Small Wars Journal


Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog.

We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

by Pierre Jean Dehaene | Sun, 03/05/2023 - 7:48pm | 5 comments
This essay is a food-for-thought on the identity (culture), training and education of special forces (SF). The target audience is the special forces, the emerging wider special operations forces (SOF) community, politicians and key military decision-takers who must wield special forces. Admittedly every nation has its particularities, but many SF throughout the world have common concerns and difficulties when it comes to setting a culture that matches a clear identity. Not in terms of tasks like specialized forces, but in terms of purpose like special forces. Struggling to find a balance between too much or too little “unconventional” is also a universal phenomenon. It should be clear that there is a time for structure and optimization and there is a time for creativity and momentum. Knowing what to be in which circumstances is exactly the educational foundation of special forces: analytical acumen.
by William T. Latta | Sun, 03/05/2023 - 7:24pm | 5 comments
In large-scale combat operations (LSCO), critical decisions during armed conflict that defeat the adversary to achieve strategic and operational objectives often determine the victor. History proves that the chaotic nature of the battlefield contains many variables that shape the operational environment (OE), which requires leadership to make the right decision on time to accomplish the objectives. The United States Army implements mission command to enable subordinates on the battlefield to make the critical decisions necessary to seize the initiative that can gain an advantage over an adversary. The Battle of 73 Easting during Operation Desert Storm displays the practical application of mission command in an LSCO environment that led to a decisive victory over Iraqi forces and the liberation of Kuwait. The success at the Battle of 73 Easting was due to effective mission command, which will provide a historical case study to analyze mission command, battlefield command and control (C2), C2 warfighting function execution in an LSCOs environment.
by Joseph W. Frost | Fri, 03/03/2023 - 10:54pm | 17 comments
            Information is a critical component of any organization in the world. Specifically, the military depends on massive amounts of data to make decisions across all battlefield domains. The abundant information gained from various sources supplies joint-level leaders and staff with ample material to decipher, analyze, and create intelligence products. When given to the right people, these products can leverage opportunities that enable friendly military actions and reduce the effects of the adversary’s combat power. Joint planners have several capabilities to evaluate within information operations that aid in creating advantages for friendly forces. Joint commanders and staff must understand the information environment’s dimensions, military information support operations (MISO), civil-military operations (CMO), and military deception when planning dynamic information operations.
by George Chkhikvadze , by Corban Pierce, by Trevor Davison, by Matthew J. McGowan | Thu, 03/02/2023 - 7:15pm | 3 comments
Endangered Fishing Village: A fishing village located on an island in an archipelago in the Indo-Pacific about 200 nautical miles from a major straight and 50 nautical miles from a major shipping route.  The fisherman, many of whom are third or fourth-generation fishermen, who have worked these waters surrounding their home for decades, are under persistent harassment from strange foreign fishing vessels.  Local vessels are chased from legacy fisheries, while foreign vessels are overfishing the area and devastating the local economy.  Within the local village, outsiders have been placing pressure on local officials to sell land surrounding the village under the pretense of building an airport and the promise of building infrastructure.  Local officials are frustrated that they cannot protect their fishermen, despite the repeated calls for support from the overtaxed Coast Guard.  Concurrently, national officials are worried about territorial encroachment and predatory economic practices across multiple islands and districts.
by Josh Phillips | Thu, 03/02/2023 - 6:51pm | 2 comments
For the past two decades, United States foreign policy has been centered around the Global War on Terror (GWOT), but this era appears to be steadily coming to a close. In light of this, as the U.S. continues to trend away from GWOT policies and operations, it must not lessen its opposition to international violence and human rights violations. Instead, it must remember to remain steadfast in its commitments to international humanitarian aid efforts that were initiated during the GWOT. The U.S. cannot afford to backslide in its progress in mitigating foreign violence, and must not forget the tools that it has at its disposal to maintain this progress. One such means that the U.S. should continue to employ is the Foreign Terrorist Designation (FTO), an important political tool that the U.S. uses to publicly identify and sanction perpetrators of international violence, and one example of how this tool should be used to protect U.S. interests can be seen ongoing Houthi rebel group crisis in Yemen, a group which the U.S. delisted as an FTO in 2021.
