Small Wars Journal
  • “As our Afghan partners began to understand the value of 1st SFAB advisors, they asked us for more. So our teams partnered with more and more Afghan units as the deployment progressed.”
    -- BG Scott Jackson, 1st SFAB Commander
  • “Tunnel systems and irregular urban warfare are essentially advanced methods of cover and concealment. Given that the mission of the infantry is to “locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver,” if the enemy can prevent us from locating him or closing with him, it will be nearly impossible for us to destroy him.”
    -- William Birdzell
  • “It's so damn complex. If you ever think you have the solution to this, you're wrong and you're dangerous.”
    -- Lieutenant General (Ret.) H.R. McMaster
  • “Strategic pioneers who create theories, concepts, and other intellectual tools for use by doers have been scarcer than hen’s teeth throughout human history. Sun Tzu, Mahan, Liddell Hart, Herman Kahn, and Bernard Brodie, the world’s first nuclear strategist, are prominent exceptions. Lenin, Mao, Giap, Billy Mitchell, and a handful of others who practiced what they preach, remain even rarer.”
    -- Colonel (Ret.) John Collins, The Warlord Emeritus
  • “So, I’m going to give you a proposed solution,” Zinni told the group. “I’m going to say we need to create an interagency command” to manage America’s response to complex or “hybrid” security crises. “I hate to use that word, ‘command,’ because I don’t mean it to be military.”
    -- General (Ret.) Anthony Zinni

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement



New and now available at Amazon - Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities provides a foundation for understanding urban operations and sustaining urban warfare research. This Small Wars Journal (SWJ) Anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict. In addition to essays originally published at SWJ it adds new content including an introduction by the editors, a preface on “Blood and Concrete” by David Kilcullen, a foreword "Urban Warfare Studies" by John Spencer, a postscript “Cities in the Crossfire: The Rise of Urban Violence” by Margarita Konaev, and an afterword “Urban Operations: Meeting Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Improving the Approach” by Russell W. Glenn. These essays frame the discussion found in the collection’s remaining 49 chapters. Blood and Concrete continues the legacy of Small Was Journal's coverage of urban operations, conflict and combat. - Dave Dilegge, Robert J. Bunker, John P. Sullivan, and Alma Keshavarz, Editors.



Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alexander Segura stands next to a utility task vehicle during Exercise Talisman Sabre near Stanage Bay in Queensland, Australia, on 17 July 2019. The exercise aims to enhance interoperability with Australian troops. Photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Houston.

"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.

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by Thomas M. Williams | Sun, 07/21/2019 - 11:02am | 0 comments
This is a practical guide for unit cultural change - a simple yet powerful tool for command teams to create shared understanding around “what is,” what we would prefer, but most importantly, how to discuss what change means on a day-to-day basis.
by Sean Parrot | Tue, 07/16/2019 - 2:57am | 2 comments
A culture change, emphasizing the dismounted scout as the primary collection platform would be the bedrock of the new-look IBCT cavalry squadron.
by Christophe Bellens | Mon, 07/15/2019 - 11:58am | 3 comments
This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. It considers from the perspective of the United States government what options are on the table in the use private military forces.
by Billy Carter | Mon, 07/15/2019 - 1:23am | 6 comments
This essay is meant to demonstrate that a unified influence activity achieves the greatest efficiency necessary to challenge the persistent efforts of our traditional adversaries, to seize initiate in the information domain, to exploit opportunities with emerging methods and technologies. Political Warfare by our adversaries are present in common rhetoric: “Russian Election Meddling, Islamiphobic, Chinese Hacking”. This language can be found in any newspaper and blog on a daily basis across the US, across political boundaries.
by Jonathan F. Lancelot | Sun, 07/14/2019 - 12:17am | 0 comments
When cyberwarfare is the top defensive policy for the Pentagon, including the protection of critical infrastructure from a catastrophic cyber-attack, the Commander-in-Chief should strategically avoid social media if at all possible.
by W. R. Baker | Sun, 07/14/2019 - 12:09am | 0 comments
When senior officers don’t listen to intelligence, they are responsible for the consequences - though they usually aren’t held to the same standards as their subordinates. When this occurs in combat, the most you might see is a senior officer fired after the fact, though many may have died as a result of their action or lack of action.
by Kylie Bielby | Sat, 07/13/2019 - 8:50pm | 0 comments
A court case in the United Kingdom has revealed that terrorists are considering the use of driverless cars and drones to avoid their own deaths. Farhad Salah, (born 20/03/95) of Sheffield, was found guilty of preparing to commit an act of terrorism, following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing in the U.K.
by George Fust | Sat, 07/13/2019 - 8:33am | 0 comments
A Pew Research Center report published on July 10 suggests that most veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan believe these wars are “not worth fighting.” What are the implications of these findings? What can they reveal about the health of U.S. civil-military relations? Is it dangerous for the guardians to be opposed to the mission they are directed to accomplish? At first glance, the data is troubling.
by Matthew R. Doherty | Fri, 07/12/2019 - 7:13am | 1 comment
There are many reasons (political/diplomatic/financial) why Laos was taken over by the Pathet Lao in 1975. Perhaps the overriding reason was the state of its military. The Royal Lao Army was one of the most ineffective forces of modern times. Despite being funded by a near inexhaustible American bankroll, it was a very poor shadow of its model, the ARVN.
by Ekene Lionel | Fri, 07/12/2019 - 6:29am | 1 comment
This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019.

