Small Wars Journal

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 Matthew A. Lauder | Fri, 12/25/2020 - 3:47pm | 0 comments
The emergence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and a lack of clear and definitive information and guidance by public health organizations and national and regional governments, coupled with heightened collective anxiety, created the perfect storm for the promulgation of disinformation and other manipulative and deceitful content. The Russian government has been one of the most prolific offenders, seeking to generate disruptive effects in targeted countries. This article examines the mechanics of how the Russian government generates disruptive effects through COVID-19 disinformation, as well as discussing implications for NATO and its partners.
by Patricia H. Escamilla-Hamm, by John P. Sullivan, by Nathan P. Jones, by Robert Bunker | Wed, 12/23/2020 - 11:49pm | 0 comments
An assassin (sicario) shot former Jalisco governor Aristóteles Sandoval in the bathroom of the Distrito/5 bar in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco on Friday, 18 December 2020. He succumbed to his injuries. The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is suspected; however, other actors and political motivations can’t be ruled out in this direct attack.
by Richard McManamon | Sun, 12/13/2020 - 9:34pm | 1 comment
Since taking office, President Trump has challenged the global order with his “America First” approach. He has questioned the role of the US and its Allies within NATO, exited the Paris Climate Accord, and entered into a trade battle with China. At the same time, the Trump administration has positioned both Russia and China as strategic rivals to the US and the new rise to great power competition. In the last decade, the US has witnessed aggressive actions by both countries in an effort to carve out new spheres of influence.
by Kaman Lykins | Sun, 12/13/2020 - 9:15pm | 0 comments
War is one of the oldest and most terrible of human endeavors and Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO) is war at its conventional zenith. Of course, most would agree that reducing the effects of war to a simple calculus of blood and treasure is crass and callous. Yet these two cursory measurements can shed light upon the sheer devastation war can, and has repeatedly, wrought.
by Jonathan F. Lancelot | Sun, 12/13/2020 - 9:07pm | 5 comments
On November 10th, 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations reported, "massacres by non-state armed groups in several villages in northern Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province including the reported beheading and kidnapping of women and children" (United Nations). The news of these crimes against humanity broadcasted worldwide via the internet. The ability of information on crimes like these to potentially end up in front of hundreds of thousands if not millions of human beings is a glimpse of a future where humanity can quickly react to and mitigate a slaughter.
by Alex Plotkin | Sun, 12/13/2020 - 8:45pm | 1 comment
This is one of the books every new Special Operations soldier should read when they start their journey into the world of Unconventional Warfare. Gene Sharp could have titled this book the “Doctrine of (Nonviolent) Unconventional Warfare” to Free the Oppressed, or Create Order from Chaos, or even to Persuade, Change, or Influence (the three mottos of the US Army’s Special Operations Branches).
by Benjamin Arbitter | Sun, 12/13/2020 - 8:38pm | 5 comments
In the early 1990s, interviews with former Soviet pilots and access to Soviet archives revealed that “Soviet pilots covertly participated in air-to-air combat with American pilots during the Korean War for two years.” Subsequently and arguably more surprisingly, declassified U.S. intelligence documents revealed that U.S. officials not only knew of this intervention but actively sought to keep the Soviet intervention secret.
by Alma Keshavarz, by Robert Bunker | Fri, 12/11/2020 - 3:59pm | 1 comment
This note looks at developments in Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) capabilities. In this initial note, a new naval carrier, new drones, helicopters, and speed boats. This series will look at IRGC strategic, operational, and tactical developments.
by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan, by Alma Keshavarz | Fri, 12/11/2020 - 3:00pm | 0 comments
The ongoing Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) offensive into Michoacán has been met by the creation of defensive trenches dug across multiple state highways/roads in mid-November 2020.  These anti-improvised armored fighting vehicle (IAFV) trenches were created by Los Viagras, Carteles Unidos, and/or local community self-defense groups (autodefensas) in an apparent co-ordinated effort to obstruct CJNG commando unit—consisting of IAFVs, monstruos (monster trucks), narcotanques (narco-tanks), and soft-skinned vehicles and gun trucks with mounted infantry elements—access to towns under their control.