by Rodani Tan | Thu, 03/02/2023 - 6:39pm | 1 comment
During the Vietnam War, Builder et al. (1999) mentioned that before 1965, the fighting by the United States (U.S.) Soldiers in Vietnam had been in minor skirmishes with Viet Cong (VC) troops conducting hit-and-run counterinsurgency operations. However, the situation significantly escalated since 6 February 1965, the VC attacked the U.S. compound in Pleiku, leaving eight Americans dead and hundreds wounded. In November 1965, Colonel (COL) Thomas W. Brown ordered the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, commanded by then Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Harold G. Moore Jr., to execute an airmobile assault operation in Ia Drang valley and conduct a search and destroy operation against the VC and North Vietnamese Army (NVA). At the same time, North Vietnamese General (GEN) Chu Huy Man, with three NVA regiments, ordered preparations for conducting offensive operations in the same area of Ia Drang to inflict significant casualties against the U.S. military.
by Caleb Carr | Thu, 03/02/2023 - 6:23pm | 3 comments
The pledge on the part of various NATO countries to send advanced armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) to Ukraine to help that country in its struggle against the Russian invasion has been welcomed by those who support Kyiv’s cause as something of a deliverance. And even most analysts who have reservations about the tanks’ actual utility base their reservations on the Ukrainian tankers lack of training in specific Western models, preeminently the American Abrams MIA2 Main Battle Tank (MBT), the German Leopard II, and the British Challenger II. Granted, it will take the Ukrainians some time to master the operational technicalities of each of these models, as they have begun to do in Germany. But their most glaring shortcoming when it comes to modern armored warfare is not unique to Western tanks. Indeed, it has already been demonstrated by their use of captured Russian MBTs: they have not yet mastered the fundamentals of modern armored doctrine, either strategically or tactically. Doing so will be far more important than learning engine specs and firing modalities, if only because it will allow them to mount a far more efficient defense immediately (without waiting for Western tanks), and eventually go on the offensive, and do both in ways for which the Russians are unprepared.
by Ioannis Koskinas | Wed, 03/01/2023 - 6:11pm | 2 comments
In late 2022, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) quietly divested the combat aviation advisor (CAA) capability, the only unit in the Air Force specifically trained, organized, and equipped for irregular warfare (IW). Within a few months, AFSOC converted the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) from one uniquely suited for building partner capacity, security force assistance, and aviation foreign internal defense (AvFID) to another one of the multiple AFSOC squadrons flying the MC-130J airlift aircraft. For nearly 30 years, the 6th SOS was the Air Force’s only organization dedicated to IW and AvFID. But, contrary to the 2022 Defense Department Special Operations Vision and Strategy that aimed to bolster integrated deterrence by advancing partnerships and enhancing relationship with allies, partners, and the interagency, AFSOC scrapped the Air Force’s only IW capability. This has diminished U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) capacity to meet its national security objectives. Since August 2022, new commanders have taken the reins at USSOCOM and at AFSOC. This paper hopes that they take stock of the unforced error made by their predecessors and reinstitute the CAA mission in the Air Force and USSOCOM’s kit bags of asymmetric air power advantages.
by Brandon Sanders | Fri, 02/24/2023 - 7:30pm | 5 comments
For several reasons, the Army is wrestling with recruitment shortfalls. As with many problems in the military, the tendency is to “whip out the money gun” and shoot the problem right in the face. However, we need to be very careful with doing that in this context. Simply flooding the internet and airwaves with promises of $50k bonuses and a life of benefits may only set us up for failure in the next conflict. Instead, we should look at how to tailor our communication and Soldier experience to let our future warriors become what they truly want to be.
by Daniel Rice | Tue, 02/21/2023 - 5:11pm | 1 comment
The Battle of Kyiv is a story of Ukrainian resilience and strategic prowess, and a remarkable victory against a larger and better-equipped enemy. Sun Tzu famously wrote that "most battles are won before they are fought," and this was certainly the case in Kyiv. Despite being outnumbered and under-equipped, the Ukrainian Armed Forces emerged victorious, thanks to better leader development, leadership, strategy, and training.
