Small Wars Journal

FICINT – Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 4:03pm

FICINT – Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War

Small Wars Journal is pleased to present an excerpt from Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War by Small Wars Journal-El Centro Fellow Michael L. Burgoyne. This fictional account—or FICINT (Fictional Intelligence)—describes the security situation in Mexico in an accessible manner.  Here the situation in Mexico is described through the lens of fiction and intelligence to depict future conflict scenarios grounded in reality.[1]  Is it ‘criminal insurgency,’ ‘civil strife,’ ‘crime wars,’ ‘non-international armed conflict (NIAC),’ or something else. Burgoyne seeks to inform the policy and operational debate surrounding insecurity and criminal armed groups (CAGs) in Mexico in this text. SWJ


Comments from the author:

In 2020, Mexico suffered over 35,000 homicides, marking another year of exceptionally high rates of violence that are comparable to a war zone. Mexican transnational criminal organizations drive the violence in Mexico and play a key role in the over 70,000 annual drug overdose deaths in the United States. Yet, Americans lack an understanding of the complex security situation just south of the border.

I am thankful to Small Wars Journal-El Centro for the opportunity to present an excerpt from, Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War.  I wrote the story as modern day western designed to bring the reader into a violent and complicated world where there are no easy answers. While the story is fiction, the events depicted are drawn from reality, which is documented in the accompanying notes section. These notes also include references to outstanding scholars that provide excellent analysis of the ongoing conflict in Mexico.

Finally, this excerpt is augmented with a brief interview with Alexei Chevez, a Mexican scholar and security practitioner with a deep knowledge of the nature of the internal stability struggles in Mexico.

My hope is that this work of fiction provides an engaging way to understand the very real and daunting security challenges the Mexican people face.

– Michael L. Burgoyne

The excerpt of Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War is available here at SWJ-El Centro.



[1] For more on FICINT as an analytical tool, see August Cole and P.W. Singer, “Thinking The Unthinkable With Useful Fiction.” Journal of Future Conflict-Online Journal. Issue 2 (Fall 2020). Kingston, Ontario: Queens University, of Future Conflict/Issue 2 Fall 2020/Issue_2-Singer.pdf.


Categories: El Centro