by Justin Baumann | Wed, 12/09/2020 - 9:16pm | 1 comment
This article details the advantages the US military can gain by developing an experimental joint airborne division for use in current or future hybrid conflicts while simultaneously countering emerging proxy threats during Great Power Competition. It highlights the current capability gap in our airborne formations between conventional and irregular airborne units and provides a plan to address this issue with the creation of an experimental joint airborne division led by the Army and staffed by additional joint personnel.
by Mahmut Cengiz | Wed, 12/09/2020 - 9:03pm | 3 comments
The Arab world had hoped to see more democratic regimes when the Arab Spring struck many authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. Arab countries witnessed a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions in the early 2010s. Responding to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, Tunisians were on the streets to protest government corruption. The unrest spread to Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. Protesters were successful in overthrowing long-serving authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt.
by Patricia H. Escamilla-Hamm | Tue, 12/08/2020 - 11:00pm | 0 comments
After months of political debate, the Guardia Nacional (National Guard) proposed by Mexicos new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was formalized on 27 May 2019.[ ] However, it remains a source of heated controversy. Some critics claim that it was unnecessary since Mexico already had a Policia Federal (Federal Police - PF). Human rights advocates and some security specialists argue that its military traits exacerbate the risk of abusive use of force and the militarization that prevailed during the Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña (2012-2018) Administrations. The purpose of this essay is to examine why a new law enforcement institution was created and designed as a civilian-military institution.
by John Berger | Tue, 12/08/2020 - 10:32am | 1 comment
Noel Barber’s The War of the Running Dogs: How Malaya Defeated the Communist Guerillas 1948-60 is a gripping history that reads like a novel. Barber tells the story of courageous British and Malayan men and women who fought the guerillas—as well as the story of the rise and fall of communist guerilla leaders—through personal antidotes and experiences during the Malayan Emergency; details which make it a difficult book to put down. Barber’s account also appeals to the academic reader by providing a combination of historical narrative and a test-case of applied COIN theory.
by Kaley Scholl | Mon, 12/07/2020 - 5:29pm | 0 comments
The United States is preparing for great power competition against near-peer adversaries by preparing for a major war with China and Russia. However, this is a fundamental misreading of the challenges the US actually faces in this multipolar security environment.[Adversaries recognize they cannot compete against the US in conventional warfare. Instead, they are increasingly employing the use of gray zone operations, or those tactics that fall beneath the threshold of armed conflict, to increase their influence and impose costs on the US. The US Department of Defense’s (DOD) US Special Operations Forces (SOF) are an agile force uniquely positioned around the world and capable of using their irregular warfare asymmetric advantages to counter Chinese gray zone activities. As counterterrorism operations in the Middle East are winding down, the DOD should leverage SOF’s successes in irregular warfare to rebalance the mission sets to meet the full range of new and emerging security challenges in support of great power competition.
by John P. Sullivan | Mon, 12/07/2020 - 4:47pm | 0 comments
Killing civilians in war is a lightning rod for controversy.  Ethical, moral, and practical concerns frame the discussion—and more importantly the reality on the ground.  International law is clear, under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the deliberate killing of civilians and other persons hors de combat is prohibited—that is it is a war crime.  Despite these norms, deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians persists. This SWJ Book Review looks at Jürgen Brandsch's assessment of the topic in "Killing Civilians in Civil War: The Rationale of Indiscriminate Violence."
by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker, by Nathan P. Jones | Fri, 12/04/2020 - 7:10pm | 0 comments
While violence is down for the first 10 months of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019 in Tijuana, violence in the ‘Greater Tijuana Plaza,’ including Mexicali, Ensenada, Tecate, and Playas de Rosarito in Baja California, may be on the rise as possible internal divisions emerge, alliances shift, and the Cártel de Sinaloa (CDS) and the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) battle for supremacy of the region’s drug trafficking corridor into the United States.
