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
  • “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
  • "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
  • “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
  • “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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U.S. Marines and a U.S. Air Force pararescueman exit a U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey and secure a position in Sicily, Italy. Marine Corps photo.

"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 Nilofar Sakhi | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:32am | 0 comments
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 | 3 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.
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.

Blog Posts

by Foreign Affairs | Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:19am | 0 comments
"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 | 0 comments
"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."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:34am | 0 comments
"European governments, stung by President Trump’s barbs against NATO and sudden ordering of a military pullout from Syria, are urging the U.S. to coordinate with them on plans to reduce forces in Afghanistan and avoid a unilateral withdrawal."
by Military Times | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:11am | 0 comments
"The Pentagon’s lead on special operations and low intensity conflict was looking forward to the Air Force selecting a light-attack aircraft this December, but like many, he was disappointed after the service got cold feet."
by Military Times | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:05am | 0 comments
"U.S. Africa Command has begun cutting up to 10 percent of its forces from the continent in response to U.S. security challenges elsewhere, the top U.S. commander for Africa told reporters at the Munich Security Conference."
by The New York Times | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 9:11am | 0 comments
"A hasty American withdrawal will jeopardize hard-won gains such as constitutional rights, citizens’ rights and democratic institutions."
by Associated Press | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 2:15am | 1 comment
"After 17 years of war against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked insurgents, the military is shifting its focus to better prepare for great-power competition with Russia and China, and against unpredictable foes such as North Korea and Iran."
by The National Interest | Wed, 02/20/2019 - 1:40am | 0 comments
"The attack resulted in the death of over forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which has very close ties with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and often acts as its surrogate in the context of the ongoing unrest and terrorism in Indian-administered Kashmir, immediately claimed responsibility for the terrorist operation."