Small Wars Journal
  • “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
  • “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”
    -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis
  • “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
  • "If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don't take the shot. Don't create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act."
    -- General (Ret.) James Mattis

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement

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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.

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Paratrooper Drop - Army paratroopers descend during a training exercise onto Juliet drop zone in Pordenone, Italy, 13 February 2019. U.S. Army photo by Davide Dalla Massara.

"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 Lydia Kostopoulos | Sun, 02/17/2019 - 1:21am | 0 comments
Technologically, the world in 2051 was even more interconnected, operating on 5G and leveraging the spatial web where augmented and virtual realities served as mediators between the real ‘touch and feel’ world and the digital world. All the while, artificial intelligence was approaching ‘general’ intelligence and scientists around the world cautioned that it was imminent and that the existing global infrastructure was not going to be able to respond to the potential risks that have been hypothesized to arise.
by Franklin C. Annis | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 2:26am | 0 comments
Georges Clemenceau once asserted that “War .. [is] much too serious a thing to be left to the military”. U.S. Service Members would recognize this assertion to be true as applied to modern warfare. Clemenceau’s assertion presents an interesting follow on question. If war exceeds the limits of the military, should the recording of military history also be perceived as a task exceeding the abilities of Department of Defense historians? In this paper, we will examine Clemenceau’s original assertion and if demonstrated to be true will examine the question of who should be responsible for the recording and the examination of military history.
by Pamela Ligouri Bunker, by Robert Bunker | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 1:18am | 0 comments
On the surface, while such low levels of unemployment may appear to represent the triumph of unfettered capitalism and the belief in the benefits of a globalized—and supranational—liberal economic order, something far more ominous for the Western middle classes is taking place. Full-time jobs with benefits and secure retirement packages are increasingly being replaced with low-paid and part-time “gig economy” positions as a new involuntary labor model. This labor model not only benefits predatory (i.e. hyper efficient extractive) capitalism but may also be considered a component of the larger transition to human worker replacement by robotic automation and artificial intelligence (AI) systems and the continued hollowing out of the Western welfare state by the plutocratic class.
by Michael van Ginkel | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 5:15am | 1 comment
The long-term deployment and regenerative capabilities of SFABs creates an opportunity to capitalize on situations short of conflict. According to USAID, premature attempts at democratization resulted mainly from failures to “develop the political and social infrastructure to a level that could absorb (manage, resolve or transform) the conflicts that arose” prior to hosting elections.
by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:09am | 0 comments
This incident highlights the traditional rivalry between the two LA-born gangs and demonstrates that this rivalry and violent competition continues among their NYC affiliates. Gang graffiti related to both gangs has been reported in neighborhoods near the subway shooting incident. Such graffiti has been targeted by the local NYPD precincts (110th PCT and 115th PCT) in neighborhood graffiti removal project.
by Samuel Casey | Thu, 02/14/2019 - 1:03am | 1 comment
The ACFT is a bold step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough in the areas of pragmatism and its use as a cultural node for the US Army. This event ties each of us in uniform together and serves to showcase that each of us deserve to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest. It is important that we use the lessons learned in the last decade plus of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq to better prepare ourselves for the next war. If we do not, then we risk being in the same position as the Army was in when we entered the war in Korea with Task Force Smith.
by Gary Anderson | Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:36am | 0 comments
It is too early to draw conclusions about an agreement that has not yet been reached, but it is not too early to think about how to wage war by other means against the Taliban once some kind of peace agreement has been reached. Helping the Afghan government win the peace should be our next role in that troubled nation.
by Mohammad Shafiq Hamdam | Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:02am | 0 comments
Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. and its allies have overthrown the totalitarian regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan and replaced it with a democratic government. Al-Qaida leader, Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan. Overall, Afghanistan is more prosperous than ever and there has not been a major terrorist attack in the U.S. So, does that mean the mission in Afghanistan is accomplished?
by Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. | Mon, 02/11/2019 - 9:31am | 1 comment
Despite the dangers of the current dynamic, observers say, retired officers should be free to express their views and policy ideas in a way that is respectful of the commander in chief. "Americans want and, really, need to be able to consider the views of those who served, along with others with expertise," Mr. Dunlap said. "It should be the brightness of their ideas, not that of the stars they previously wore, that should carry the day."
by W. A. Rivera, by Arnel P. David | Mon, 02/11/2019 - 5:41am | 5 comments
This article argues that a more comprehensive understanding of lethality is necessary to improve US strategic performance in present and future wars. We argue that central to lethality at the strategic level is influence. LtGen (ret) James Dubik emphasized foreign influence operations as the #1 strategic-level preparation civilian and military leaders must make for the next war. To view lethality only through a physical lens limits its full potential. Take the example of the Vietnam War.