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Tue, 02/21/2023 - 4:36pm | 2 comments
The Ministério Público do Rio Grande do Norte (MPRN)—public prosecutor’s office in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil—launched Operação Plata (Operation Plata) on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 to investigate money laundering related to drug trafficking by a suspected leader of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC). The cell investigated laundered money through multiple means. Most notably, their laundering efforts including establishing evangelical churches as front operations.
by Pierre Jean Dehaene | Tue, 02/21/2023 - 10:08am | 3 comments
What can military organizations learn from one of the oldest natural mechanisms of survivability? Natural selection has for millions of years determined the species that get to live on. It was commonly thought that survivability was a matter of strength and/or fitness, but these (brute) notions less accurately describe what is in fact the mechanism of adaptability. The “fittest” species is the one best able to adapt to its constantly shifting environment. Essentially being less prone to developing dangers and more efficient with energy. Organisms and organizations are not so different. They both compete and exist within dynamic and fluctuating ecosystems. Organizations must adapt rapidly, especially organizations that exist to protect their people and government. This essay will look at the building blocks of natural selection as a framework for thinking about organizations. I will concentrate on the special forces, but the claims and reasoning presented in this essay are applicable to any military organization. How must we integrate the qualities of organisms that are able to survive and thrive in a dynamic competitive order?
by Richard A. Dean | Tue, 02/21/2023 - 9:59am | 3 comments
Make no mistake: if left unchecked, the war in Ukraine will bring about wider conflict. Today, the world over, executives and their tutors view the turmoil in Ukraine with an ever-increasing sense of dread. To properly grasp this circumstance, consider the morphing response of the Western world. A year ago, they responded to Russian provocations with rhetoric. Yesterday, they answered with shoulder-fired missiles and artillery. Today, they reply with tanks. Now, the greater world stands at a juncture, one created by an ill-fated mixture of interest, policy, and sentiment. The question to be asked now – the point that must be settled – is where to go from here?
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Mon, 02/20/2023 - 9:25pm | 2 comments
Enough with the “Russian offensive” hype.  Whatever the Kremlin manages to stitch together in the coming weeks and months, there is no reason to suspect it will be anything different from what Russian operations have been for the more than ten months since the end of March, the last time Russia saw any major successes on the battlefield: that is, ineffective and incompetent.
by Charlie Black | Mon, 02/20/2023 - 3:13pm | 2 comments
In America’s Special Operations Problem Colonel R.D. Hooker, PhD former combat leader turned scholar offers a necessarily useful criticism of US Special Operations and SOF.  His real argument relates more to USSOF than special operations. I urge everyone interested in national security, especially those in the special operations community to read it closely. As the Department of Defense shifts its strategy priority to great power competition it is prudent to reflect on over two decades of war. The lack of a dispassionate assessment of the recent Afghanistan withdraw suggests other priorities. Hooker makes some points worthy of consideration to be discussed later. Unfortunately, some of the argument is a misinterpretation of recent historical events, dependent context, and derives generalized conclusions from a relatively small number of incidents or events.  What follows is my response to advance the discussion and debate.
by Patrick Cunningham | Sun, 02/19/2023 - 11:49am | 2 comments
       The opening remarks of the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) highlight the views held by many leaders within the United States on the current security environment: that “we are living in a decisive decade,” that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “remains our most consequential strategic competitor” for the foreseeable future, and that the PRC is the only country with both the intent and capacity to reshape the international order. Underscoring these beliefs is the Department of Defense’s most current version of the “China Military Power Report” which asserts that the PRC seeks to harness all elements of national power to attain a “leading position” in strategic competition, “accelerate the integrated development of… informatization, and intelligentization” of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and cultivate an environment hospitable to the PRC’s strategic goals to create a “community of common destiny.” Comparatively, the PRC’s “2019 Defense White Paper” emphasizes that the PLA is in “urgent need of improving its informationization” and that building a “Community with a Shared Future for Mankind” crucially supports the PRC’s “National Defense Policy in the New Era.” Given these deliberate assessments from both U.S. and PRC perspectives, this paper seeks to examine the mutually reinforcing modernization of PLA information warfare and military diplomacy, the effects of these modernization initiatives on regional and global stability, and key weaknesses that the U.S. and partners can exploit.
