Small Wars Journal

irregular warfare

Applying Recent Lessons from Climate Change Communication to Counter-ISIS Strategic Communication

Once we accept the fundamentally communicative purpose of terrorism, it becomes clear that strategic communication should be the preeminent tool in the counter-terrorism toolbox. The trouble is, the U.S.-led approach to counter-ISIS strategic communication is hamstrung by reliance on a flawed paradigm that I call narrative jamming. The good news is that there is a potential solution and it comes from an unlikely place: recent research on climate change communication.

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The Feet of the Masters: Lessons on Irregular Cyber Warfare SWJED Sun, 10/14/2018 - 12:19am
What lessons could strategic warfare masters tell us about 21st century insurgent cyber warfare, where superpowers could be brought low by small cells of cyber warriors with limited funding but lots of time? This article distills the wisdom of two military strategists: Chinese General and 6th century Taoist military philosopher Sun-tzu, and Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz, Prussian general and theorist of psychological and political aspects of warfare as well as revolutionary thinkers such as Mao Tse-tung, Carlos Marighella, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The Challenge of Fighting Small Wars While Trying to Adequately Prepare for Big Ones

Except for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, America has been fighting small, counterinsurgency wars since 9-11. This begs the question of whether fighting small wars inhibits or enhances our readiness to transition to large, high-intensity conflicts against peer or near peer competitors? The answer is complicated and somewhat ambiguous.

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Ending the Curse in the DRC: A Game of Thrones, Mines and Militias SWJED Thu, 09/13/2018 - 12:29am
The inherent paradox in peace creation in such a violent and corrupt environment is that it requires violence and corruption to accomplish. The levels of which both must be employed may be unconscionable in the utopic image of liberal governance, but in such conflict-ridden states, mirroring this Western image should not be the immediate objective. Instead, measures should be directed at securing a peaceful state through all means available.
Advise, Assist and Enable in Iraq: It’s a Human Thing SWJED Wed, 09/12/2018 - 12:53am
Over the fourteen months from September 2016 to November 2017, the Iraqi Security Forces wrestled their nation from the clutches of the Islamic State in some of the fiercest and most brutal urban combat experienced since World War Two. In May 2017, the Australian Special Operations Task Group Rotation VII took over the great work of previous rotations in advising, assisting and enabling the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, our primary partners.

Win Friends, Kill Enemies: An Unyielding Call for Warrior-Diplomats in Modern Warfare

The uncomfortable truth that many in modern western society do not want to face is that war, by its very nature, will kill people and break things. However, in the midst of that truth is a second truth that many seem to forget: Namely, that the United States of America, more so than any other nation, expends great resources to develop and implement the means of mitigating the effects of the first truth on noncombatants and infrastructure in the war zone. No other nation in the history of the world has so earnestly sought to conduct military operations while simultaneously striving to minimize the killing and breaking.

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Weaponizing Moral Authority in Somalia

Above all, we need to gain access to and win the trust of local Somali moral authorities who can compel limbic complicity from poorly parented Somali teenagers who seek a warrior identity. We need to weaponize local moral authority in Somali so that we can provide Somali teenagers a legitimate means by which to fulfill a culturally appropriate and sanctioned warrior compulsion. Weaponized moral authority is the best, possibly the only feasible, means to achieve a de-clanned, professional Somali Army.

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