-scale humanitarian operations to relieve suffering and prevent more refugee crises.

by Ehsan M. Ahrari | Fri, 05/26/2017 - 8:20pm | 7 comments

Perhaps after hard-hitting briefings from Mattis and McMaster, Trump finally realized Obama’s decision to remain in Afghanistan was both realistic and necessary.