by Jesus Gonzalez , by Clayton Dos Santos | Sun, 02/19/2023 - 11:30am | 1 comment
The United States (U.S.) Army has been studying and evolving its approaches to military operations. In this context, learning from past experiences is one of the best methods to enhance the Army’s ability to fight. To illustrate that, in December 1989, a remarkable success in military operations took place in Panama, which demonstrated a high level of coordination and command and control on the battlefield. It is known as Operation Just Cause and it was a complex Joint Operation against the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) in Panamanian territory. It captures the importance of training, planning, and leadership to prevail in combat operations. Another doctrinal concept that emerges from this operation is mission command. According to the U.S. Army doctrine, mission command is “the Army’s approach to command and control that empowers subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation." During Operation Just Cause, there were several opportunities to exercise mission command and they were decisive to mission accomplishment. Therefore, it is relevant to present some of the events that took place in Operation Just Cause as part of the U.S. Army learning process, and the application of mission command and leadership to the success of military operations. In order to better comprehend this operation, it is important to understand the scenario in Panama that led to the execution of Operation Just Cause.
by Cole Herring | Tue, 02/14/2023 - 1:13pm | 2 comments
This paper argues that influence campaigns are becoming the most powerful weapon authoritarian regimes have against democracies. Authoritarian regimes have the ability to censor domestic information, which presents an opportunity that inherently places democracies on the defensive. Additionally, the pace in change of technology has made large portions of the population suspectable to misinformation. State actors weaponization and use of artificial intelligence in influence campaigns is powerful, and while the use of state propaganda is not a new concept, the scope and scale that it can be conducted is unpresented. This paper explores multiple case studies using current examples.
by Sanjai Bhagat, by Michael Brogan, by Kevin Benson | Mon, 02/13/2023 - 9:13pm | 2 comments
During the past three decades, U.S. companies relentlessly pursued a strategy of building manufacturing facilities in China. The over-arching rationale given by U.S. corporate leaders and international economists was that “trade benefits all countries.” U.S. CEOs shifted manufacturing to China arguing that lower manufacturing costs in China compared to the U.S. enabled them to price their product at a much lower price, and benefit their U.S. shareholders and consumers. A key building block of this narrative turned out to be false. The benefits to U.S. long-term shareholders of shifting manufacturing to China were, at best, temporary, and in most cases never realized, because China expropriated the technology of U.S. manufacturers using both legitimate and illegitimate methods.
by Alexander R. Kenna, by Matthew R. Alexander | Mon, 02/13/2023 - 4:42pm | 2 comments
As the US military continues to develop its climate security strategy and action plans, the current publications and programs only briefly mention proactive international actions by enhancing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts. However, this approach is not a sufficient response to the complexity of climate insecurity. The current lines of effort for the DOD Climate Adaptation Plan would benefit from an additional measure that is proactive and international at its base. The oversight of the near-term consequences of destructive climate events such as drought, flooding, rising sea levels, etc., resulting in resource scarcity for vulnerable populations has allowed adversaries of the United States to capitalize on these vulnerable states. This allows these maligned actors access economic, military, and political advantages through providing resources and infrastructure to these fragile populations. While the United States needs to focus first domestically, neglecting international efforts to combat climate insecurity will only further the loss in adversarial competition while endangering US national security.
by Jeff Giesea | Sun, 02/12/2023 - 5:58pm | 1 comment
This is the second part of a series developing a concept I’m calling hybrid intelligence. In part 1, I defined hybrid intelligence as an agile and integrative approach to intelligence, positioned as a response to hybrid warfare. In this piece, I explore hybrid warfare as a special forces-like capability.
by Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed | Sun, 02/12/2023 - 12:09am | 0 comments
Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine has entered its second year. During the past months, the Kremlin has continued to engage in ongoing combat efforts, artillery shelling, and missile and drone attacks targeting civilian infrastructure across the country. The number of civilians who became victims of Russia’s atrocious assault is growing and the country’s infrastructure is in imminent danger of collapse. Russia perpetuates its plan to depopulate the occupied parts of Ukraine and to deport both adults and children to Russia. At the same time, Russian teachers arrive in Russia-occupied Ukrainian towns and cities and diligently follow the orders of their Russian “bosses” beating into the heads of Ukrainian children Russia’s vision of Ukraine: “Ukraine as a sovereign state does not exist” and “Ukrainians are confused about their nationality—in essence, you are Russians who, under the influence of external Western forces, erroneously decided that you are Ukrainians. Ukrainians do not exist!”
