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"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

Small Wars Journal publishes original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders in small wars. We also link you to relevant goings on elsewhere.  Login with your SWJ Username to comment, or Register, it's free. You can start your own threads in the Small Wars Council discussion board, but note that the board requires a separate Council Username. Follow SWJ on Twitter @smallwars.

Journal

by Paul Schneider | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 9:06pm | 0 comments
Currently over 50% of our best and brightest Special Forces Captains are leaving the Army and the shadow of huge morale issues continues to haunt the Special Forces Regiment.  Many factors are considered as to why: including intense deployment schedules, no deployment potential, stress on families, limited command opportunities once promoted, and the promise of a more lucrative civilian career.  Each of those reasons have traditionally had merit, but a glaring deficiency underpinning this is a flawed system that manifests itself in how we select and promote Special Forces (SF) officers.
by Philip Wasielewski | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 8:11pm | 0 comments
Modern Russian statecraft does not diverge from how Moscow has traditionally pursued its foreign policy goals. The use of extraterritorial assassinations, the 2007 Bronze Night incident in Estonia, and the 2014 invasion of Ukraine provide ample evidence that Russian use of coercive statecraft is part of a long-standing grand strategy to protect itself by dividing the West.
by Daniel J. O’Connor | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 4:52pm | 0 comments
       The topic of mission command has become a common topic in American military thought recently.  Due to the generally increasing velocity of modern combat and the constant need to evolve methods, it is a fitting time to reexamine historical examples in an effort to better plan future doctrine.  During the early days of the Eastern Front in World War II, the Nazi Army made a bold push for Moscow aiming for the complete destruction of the Soviet military.  The Soviets, through a series of serious blows and defeats nearly witnessed a complete collapse before the Nazi aggression.  While the Red Army eventually was able to go on the offensive and the war was won by the Allies, this view of the period as an unequivocal Soviet victory is problematic.  Arguably the Soviets survived due to, among other things, actions outside their control.  Even more perplexingly, they survived, in large part, due to their ability to sacrifice huge tracts of territory and quantities of manpower to buy time.  However, this does not diminish the fact that the Soviet Union had to “make extraordinary, inordinate efforts to stop the victorious advance of the Wehrmacht.”
by Alan Kelly | Wed, 01/19/2022 - 8:29pm | 0 comments
Why are bad guys so good at spreading disinformation and good guys so bad at stopping it? Through the lens of a patented and tested framework, the Taxonomy of Influence Strategies, the author illustrates how policies and practices of response do more to accelerate than slow the deceptive and mistaken messages hostile actors sow. This essay is recommended reading for practitioners of strategic communications, public diplomacy, information operations, psyops and related fields of influence management.
by Tom Johansmeyer | Wed, 01/19/2022 - 8:22pm | 0 comments
When there’s a natural disaster, according to conventional wisdom, civil unrest is likely to follow. That line of thinking is as seductive as it is intuitive. However, there isn’t much data to support it. The occasional half-hearted inquiry forced by the lack of empirical evidence generally leaves you as unsatisfied as your first self-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. The notion that natural disaster increases the risk of civil unrest taps into the dark sense that people will revert to survival instincts when the norm is threatened. When it comes to non-terror political violence following natural catastrophes, though, the historical experience just isn’t there. The occasional instance of it is an anomaly at best – and a debatable one at that – with almost no foundation of 70 years of catastrophe data.
by R. Evan Ellis | Fri, 01/14/2022 - 4:38am | 0 comments
The predictable triumph by Maduro loyalists in Venezuela’s rigged November 2021 elections was a symbolic nail in the coffin for the attempt by the de jure government of Juan Guaido to restore the more liberal type of democracy previously prevailing in the country. Venezuela now seems to ever more resemble Cuba, with an authoritarian government in control for the long haul. Yet while Venezuela is unlikely to return to democratic governance anytime soon, parallels to Cuba conceal the complex dynamic between regime figures, external state actors, and criminal and terrorist groups that is shaping the country’s future.
by Francisco Sollano Jr | Tue, 01/11/2022 - 5:22pm | 1 comment
This article is a mixed methods research study on Genaro García Luna—former head of Mexican Federal law enforcement—and his ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and other Mexican officials involved in the criminal organization from 2003 to 2008. This study thus explores the role and influence of corrupt Mexican officials that allowed for a secure and efficient illegal trafficking of drugs inside Mexico and into the United States. It should be noted that, not all individuals found in this Social Network Analysis (SNA) are assumed to be guilty or have been proven so via conviction in a court of law. The presumption of innocence is an important concept that applies to the actors discussed here.
by Mahmut Cengiz | Mon, 01/10/2022 - 2:57pm | 1 comment
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan at the end of August 2021—an event precipitated by the withdrawal of all remaining US troops in the country—questions about the Taliban’s ability to target the Western world and fears that Afghanistan would become a haven for al-Qaeda arose immediately in the minds of many government officials and non-government observers. Such concerns were well-grounded. This article analyzes the capacity of ISIS and al-Qaeda in terms of operational and organizational capabilities, use of violence, geographical expansion, and ideological inspiration for lone actors to determine which group—ISIS or al-Qaeda—is the greater threat to global security.
by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, by Jorge A. Pérez González | Mon, 01/03/2022 - 1:20pm | 1 comment
Field Report from Tamaulipas: English language version of "Informe de campo: Seguridad en Tamaulipas Hoy: Una Paz Simulada." Since 2010, the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas has been in a state of high-intensity armed conflict. Earlier that year, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas—who at one point worked together—began a brutal confrontation that led to levels of violence never before seen in the state. In the framework of the Mérida Initiative and the ‘war on drugs’ declared by former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006–2012), the extreme conflict between two violent organized crime groups—which had militarized their strategies, diversified their operations and had access to high-caliber weaponry-intensified with the entry of federal forces into the state.
by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, by Jorge A. Pérez González | Fri, 12/31/2021 - 5:44pm | 0 comments
Field Report from Tamaulipas in Spanish: Desde el año 2010, el estado fronterizo mexicano de Tamaulipas se ha mantenido en una situación de conflicto armado de alta intensidad. A principios de ese año, el Cartel del Golfo y los Zetas—quienes en algún momento trabajaron de forma conjunta—comenzaron una brutal confrontación que desencadenó en niveles de violencia nunca antes vistos en la entidad. En el marco de la Iniciativa Mérida y la “guerra contra las drogas” declarada por el expresidente Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006-2012), el conflicto extremo entre dos violentos grupos del crimen organizado—que habían militarizado sus estrategias, diversificado sus operaciones y que tenían acceso a armamento de alto calibre—se intensificó con la entrada de las fuerzas federales al estado.

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by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 01/21/2022 - 8:56am | 0 comments

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