by Rory Andrews | Thu, 12/03/2020 - 7:13pm | 1 comment
This piece argues that the West has entirely mishandled the peace process because of a fundamental misunderstanding of Afghan politics, history and society, which has led to a binary view of the war and an overly simplistic view of Afghanistan as a nation. Utilising extensive primary and secondary research from a number of experts in the field, this essay will help demystify the illusion of the war in Afghanistan and the peace process which has come subsequently in order to offer tentative insight into the people, tribes, groups and states which all have a stake in peace in Afghanistan and who should be included in the process.
by Faruk Hadžić | Thu, 12/03/2020 - 11:05am | 0 comments
A rational analysis of the international community's failure to prevent war crimes in BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) can be a lesson for the future's morality model. The EU's role in Southeast Europe is inconsistent between its normative potential and current problematic aspects of process implementation policies. The recognition of Dayton's failure by the US, can pave the way for building a political community within the current "virtual entity" that does not possess vertical and horizontal legitimacy. It would be morally obligatory, even imperative, to build blueprints and state reorganization tools in the concrete.
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:15pm | 0 comments
Armed gunmen attacked banks in two Brazilian cities on Monday 30 November 2020 through Tuesday 1 December 2020.  The attacks occurred in Criciúma, Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil and Cametá, Pará state in Brazil’s north.  The attackers are believed to be unrelated but share common tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).  Brazilian media refers to the style of attacks as the ‘New Cangaço’ referring to historic banditry in the 1920s-1930s.
by Eric Slater | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:32pm | 1 comment
The purpose of this article is to provide intelligence professionals a set tactics, techniques, and procedures for successful course of action analysis. I also cover how to maintain a cooperative environment when tasked with role-playing the enemy. This article is borne from the experience of having failed to grasp the collaborative nature of war-gaming as a lieutenant, followed by development through my captaincy as a staff intelligence officer and company commander assigned to the National Training Center.
by Sam Hayes, Jr., by Jerry Patterson, Jr. | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:02pm | 1 comment
The goal of this article is to show the diversity of mission sets and organizations AC CA supports, develop CA practitioners, as well as inform the larger community of CA’s value. The first section addresses the company and team’s experiences in support of U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. Army Africa (USARAF), U.S. Air Forces Africa (USAFAF), Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), and the U.S. Agency for International Development in West Africa Regional Office (USAID-WA) objectives. The final section addresses insights from these CA Soldiers’ unique perspectives (i.e., operating with GPF and SOF elements in the joint environment, working with the RAF and the U.S. country team, conducting regional exercises and assessing HN CMO capacity, validating HN CA forces institutions and setting the conditions for regional exercises with U.S. and NATO partners, coordinating among the DOD, DOS, and the international community, and supporting the teams and managing civil information), which currently may not reflect the view of others.
by Wes Dyson | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:37am | 0 comments
In War by Other Means former Ambassador to India, Robert D. Blackwill, and Rhodes Scholar, Jennifer M. Harris, clearly articulate an alternate path to American success in Great Power Competition: geoeconomics.  Geoeconomics, as they define it, is “the use of economic instruments to promote and defend national interests, and to produce beneficial geopolitical results; and the effects of other nations economic actions on a country’s geopolitical goals.” The authors state that economics, and particularly geoeconomics, is the instrument of national power that the United States must employ to maintain its dominant position within the international system.
by Aaron A. Bazin, by Karla Mastracchio | Wed, 12/02/2020 - 9:41am | 0 comments
American policymakers must weigh many risks in the development, oversight, and use special operations to protect and advance the nation’s interests. If they hope to do so from an informed position, they must understand what makes special operators tick — their mindset. In this article, we present original research into the creeds the special operations community uses during selection and training as an indicator of their inherent mindset. The purpose of doing so is to provide new insight into how special operations approach some of today’s most wicked military problems.
by Matthew A. Hughes | Sat, 11/28/2020 - 8:09pm | 0 comments
Across an Angry Sea: The SAS in the Falklands War is Lieutenant General Cedric Delves’s first-hand account of 22 Special Air Service (SAS) involvement in the 74-day war between Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands. Commanding D Squadron, 22 SAS throughout the war, Delves played a central role in this special forces unit, which emerged as a pivotal player in the British war effort. Delves directed his men in a variety of ground operations, leading military historian Max Hastings to declare that no “man saw more than he did at the sharp end of the 1982 action in the South Atlantic.”
