Small Wars Journal
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • "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
  • “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

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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Cobra Gold - U.S. and Thai Navy SEALs conduct visit, board, search and seizure training in Thailand, 15 February 2019, during Cobra Gold, an annual multinational exercise. Photo by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Bragg.

"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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Journal

by Jason Rivera, by Wanda Archy | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 5:02pm | 0 comments
Warfare has always and will always continue to evolve. A recent evolution that this paper will focus on is the “Dark Web”, to include how this aspect of the Internet has affected national security over the last decade as well as how it may affect national security in the years to come. We use quotations in our initial introduction of Dark Web because it is known by many names and is often conflated with similar terms that characterize other related concepts (such as the Deep Web). Accordingly, this paper will seek to establish a conceptual framework of the Dark Web as a sort of landscape characterized by a series of threat issues and threat actors that national security professionals should be aware of. We will then build upon this framework of viewing the Dark Web as a landscape so that we may illustrate its applications to both the kinetic and digital aspects of human warfare.
by Nilofar Sakhi | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:32am | 1 comment
Although the process toward peace in Afghanistan has been punctuated by several key junctures beginning in 2010 that continue today, much of the peace-oriented discussions have remained the same with little to no real movement on tangible issues at the negotiating table. Nevertheless, it is possible to point to some of the positive and, of course, negative aspects of the ongoing negotiation process, which must be addressed to avoid repeating past mistakes and fill existing gaps.
by W. R. Baker | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:22am | 0 comments
Franklin C. Annis’ recent article (SWJ, February 16, 2019) “Who is to be Trusted with Military History?” is a good start, but it fails to address a number of items and takes a slap (intended or not) at Vietnam veterans.
by Gary Anderson | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:13am | 4 comments
It is time to reconsider the use of NLW, not as stand-alone tools to wage “kinder and gentler” conflict, but as tools in the combined arms kit. We should reinvigorate advanced NLW development and place advanced NLW in the tables of organization of our ground and air combat units.
by Tamim Asey | Tue, 02/19/2019 - 8:49am | 0 comments
With each passing day attaining a sustainable, inclusive and broad-based peace seems distant and farther away in Afghanistan primarily because of a divided political elite in Kabul, a deceptive Pakistan, an emboldened Taliban playing the long game and an impatient America in a hurry to declare victory and bring US service members back home. Nobody underestimated that the Afghan peace process will be a straight line and if history is any guide it shows that almost all of the Afghan peace negotiations have failed in the process whether it was the Geneva accords in the 1980s or the Jeddah peace deal between the warring mujahidin factions during the civil war in the 1990s.
by Kyle T. Gaines | Tue, 02/19/2019 - 7:36am | 3 comments
The defense contracting industry undeniably plays a critical role in the nation’s defense. From research and development, acquisitions, consulting, intelligence, cyber, logistics, and information technology, there are myriad ways the private sector makes valuable contributions that advance U.S. national security policy goals and keep Americans safe. But there are also many problems with how these operational support contracts are executed on the ground, which various U.S. government agencies have acknowledged for years. Unfortunately, the model the U.S.-led coalition is relying on for employing contractors in Afghanistan remains rife with poor accountability, ineffectiveness, and fundamental strategic communications issues.
by Max G. Manwaring | Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:04am | 0 comments
Venezuela is basically what it always has been—only worse under Nicolas Maduro. As a consequence, Venezuela has moved into a downward spiral from an aspiring New Socialist state to failing state status.
by Said Sabir Ibrahimi | Mon, 02/18/2019 - 2:02pm | 0 comments
Pundits who urge the U.S. to stay in Afghanistan argue national security interests and point out to threats emanating from Afghanistan. Indeed, 17 years ago, it was national security that took the U.S. military to Afghanistan. To date, the presence of more than 20 transnational terrorist groups in the region continue to justify the American military involvement in the country. However, a broader question that is rarely asked is whether counterterrorism is the only issue that brings the two nations together?
by Patricia H. M. Morrissey | Mon, 02/18/2019 - 4:52am | 3 comments
In order to make a clear case that the aggregate efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS (or Daesh as they are called in some countries) are showing progress towards “defeating” ISIS, we must understand the nature of this movement as a competition between its local jihadist groups and existing government leaders and institutions, at all levels, for the allegiance or submission of the population. In other words, we must address it for what it is: a networked global insurgency.
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.