by Mark Grdovic | Thu, 02/09/2023 - 8:50am | 3 comments
As 2023 begins, the U.S. military finds itself addressing how it will institutionalize the topic of Irregular Warfare (IW).  There is no shortage of speeches, articles and documents that extol the importance of the topic to the National Defense Strategy and its related concepts.  While this sounds completely appropriate, there is a problem.  The U.S. military has been in this position before, multiple times.   In 2009, I wrote an article as part of an introduction for an IW conference at Ft Bragg in which I said, “In the 1960s and again in the 1980s, the U.S. military experienced a revival of interest in irregular warfare, or IW, similar to the one that is occurring today.  In both of the previous periods, the topic enjoyed a celebrity-like popularity in professional military forums until such time that circumstances allowed it to be relegated back to the margins in favor of a return to proper soldiering. Both previous revivals produced high-quality doctrine and curriculum in professional-education courses.  So why, then, did IW fail to become ingrained as part of the military mainstream?’  It feels like little has changed since that time other than to add one more period of interest.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Thu, 02/09/2023 - 8:37am | 2 comments
Russia, on paper the second most powerful military power in the world, should have taken Kyiv and much of the rest of Ukraine rather quickly; by the odds and by the takes of most pundits at the time, Ukraine should have lost the war months ago, Ukraine’s military and leadership crushed (and clearly Russia hubristically expected and planned on this, too, and Putin certainly did not expect the unified and robust support of a West and NATO led by Biden).  At best, it was thought Ukraine might to be able to offer some level of heroic and persistent nationalist guerilla insurgency against Russian occupiers much like the case when Ukrainian anti-Soviet partisans kept fighting from the mid-1940s into the mid-1950s in the wake of World War II and the Soviet Union’s reimposition of unwanted Soviet rule over Ukraine after Hitler’s German Army’s temporary occupation and misrule. 
by Chris Martin, by Simmie A. Adams | Wed, 02/08/2023 - 9:19pm | 2 comments
In September 1994, Special Forces Soldiers from 3rd SFG(A) deployed to Haiti to support Operation Uphold/Restore/Maintain Democracy.  They were charged with providing the majority of the command-and-control structure for the Army Special Operations Task Force (ARSOTF). Bad governance is looked upon as the root cause of Haiti’s instability.  Some entities believe the way forward is to conduct a kinetic action.  However, from an irregular warfare perspective, interested parties working together to achieve what is best for the country resolves problems effectively.  It remains true today. 
by Leo Villalobos , by Ryan J. Ward | Tue, 02/07/2023 - 11:09pm | 0 comments
The utility of social movements as a means to achieve societal, cultural, or political change has been well established throughout history. In particular, adversaries of the United States (U.S.) have demonstrated their ability to leverage social movements to shape the operational environment in favor of their objectives. However, U.S. military doctrine addresses social movements exclusively as resistance movements as part of unconventional warfare. This view, however, neglects the utility of social movements to disrupt or degrade adversarial efforts in strategic competition through non-violent means. Special Operations Forces (SOF) must explore the utility of social movements in the context of Irregular Warfare (IW) to remain competitive in a complex and dynamic global environment.
by Jeff Giesea | Tue, 02/07/2023 - 6:06pm | 1 comment
The last two decades have seen many changes in the security environment. New technologies have given rise to asymmetric opportunities. The costs of all-out war have pushed conflict into the grey zone. The lines separating state and non-state actors have blurred. So-called hybrid warfare has combined conventional warfare, unconventional warfare, and even business activities to achieve meaningful geopolitical effects. 