Blog Posts

by The Wall Street Journal | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 10:04pm | 0 comments
"Britain’s decision to seize an Iranian tanker off the coast of its overseas territory of Gibraltar earlier this month is fast snowballing, dragging the country deeper into an escalating crisis between Iran and the West."
by The New York Times | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 7:33pm | 0 comments
"The Army has failed to adequately train and equip the military bomb technicians and infantry troops who are increasingly accompanying American commandos on high-risk missions in war zones, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times."
by The Wall Street Journal | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 6:36pm | 0 comments
"The U.S. government has taken custody of an American citizen suspected of fighting for Islamic State and is returning him from Syria to stand trial in the United States, officials said Thursday."
by Parameters | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 11:59am | 0 comments
The latest issue of 'Parameters' is now online, continue on for links to all the articles.
by The New York Times | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 11:15am | 0 comments
"Britain on Saturday threatened Iran that “there will be serious consequences” for seizing a British-owned oil tanker the previous evening as the government warned ships to avoid the crucial shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz."
by Associated Press | Sat, 07/20/2019 - 10:14am | 0 comments
"Britain's foreign secretary said Iranian authorities seized two vessels Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, actions signaling an escalation in the strategic waterway that has become a flashpoint in tensions between Tehran and the West."
by SWJ Editors | Fri, 07/19/2019 - 3:41pm | 0 comments
Via C4ISRNET - “At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” read the statement from Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesperson. “A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached [USS] Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew”
by The New York Times | Fri, 07/19/2019 - 3:13pm | 0 comments
"Iran said Friday that it had seized a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, and the tanker’s owner said it had lost contact with the vessel as it appeared to be heading toward Iran. The British government said it was urgently seeking information about the incident."
by Associated Press | Fri, 07/19/2019 - 5:28am | 0 comments
"A U.S. warship on Thursday destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the ship, President Donald Trump said. The incident marked a new escalation of tensions between the countries less than one month after Iran downed an American drone in the same waterway and Trump came close to retaliating with a military strike."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 5:42pm | 0 comments
"Guzmán may be gone, but the cartels are not. Gladys McCormick, an expert in Mexico’s political violence at Syracuse University, told Today’s WorldView in an email that while there are no longer any major drug lords to focus media or political attention on, cartels have shifted to a horizontal leadership akin to multinational corporations."
by Voice of America | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 4:06pm | 0 comments
"Iranian state television said Thursday forces from the country's Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign tanker accused of smuggling oil. The report said the vessel was intercepted Sunday in a section of the Strait of Hormuz south of Iran's Larak Island with 12 crew members on board."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 4:00pm | 0 comments
"BREAKING: President Trump said the drone came very close to the USS Boxer and ignored multiple calls to stand down."
by Military Times | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:30pm | 0 comments
"The U.S. poured more than $50 million into drug treatment programs in Afghanistan between 2013 to 2018 — but it’s unclear if the programs are making a difference, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction."
by Combating Terrorism Center at West Point | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 2:31pm | 0 comments
Continue on for links to the articles in the July 2019 issue of the 'Sentinel'.
by The New York Times | Thu, 07/18/2019 - 1:26am | 0 comments
"As talks with the Taliban proceed, soldiers and police officers reflect on the pain of making peace with a deadly nemesis."