Small Wars Journal
  • “With no other security forces on hand, U.S. military was left to confront, almost alone, an Iraqi insurgency and a crime rate that grew worse throughout the year, waged in part by soldiers of the disbanded army and in part by criminals who were released from prison.”
    -- John Spratt
  • “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
  • “For Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle, founders and editors of Small Wars Journal. They gave the counterguerrilla underground a home, at a time when misguided leaders banned even the word ‘insurgency,’ though busily losing to one. Scholars, warriors, and agitators, Dave and Bill laid the foundation for battlefield success: our generation owes them a debt of gratitude.”
    -- David Kilcullen ('Counterinsugency' Dedication)
  • “The Vietnam War was arguably the most traumatic experience for the United States in the twentieth century. That is indeed a grim distinction in a span that included two world wars, the assassinations of two presidents and the resignation of another, the Great Depression, the Cold War, racial unrest, and the drug and crime waves.”
    -- Donald M. Goldstein
  • "It is always dangerous for soldiers, sailors or airmen to play at politics. They enter a sphere in which values are quite different from those to which they have hitherto been accustomed"
    -- Winston Churchill

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement

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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.

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Crewmen sit inside Bradley fighting vehicles at a U.S. military base at an undisclosed location in Northeastern Syria, Monday, 11 November 2019. Photo by Darko Bandic - Associated Press.

"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

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Journal

by Francisco M. Hernandez, by Brodie T. Babb | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 9:29am | 0 comments
The analysis of CAO by trained CA forces drive multiple processes, including operations and targeting processes, and enabling supported commanders and decision makers to apply resources and make decisions. CA drives the operations and targeting processes by executing its core competencies alongside indigenous partners to increase the understanding of networks within the operational environment (OE), particularly those within the civil component.
by Adam Gallagher | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 4:49pm | 0 comments
"If foreign powers ceased their involvement in Libya, the country’s protracted civil war could come to an end quickly, said Mohamed Syala, the foreign minister of the Government of National Accord, in an interview with the U.S. Institute of Peace. The role of outside powers in Libya’s conflict has garnered renewed international attention in recent weeks as Russia has ramped up its support for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces."
by Franklin C. Annis | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 5:25am | 0 comments
I was first introduced to the concept of Availability Ratings by Major Jason Fincher at an event held by the Association of Marine Corps Logisticians. By measuring equipment readiness over time and attempting to increase the speed of acquisition of replacement parts and maintenance, Major Fincher was positively impacting readiness. He found that the key to maintaining a high-level of readiness may be focusing on the increasing the speed of which Marines can return non-functional equipment to a ready status.
by Morgan Smiley | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 4:55am | 0 comments
Many of the troopers and leaders who were part of the early deployments of the “Global War on Terrorism” have since departed the military. But I know many remain, though for a lot of them, I suspect their experiences consist of deployments involving security force assistance or limited patrols with limited goals as host-nation forces were pushed to take on more responsibility. Despite this, the troopers who are still in our military have valuable lessons that should be passed on to those with less experience.
by Chayathip Weerakajorn | Sun, 11/17/2019 - 11:44am | 0 comments
All actions have consequences, and all circumstances come after certain root causes; so does the ongoing insurgency in the southernmost provinces of Thailand, or what also known as the Deep South. The Thai ways of counterinsurgency are arguably flawed in several aspects, including the security and civil pillars of counterinsurgency. Moreover, the unstable domestic politics continues to distract the country leaders from conflicts in the south, as they are forced to focus on securing political power in Bangkok instead.
by Louis René Beres | Sat, 11/16/2019 - 10:52am | 0 comments
At the outset, world leaders will need to plan rationally, self-consciously and (above all) collaboratively for global survival. More than anything else, this would signify a refreshingly new willingness to realign traditionally narrow judgments of national self-interest with the much wider interests of humankind. Although meeting this complex requirement will at first appear unrealistic, nothing could be less pragmatic than staying stubbornly on our present collision course.
by Matthew Aaron Richmond | Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:57am | 0 comments
Violence resulting from conflicts between criminal groups and police has risen steadily across much of Latin America in recent years. The effects tend to be most felt in marginalised urban neighbourhoods, where widespread poverty and weak provision of essential services create opportunities for drug trafficking factions, street gangs, and militias to entrench local influence.
by Daniel Riggs | Fri, 11/15/2019 - 2:58am | 0 comments
No support to resistance will ever be perfect. But identifying groups who pose the best means for not only success, but stability as well is crucial. Decision makers and planners should not be content with finding a group to just achieve strategic ends. In world affairs, nothing appears to provoke as much ill will and long-term disdain towards a foreign country after they have provided less than intelligent support to a resistance movements that turn totalitarian or towards carnage.
by Boglarka Bozsogi | Wed, 11/13/2019 - 3:27pm | 0 comments
They know the drill. Emerging threats, foreign intervention, local alliances, and historic letdowns. Abandonment should not come as a surprise. Great powers have instrumentalized Kurdish nationalism for grand strategy, but cooptation implies agency from the proxy—a willingness to offer its strategic advantages for support or protection. U.S. withdrawal in face of the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria shines a light on the challenges of proxy warfare.
by Samiullah Doorandesh | Wed, 11/13/2019 - 12:55pm | 1 comment
Every U.S. airstrike resulting in civilian casualties nullifies the eighteen-year long endeavors of reconstruction and nation building aimed at winning the hearts and minds of Afghans in the perpetual War on Terror. The airstrikes have alarmingly augmented the xenophobia of Afghans towards the foreign troops and especially those of the United States.