by Daniel Bergman | Tue, 02/07/2023 - 5:05pm | 0 comments
Warfare is not only traditional or irregular but a deadly mix between the two; leaders must master both aspects of warfare to defeat the enemy and protect friendly forces (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2020). To master irregular warfare, a leader must first know and understand what it is; irregular warfare is the ability to influence the population with the intent to deplete power (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2020). The purpose of this paper is to analyze and understand the leaders’ vital role in irregular warfare holistically. An in-depth analysis of the performance triad’s positive and integral role in irregular warfare, how competent leaders utilize mission command to their advantage, and how a leader's intellect is one of their greatest weapons in irregular warfare. With the uncertainty induced by irregular warfare, there is one consistent aspect: the need for competent leaders to prepare their Soldiers for the unknown.
by Pamela Ruiz | Mon, 02/06/2023 - 9:49pm | 1 comment
This article examines the Estado de excepción (state of exception) declared on 24 November 2022 in Honduras.
by Benjamin Van Horrick | Mon, 02/06/2023 - 5:00pm | 1 comment
As the tagline from the Western Classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance states, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” When documenting the Afghan War, the Army and the Marine Corps are printing neither the legend nor the fact—they are ignoring the Afghan War. Two recent publications from the Department of the Army and the US Marine Corps, FM 3-0 Operations and Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP-8): Information, make no mention of the Afghan War. Instead, the Army and Marine Corps inserted examples from the 2014 and 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. By omitting the Afghan War from their doctrine, the Army and Marine Corps delay a reckoning with the Afghan War and the resultant learning. Not addressing the Afghan War postpones addressing a larger issue. America’s War in Afghanistan demonstrated the remarkable capacity of the U.S. officer corps for self-deception during the conduct of the conflict. As the services embark on ambitious force design and structural changes, confronting the Afghan War is a necessary step in restoring the American public’s confidence in its military and accounting for the services’ gross miscalculation
by George Chkhikvadze , by Matthew J. McGowan, by Trevor Davison, by Corban Pierce | Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:27pm | 0 comments
The YouTube video titled “Russian tank explodes in HUGE ball of flames after Ukrainian airstrikes” showcases the immediate effects of a Ukrainian airstrike on a Russian tank on Ukrainian ground troops engaged in combat somewhere on the front line.  In less than one month the video, shared by the United Kingdom outlet, The Sun, accumulated almost 400,000 views and more than 5400 likes. In it, Ukrainian troops seem to smile and joke about the effectiveness of the strike while the tank is still engulfed in flames and smoke billows up to the sky.  These videos are common, with more links available.  The ubiquity of these videos speaks to the power of the image of a burning tank to celebrate Ukrainian victory and shore up support within the country and internationally. 
by Gustavo A. Arguello | Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:10pm | 2 comments
The United States Army is an organization designed for war, created to protect America's interests at home and abroad. Accomplishing the country's strategic goals, protecting America's freedoms, and supporting the nation in times of need, requires well-equipped and professionally trained Soldiers. The Army needs mentally and physically prepared Soldiers to meet operational environment demands across all war domains. Reaching combat readiness requires a holistic health approach, including spiritual practices, mental health, physical conditioning, proper nutrition, and good sleep practices.
by Donatas Palavenis | Sun, 02/05/2023 - 8:59pm | 0 comments
This review presents the general principle of counter-drone technology (C-UAV), reviews market trends, and describes the medium-term potential of technology development, which should influence the emergence of a newer type of C-UAV. Furthermore, UAVs available to the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the means of combating them are also reviewed.
by John P. Sullivan | Sat, 02/04/2023 - 4:51pm | 0 comments
Review of "Enemies Near and Far: How Jihadist Groups Strategize, Plot, and Learn" by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Thomas Joscelyn.
by W.R. (Bob) Baker | Wed, 02/01/2023 - 7:53pm | 5 comments
As the Easter Offensive of 1972 was the precursor to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, there were two occasions where the United States could and should have moved against North Vietnam earlier but didn’t.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Wed, 02/01/2023 - 7:42pm | 0 comments
It has been some time since I have put out a major overall analysis here on the Ukraine-Russia war because there is not a whole lot of new stuff to chew on: yes, Winter Is Here (and I did put together shorter analysis noting winter will hurt the Russian military far more than the Ukrainian military, giving Ukraine another distinct advantage in the winter months), but overall, we are seeing two main phases being repeated, exhibiting dynamics that I have discussed in great detail before and that are overlapping at times to various degrees.
