Small Wars Journal
  • "In 1991 the Gulf War showed everyone how not to fight us, but the 2003 invasion of Iraq showed everybody how to fight us."
    -- David Kilcullen
  • “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)
  • “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
  • "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
    -- Old MOUT Adage
  • “It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.”
    -- Joseph Stalin

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"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.

Journal

by Max R. Rovzar, by Ron W. Sprang, by Keegan S. Guyer | Wed, 12/01/2021 - 5:37pm | 0 comments
Wargaming is often discussed as a necessary step in the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) for Army units, but it is an often misunderstood, or poorly executed due to time constraints. FM 6-0, Commander and Staff Organization and Operations, outlines the process and outcomes, but it doesn’t provide practical examples of useful tools or tactics, techniques, and procedures to reach the desired outcomes. “War-gaming results in refined COAs, a completed synchronization matrix, and decision support templates and matrices for each COA. A synchronization matrix records the results of a war game. It depicts how friendly forces for a particular COA are synchronized in time, space, and purpose in relation to an enemy COA or other decisive action tasks. The decision support template and matrix portray key decisions and potential actions that are likely to occur during the execution of each COA.”
by Franklin C. Annis | Wed, 12/01/2021 - 5:29pm | 0 comments
Marine Maxims by Col. Thomas Gordon is an exceptional resource for military self-development. Its short insightful chapters are filled with valuable leadership lessons suitable for junior noncommissioned officers to field grade leaders. Col. Gordon shapes what may normally be considered as cliché leadership lessons and gives them new life by discussing how these lessons impacted his career and how these issues will continue to impact the military profession in the future. In many ways, the way Col. Gordon has structured this book is how I wish every professional reading list should be presented. He briefly discusses the 50 valuable leadership lessons and how each impacted his own career and why these lessons will be important in the future before giving the reader at least one future book or resource to further explore the topic. I would highly recommend this book for military leaders and will likely be giving copies of this work to my supervisors and subordinates to help further spread the important lessons within these pages.
by Fatima Jaghoori | Wed, 12/01/2021 - 9:41am | 0 comments
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of stories from and about the people in Afghanistan, those who have escaped and those who seek freedom. We wish to highlight the suffering, sacrifices, and desire for freedom of our Afghan allies as well as people and organizations who are helping to ensure the safety of those left behind and the integration of those who have made it to safety and freedom.
by Isaac Poritzky | Tue, 11/30/2021 - 4:45pm | 0 comments
In the SWJ Book Review, SWJ-El Centro Intern Issac Poritzky reviews Professor Michael Kenney's examination of radicalization in Great Britain, "The Islamic State in Britain: Radicalization and Resilience in an Activist Network."
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Sat, 11/27/2021 - 3:57pm | 0 comments
The drug trafficking faction (facção) in the “Complexo de Israel” (Israel Complex) led by Álvaro Malaquias Santa Rosa, known as Peixão (Big Fish) built a bridge over a canal in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Norte (North Zone) to elude police surveillance.  The bridge connects the Favela das Cinco Bocas, in Brás de Pina, to Cidade Alta, in Cordovil.
by Alexandra Phelan | Tue, 11/23/2021 - 11:12pm | 0 comments
Five years after the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), it is reported that the Biden administration will remove the organization from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. SWJ–El Centro Fellow Alexandra Phelan examines the delisting in this commentary.
by Pablo A. Baisotti | Fri, 11/12/2021 - 11:58pm | 4 comments
The triple border has become a free territory for criminal activities and even worse, for terrorist activities. Despite the multiplication of actions, laws and meetings of the authorities of the highest hierarchies of the countries that make up this area: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, in addition to the monitoring of different governmental agencies of the United States.
by Pablo A. Baisotti | Fri, 11/12/2021 - 7:35pm | 1 comment
La Triple Frontera se transformó en un territorio “liberado” para las actividades criminales y, peor aún, para las actividades terroristas. Ello, pese a que se multiplicaron las acciones, leyes y encuentros de las autoridades de las más altas jerarquías de los tres países — Argentina, Brasil y Paraguay — que lo integran y del monitoreo de diferentes agencias gubernamentales de los Estados Unidos.
by Howard Campbell | Fri, 11/12/2021 - 3:11pm | 5 comments
Dr. Howard Campbell, professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) weighs on Season 3 of "Narcos: Mexico." In his commentary, Campbell, author of “Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez” and the recently released "Downtown Juárez: Underworlds of Violence and Abuse" asserts that the Cártel de Juárez should actually be called the Cártel de El Paso y Juárez.
by Daniel Weisz | Fri, 11/12/2021 - 12:04am | 2 comments
Review of Howard Campbell's "Downtown Juárez: Underwords of Violence & Abuse by SWJ−El Centro Associater Daniel Weisz. In this book, Campbell, a noted ethnographer of Mexico's "Drug War Zone," examines he conditions that lead to violence in central Juárez.

Blog Posts

by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 12/01/2021 - 8:08am | 0 comments

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by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 11/30/2021 - 8:01am | 0 comments

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by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 11/17/2021 - 10:10am | 1 comment

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