Blog Posts

by Voice of America | Fri, 02/22/2019 - 1:43am | 0 comments
"Coalition warplanes launched new airstrikes against the last remaining enclave of the Islamic State terror group's self-declared caliphate after efforts to evacuate additional civilians stalled. The strikes, accompanied by artillery fire, targeted the outskirts of the final piece of IS-held territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghuz on Thursday, a day after 2,000 civilians were evacuated from the area."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 02/22/2019 - 1:32am | 0 comments
"The U.S. will maintain a small peacekeeping force of about 200 troops in Syria despite President Trump’s earlier decision to remove all American troops, the White House said Thursday, illustrating the complications of a hastily announced withdrawal."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 02/22/2019 - 1:21am | 1 comment
"The U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant spent hours on end planning a wide-scale domestic terrorist attack, even logging in at his work computer on the job at headquarters to study the manifestos and heinous paths of mass shooters, prosecutors say. He researched how to carry out sniper attacks, they contend, and whether rifle scopes were illegal. And all the while, investigators assert, he was amassing a cache of weapons as he ruminated about attacks on politicians and journalists."
by Military Times | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 1:56pm | 1 comment
"The Pentagon has asked Department of Homeland Security to identify locations where border wall construction would improve the “effectiveness" of military troops deployed there, a key justification required to redirect military construction spending that would otherwise go to local base projects."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 1:32pm | 0 comments
"Johan Cosar went to Syria not to fight for the Islamic State group, but against them. Now, the former Swiss army officer is facing a military tribunal back home. He is charged with joining a foreign army and thus undermining Switzerland's neutrality and security."
by Voice of America | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 11:51am | 0 comments
"Five U.S. citizens who were among eight men detained over the weekend in Haiti with automatic weapons and other arms have returned to the United States.'
by Foreign Affairs | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:19am | 1 comment
"Questions remain about whether the Taliban is genuinely willing to break with al Qaeda—the very prospect at which the group balked back in 2001, prompting the United States to invade."
by Defense One | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 1:49am | 0 comments
"U.S. Africa Command plans to begin routing flights to Accra, Ghana, as the hub of a new logistics network to ferry supplies and weapons to the patches of U.S. troops operating across the continent’s increasingly turbulent western region."
by The New York Times | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 1:22am | 1 comment
"For any progress, analysts agree that Germany, Europe’s biggest and richest country, must do more, including overcome its post-World War II reluctance to lead in strategic matters. The German military already has too few soldiers, too little equipment and faces shortages of just about everything."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:51am | 0 comments
"As the deadline approaches for the withdrawal of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, America’s closest European allies have turned down a Trump administration request to fill the gap with their own troops, according to U.S. and foreign officials."
by The Wall Street Journal | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:46am | 0 comments
"Several hundred of the last civilians trapped by Islamic State in the militant group’s remaining sliver of territory left on Wednesday, suggesting the extremist group was near a surrender to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces."
by The Wall Street Journal | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:08am | 0 comments
"A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist was arrested after authorities said they found more than a dozen firearms, ammunition and a hit list of Democratic lawmakers, activists and media personalities in his Maryland home."
by Marine Corps Times | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:07am | 0 comments
"Any response by Marine forces based out of Europe to a crisis in Africa would have to overcome the tyranny of distance and time, meaning help could be a long way off."
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:03am | 0 comments
"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the UN secretary-general to draw up options for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine, saying such a mission could be a 'decisive factor' in ending the conflict there."
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:22pm | 0 comments
"Afghan politicians and tribal, ethnic, and religious leaders are set to meet for at least four days next month to discuss negotiations with the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani's special peace envoy has said. Omar Daudzai said on February 20 that the gathering, known as a Loya Jirga, will be held from March 17-20."