by 4Sight | Tue, 01/31/2023 - 8:02pm | 3 comments
This initiates a series addressing Unrestricted Warfare, or in the parlance of Harry Potter, that which cannot be named.  How far we will take this series is yet to be determined.  However, it will likely form the basis of a 4Sight seminar or roundtable. 
by James Rohrer | Sun, 01/29/2023 - 7:14pm | 0 comments
Wargaming requires constructing a microcosm of a battle.  Making a microcosm, which we can call modeling, simplifies reality to bring into play the essential factors affecting the outcome.  Simplification in this fashion is based on assumptions regarding which aspects of the battle are essential and which can be eliminated.  Faulty assumptions will result in misleading results.  Therefore, validating those assumptions would be helpful.  This essay addresses how the microcosm might be validated in classroom exercises.
by Justin K. Steinhoff | Sun, 01/29/2023 - 5:51pm | 0 comments
Over the past decade, technological transformations have changed the world we live in, from advances in voice assistant technologies, facial recognition software, cryptocurrency markets, fully autonomous self-driving vehicles, and neural network sensing technologies. Today, voice assistance devices using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are a part of more than half of all United States (US) adults' daily lives. The advancement of AI is leading a global revolution that is changing how we interact. Equally, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has already invested in transformative technology advancement and AI/ML adoption.
by Aldon Thomas Stiles | Fri, 01/27/2023 - 9:02pm | 0 comments
Review of "Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists" by Audrey Kurth Cronin
by Sandra Huber & Michael Kidd | Wed, 01/25/2023 - 9:29am | 1 comment
In today’s dynamic military logistics environment, the need for a Joint Logistics Support Group as a tactical headquarter is critical to support allied forces as effectively and efficiently as possible. When the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted exercise plans around the world, NATO’s Joint Logistics Support Group, Naples responded to ensure that they, and subordinate commands conducted the high-end training required to prepare them to operate effectively as logistics enablers to NATO’s Response Force.
by Travis L. Eddleman | Wed, 01/25/2023 - 9:19am | 2 comments
With increased usage of National Guard Troops to address civil disturbances and other threats or concerns to homeland security, scholars and policy makers have begun to reexamine the use of the military within the scope of the Posse Comitatus Act and the inherent loopholes present in the Insurrection Act. Fear of military politicization and a worry that military activities are encroaching into the realm of local law enforcement have caused legal watchdogs to raise concerns regarding violations of state sovereignty and have pushed the U.S. Congress to take legislative actions to close those loopholes. How has the Posse Comitatus Act impacted Presidential authority, and how have recent events influenced public and political perspectives of the act along with the loopholes that provide broad Presidential authority to deploy and utilize the military on American soil?
by Rodani Tan | Wed, 01/25/2023 - 9:11am | 0 comments
Historically, commanders (CDRs) and staff manage complex situations within an operational environment (OE) that continuously changes. Army design methodology (ADM) provides an approach to dealing with unfamiliar and complex problems. “ADM is a methodology for applying critical and creative thinking to understand, visualize, and describe problems and approaches to solving them” (Department of the Army [DA], 2019, p. 2-16). An example of a complex situation that needs a solution is Ellyatt’s (2022) report on Russian forces invading Ukraine to demilitarize the country. To make matters worse, this was not Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine. The situation is extraordinarily complex and requires unique solutions to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainian citizens and help keep their sovereignty. The success of a military solution to a problem depends on the abilities of the CDR and their staff to frame solutions through the application of key concepts and activities to produce an operational approach that allows detailed planning and the sergeant major’s (SGM) ability to facilitate ADM activities in an organization.
by Tom Ordeman, Jr. | Wed, 01/25/2023 - 9:02am | 1 comment
Author’s Note: This essay was originally prepared for submission in mid-August of 2021, during the projected withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan. However, submission was ultimately pre-empted by the abrupt collapse of the Afghan government and security forces. As the international community continues to engage in an after-action review following twenty years of operations that ultimately ended in failure, this case for a partition of Afghanistan is presented with minimal edits. This essay is presented as a contribution to the ongoing discussion of how the international community could have avoided the eventual outcome, and created a state of lasting stability that continues to elude both the Afghans and their former coalition partners.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 01/22/2023 - 11:07am | 0 comments
Scholars, practitioners, and policymakers continue to contemplate the definition of irregular warfare (IW) and what it means for U.S. national security and defense strategy.  Many electrons are flowing through cyberspace with debates and arguments about what constitutes irregular warfare, why it is or is not important, who should conduct it (e.g., specific forces or all forces) and how it should be taught in professional military education.
by Ethan Thayer | Thu, 01/19/2023 - 10:08pm | 1 comment
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing threatens the United States’ influence in the Western Pacific. The region is host to significant American military installations and partner nations. States such as the Marshall Islands support bases or can serve as platforms for future operations. These nations rely on fishing as a source of economic development. IUU fishing harms regional partner nations’ economic development and self-sufficiency, leaving them vulnerable to the United States’ threats. Regional threats such as China can undermine and supplant the United States’ regional alliances and strategic lines of communication through economic incentives to partner nations. IUU fishing will harm the United States’ ability to project power in the Western Pacific as regional threats exploit partner nations’ economic dependence on fishing.
by Tomás Andres Michael Carvallo | Thu, 01/19/2023 - 5:17pm | 1 comment
This article analyzes an under-examined facet of the CSRL–CJNG conflict in Guanajuato: the use of tire repair shops as fronts for criminal activity. Over the last ten years, at least 138 tire repair shops have been violently attacked in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, leaving over 200 dead. An analysis of crime data, news reports, and local security experts suggests that these attacks are related to the fight between organized crime groups.
by Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed | Wed, 01/18/2023 - 6:24pm | 0 comments
In November, Christiane Amanpour, a CNN chief international anchor, interviewed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska. By the end of the conversation, Christiane Amanpour says she knows that the Ukrainians are not afraid of “poking the bear” while others are afraid of Russia and of what Russia might do. In his response, President Zelensky points out that Russia feeds off these fears and this is a mistake that has not been corrected for decades. Olena Zelenska adds that Ukraine has been under Russia’s pressure for so long: the centuries of the Russian Empire and then the decades of the Soviet Union—it has ceased to be scary.
by Mark Lavin II | Tue, 01/17/2023 - 11:57pm | 1 comment
As the United States Army simultaneously amalgamates new national and defense security strategies, learns relevant lessons from Russia’s War in Ukraine, and accelerates the fielding of the next generation of weapons systems, we must also prioritize our greatest competitive advantage, our people. The Army’s intellectual institutions are struggling to find clarity in a future of competition with peer nations and capable militaries. As pundits hail the successful predictions of Russia’s tactical actions in Eastern Europe, the Army’s intellectual institutions may overlook continued strategic blunders such as understanding how the intelligence community could be so wrong about the capabilities of the Russian military or how 20 years of blood and treasure achieved so little in Afghanistan. The Army’s intellectual initiatives and learning are further diluted by the allure of academic status and accolades. Choosing an identity for Army intellectual institutions at echelon (why) and then aligning core competencies (how and what) will eliminate superfluous efforts and achieve a universal purpose of winning the Nation’s wars and sustaining the Army’s greatest military advantage…adaptive leaders.
by Daniel L. Dodds | Tue, 01/17/2023 - 11:31pm | 0 comments
The Korean War began on 25 June 1950 when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with the goal of unifying the two nations as a single communist country. The war lasted slightly longer than three years, until 27 July 1953 when both countries signed a ceasefire known as the Korean Armistice Agreement, resulting in the establishment of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. During this war, the United States and 21 nations under the umbrella of the United Nations Command supported South Korea. Conversely, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) and the People’s Republic of China (China) supported the DPRK. There were several campaigns during the Korean War, all of which required the use of joint planning through operational art and design, to accomplish strategic, operational, and tactical objectives. One such battle, the Battle of Inchon, occurred from 15 September to 18 September 1950 after the Inchon landing, using the moniker Operation Chromite (Gammons, 2000). The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Battle of Inchon, specifically the Inchon landing, using the lens of operational art and operational design to describe the ends, ways, means, and the arranging of operations, which led to the halting of the North Korean People’s Army offensive.