Blog Posts

by Military Times | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 8:47am | 0 comments
"Iran has shown its ability to deploy forces and air assets beyond its borders in support of allies across the Middle East in the wake of civil wars that have destabilized the region, according to a defense intelligence report on Iran’s military capabilities."
by Military Times | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 7:00am | 0 comments
"The Islamic State is expected to revamp its operations in Syria and is predicted to grow its capability to attack the West — now that U.S. and allied-Syrian Democratic Forces’ operations to combat ISIS in Syria have been curtailed, according to a new report."
by Voice of America | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 6:59am | 0 comments
The United States and NATO are pledging unity in tackling challenges, including fighting terrorism, cyber threats and boosting energy security, seven decades after the establishment of the transatlantic partnership.
by Military Times | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 6:57am | 0 comments
"Israel’s military said four rockets were fired from Syria toward the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights early Tuesday, ratcheting up tensions in Israel’s north just days after a shaky cease-fire ended fighting with Iran-backed militants in Gaza that had raised concerns of a wider conflict in the country’s south."
by Voice of America | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 5:48am | 0 comments
Amnesty International says Iranian security forces have killed at least 106 people in nationwide anti-government protests since Friday, four times the death toll of Iran’s last mass protests two years ago.
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Wed, 11/20/2019 - 5:46am | 0 comments
Almost two-thirds of Afghan children have been impacted by the ongoing conflict in the war-wracked country, the British-based Save the Children charity says.
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 8:08pm | 0 comments
"Dozens of people may have been killed in Iran since Friday during protests against a sharp rise in petrol prices, the UN human rights office says."
by Al-Monitor | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 1:11pm | 0 comments
"Congress is preparing bipartisan sanctions on Russian mercenaries and other suspected human rights violators in Libya, Al-Monitor has learned, as the Donald Trump administration looks to use the recent entry of Moscow-linked paramilitaries into the conflict to reinvigorate a long-dormant American strategy in the war-torn country."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 6:33am | 0 comments
"The Afghan Taliban have freed two Western hostages in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants, officials and Taliban sources say."
by Voice of America | Tue, 11/19/2019 - 4:33am | 0 comments
Authorities in Iran have blocked internet service for a third day as part of a crackdown on nationwide anti-government protests in which at least eight people have been killed since the unrest began Friday.
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 6:41pm | 0 comments
"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the U.S. no longer will consider Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law, a move that formalizes the Trump administration’s treatment of the West Bank and shifts decades of U.S. policy."
by Defense News | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 6:18pm | 0 comments
"When the leaders of the 29 NATO nations gather in London at the start of December, the focus will nominally be on a celebration of the past and a look to the future. But analysts agree that as much as the event is billed as NATO’s 70th birthday, politics could make the situation feel more like a funeral."
by Associated Press | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 8:56am | 0 comments
"The New York Times and The Intercept say they have reviewed hundreds of pages of purported Iranian intelligence documents that detail Iran’s massive influence in neighboring Iraq."
by Jerusalem Post | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 7:32am | 0 comments
"Iran’s role became so connected to abuses in some cases that locals said they would prefer Israel to Iran."
by Voice of America | Mon, 11/18/2019 - 6:18am | 0 comments
Protesters in Lebanon came out en masse on Sunday, marking a full month of demonstrations against corruption and a host of other grievances.