Blog Posts

by Stars & Stripes | Sun, 02/17/2019 - 11:37am | 0 comments
"President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to release hundreds of Islamic State fighters being held in Syria if allies in Europe don’t agree to take custody of the militants."
by Reuters | Sun, 02/17/2019 - 11:10am | 0 comments
"The general overseeing U.S. forces in the Middle East flew into Iraq on Sunday for talks with U.S. and Iraqi officials expected to focus on ensuring that Islamic State cannot stage a resurgence after U.S. troops withdraw from neighboring Syria."
by DoD News | Sun, 02/17/2019 - 12:37am | 0 comments
"Vice President Mike Pence gave a report card on the Trump administration’s security policy two years after telling European leaders that 'America first, did not mean America alone'. The vice president delivered his remarks at the annual Munich Security Conference, yesterday."
by Defense News | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 3:03pm | 0 comments
"Amid plans to withdraw 1,000 or more American troops from Afghanistan, several key U.S. lawmakers, after meeting with President Ashaf Ghani on Saturday, warned against a wider drawdown like the one President Donald Trump has planned for Syria."
by Voice of America | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 2:09pm | 0 comments
"Human rights observers and officials with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say IS followers have been pushed out of the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz and taken refuge in what they describe as a collection of tents. Various officials have described the size of the camps as covering less than one square kilometer. But efforts by the SDF to deal a final defeat to the terror group's self-declared caliphate have been slowed due to the presence of the civilians, and efforts to negotiate a surrender have also gone nowhere."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 1:32pm | 0 comments
"The attack has India rattled — and pointing fingers at Pakistan. This is troubling, because India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars over Kashmir besides engaging in intermittent skirmishes along the border. Will the Pampore incident spark a new and dangerous phase in the enduring rivalry between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan? Here’s what you need to know."
by Voice of America | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 3:04am | 0 comments
"More than 200 tons of U.S. humanitarian aid intended for Venezuela is scheduled to begin arriving just across the border in Colombia Saturday, delivered by U.S. military cargo planes."
by CNN News | Sat, 02/16/2019 - 12:47am | 0 comments
"A suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with explosives into an Indian paramilitary convoy in Pulwama, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, on February 14. The death toll is at least 40, making it the largest attack in Kashmir in three decades. A Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, claimed responsibility through a video released shortly after."
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 4:32pm | 0 comments
Does the U.S. withdrawal from North Syria spell conflict between the Syria’s Kurds and Turkey, or can more bloodshed be avoided? CSIS’s Turkey Project director Bulent Aliriza explains what’s happening in North Syria.
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 3:44pm | 0 comments
"The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said he is moving forward with plans to pull American forces out of Syria, but said the military has the flexibility to leave some troops there if President Trump decides to reverse himself and maintain an American presence in Syria as a counter to Iran."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:51pm | 0 comments
"The head of MI6 has warned that the Islamic State group is reorganising for more attacks despite its military defeat in Syria."
by Stars & Stripes | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:05pm | 0 comments
"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency along the U.S-Mexico border, part of an overall effort that uses roughly $6 billion in military funds and personnel to build a wall to curtail illegal immigration."
by The New York Times | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 9:26am | 0 comments
"Nearly everyone addresses Ms. Haidari, 39, as “Nana,” or “Mom,” and her supporters describe her as the “mother of a thousand children,” after the number of Afghan addicts she has reportedly saved. Now, Ms. Haidari plans to start a popular uprising against the continuing peace talks with the Taliban."
by The United States Institute of Peace | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 8:15am | 0 comments
"Special Rep. Khalilzad emphasizes centrality of intra-Afghan dialogue to achieving inclusive peace."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Fri, 02/15/2019 - 8:02am | 0 comments
"India has said it will ensure the "complete isolation" of Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 46 soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir."