Small Wars Journal
  • “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
  • “It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.”
    -- Joseph Stalin
  • “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)
  • "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
  • "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
    -- Old MOUT Adage

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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.


by Jonathan Helton | Sun, 10/25/2020 - 10:14pm | 0 comments
One African conflict that consistently flies under the radar is the struggle between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the territory of Western Sahara. This struggle dates back to the Cold War and reflected Cold War alliances throughout its duration. . Despite some flare ups, the battle over Western Sahara has moved to the realm of diplomacy and dialogue. Concern among some Polisario Front members could lead to a resurgence of armed conflict, so international spectators and interested parties need to revisit long- and short-term solutions before this conflict reignites.
by Drew (Richard) Marcantonio, by Kristina Hook | Sun, 10/25/2020 - 9:57pm | 0 comments
In the chaotic reality of wars and armed conflicts, environmental issues are often downgraded in long lists of policy priorities. The authors suggest that this reality is partially driven by the simmering and subterraneous aspect of environmental risks; the long-term possibility of environmental degradation may not seize the attention of political decision-makers as intuitively as ongoing violence spikes or political turmoil. This paper proposes a new policy and demonstrates how that tool can rapidly contextualize environmental risks. In addition this paper also shares previously unpublished data on Ukraine’s war-driven ongoing environmental crisis.
by Christjan Gaudio | Sun, 10/25/2020 - 9:51pm | 0 comments
The United States Coast Guard exists to protect American prosperity both domestically and globally. Domestically the service maintains regulatory authorities relating to shipping, coastal, and offshore operations interacting at every level of the domestic maritime environment. Whether on the high seas or in domestic waters stability is a mission inherent to the service and something that the Coast Guard has conducted in one form or another for over two hundred years.
by Travis M. Florio | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 9:24pm | 0 comments
Book Review of "Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict" by Eli Berman, Eli, Joseph H. Felter, and Jacob N. Shapiro, with Vestal McIntyre.
by Riley Murray | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 7:02pm | 0 comments
Helping a foreign country improve the effectiveness of their military aviation capabilities is an incredibly difficult task, made even more difficult when partner nations are facing ongoing irregular conflicts. Despite this difficulty, recent efforts to develop allied air forces through Aviation Foreign Internal Defense (AvFID) have not seen coherent strategic planning. US forces often do not develop an effective conceptual end state, long term plans do not guide operational decisions, and cognitive dissonance exists between nearly all actors.
by Francis Miyata, by John Nicholson | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 5:19pm | 0 comments
The dichotomy of old and new wars is premised on the rupture between interstate conflict and intrastate conflict, exemplified by the military theories of Clausewitz and Mao respectively. The present article’s task is essentially conservative. It will contest this narrative of an evolving nature of war both theoretically and historically. By underlining the formative influence of Clausewitz’s On War on Mao’s thought, from which the Chinese Communist leader derived the principles of insurgency, the present article will serve three functions.
by Connor Hirsch | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 4:16pm | 0 comments
Following former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s resignation and dissolution of his government after a military coup, the challenge of waging counterinsurgency against jihadist groups will pass to Mali’s next leaders, whoever they may be. The Keita government’s failure to provide adequate security in many communities after nearly a decade of conflict contributed to the popular calls for changes in leadership and allowed insurgent movements to metastasize
by Andrew Straley | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:00pm | 0 comments
The next war will most likely take place in the information ‘cognitive’ battle-space, where the U.S. military is ill designed and ill equipped to fight. This future war will take place in ways and places far beyond the conventional Western concepts of war. The traditional ‘Western-way-of-war’ where society believes the nation is either ‘at-war’ or ‘at-peace, is a relic of the past. U.S. national policy leaders are slow to recognize the international system has changed, making the United States more vulnerable to evolving forms of hybrid warfare, asymmetric warfare and unrestricted warfare.
by James K. Wither, by Richard Mašek | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 10:42am | 0 comments
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020 arguably created the greatest global security challenge since 1945. Faced with this unanticipated threat, scholars and practitioners from the security and counterterrorism fields have struggled to understand and assess the impact of the pandemic on global and domestic terrorism
by Ridvan Bari Urcosta | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 9:50am | 0 comments
A view from Poland on the current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The current conflict in the South Caucasus started on 27 September with Azerbaijan air and forces armed with massive support of artillery against the positions of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh. It is a large-scale offensive against Armenia in general, and unprecedented in its nature since the beginning of the 1990s. Neither Armenia nor the international backers of stability in this region were ready for such developments.

Blog Posts

by Dave Maxwell | Mon, 10/26/2020 - 8:26am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 10/25/2020 - 12:41pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 10/25/2020 - 12:29pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 7:17pm | 0 comments

An excellent podcast from the Modern War Institute.

by Dave Maxwell | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 11:35am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sat, 10/24/2020 - 11:17am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:14pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 11:33am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:02am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 10/22/2020 - 10:46am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by David S. Maxwell | Wed, 10/21/2020 - 11:31am | 0 comments
A Roundup of the Day's News
by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 10/21/2020 - 9:01am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by SWJ Editors | Tue, 10/20/2020 - 7:59pm | 0 comments
Updates to the USMC Commandant's Professional Reading List
by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 10/20/2020 - 12:44pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 10/20/2020 - 12:20pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.