by John Bolton | Wed, 11/25/2020 - 11:48am | 3 comments
America in (relative) decline is a common refrain in national security circles, with many evoking Rome’ Collapse or Great Britain’s fading from the heights of its power. Rome disappeared while Britain managed its decline well, shedding territories while maintaining a relatively strong domestic consensus. The appropriateness of these comparisons is generally assumed. This article offers a different point of comparison: the decline and eventual collapse of China’s Qing Dynasty amidst internal fracturing, a failure to reform, and relentless external pressure from Western Powers.
by Joseph Hammond | Sat, 11/21/2020 - 8:24pm | 0 comments
The United States should pay careful attention to the brewing conflict in the Sahara which if left unchecked could contribute to destabilizing forces across North Africa and the Sahel. Renewed clashes between Polisario, a leftist rebel group, and Morocco is only the latest armed confrontation riling the continent. The past few months have seen an increase in insurgent activities in Mozambique and an outbreak of a new war in Ethiopia. In contrast, the United States has largely been distracted by the 2020 presidential campaign. The deterioration in the status quo between Morocco and Polisario in the Western Sahara deserves greater attention because decisive action now may be able to preserve a ceasefire which has largely held since 1991.          
by Eran Ortal, by Lazar Berman | Sat, 11/21/2020 - 8:16pm | 1 comment
For decades, Western militaries have confronted a stubborn operational challenge. Our enemies disappear on the battlefield, and we struggle to bring our material superiority to bear. Simultaneously, our own maneuver makes us vulnerable to attack. How can we beat an enemy we can't see? This study examines Allied anti-submarine warfare in WWII's Battle of the Atlantic, to extract contemporary lessons against stealth enemies. During the campaign, Germany attempted to blockade the British Isles through submarine attacks on Atlantic supply routes, using attrition through stealth area-denial tactics with concealed low-signature platforms.
by Josh Chang, by Peter Kouretsos | Sat, 11/21/2020 - 8:05pm | 0 comments
In a great power competition, most of the United States’ policy attention has focused on East Asia and Eastern Europe. However, the incoming Biden administration should remember George Orwell’s refrain: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” In front of the nose of U.S. leaders is an overlooked fact: a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Western Hemisphere has allowed the U.S. to confidently pursue its national interests abroad. It is imperative for the next administration to factor Latin America more greatly into U.S. strategy.
by Wade Pommer | Thu, 11/19/2020 - 1:15pm | 0 comments
A reposted essay with some big ideas that should stimulate big discussion about a critical military capability that must achieve tactical and strategic effects.
by Richard A. McConnell, by George E. Hodge, by Thad D. Weist | Tue, 11/17/2020 - 2:25pm | 2 comments
In early March 2020, instructors at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) were informed that they would have to learn to “fly” their classrooms under instrument conditions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. With very short no­tice, the instructors found themselves locked down, working from home, and reformatting classes orig­inally designed for face-to-face instruction into distance-learning (DL) mode. Although the uncertain situation had presented several significant challenges, the instructors found that having to redesign classes proved to be a catalyst for positive change and ad­vancement. In the process, they discovered that the experience made them better instructors; the redesign expanded their teaching capabilities, including learn­ing skills and modalities (standard methodologies) that instructors anticipate will be used when they return to face-to-face instruction
by Octavian Manea | Tue, 11/17/2020 - 9:39am | 0 comments
Small Wars Journal interview with H. R. McMaster, Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World. From 2017 to 2018, he served as U.S. National Security Adviser.
by Batya (Батя) | Sun, 11/15/2020 - 8:37pm | 1 comment
During the grueling wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Montenegro was arguably fortunate in comparison to countries like Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. Whilst it was bombed several times in NATO airstrikes, Montenegro didn’t suffer the mass destruction, ethnic cleansing, and refugee crisis that its neighbors did. The country has been lucky to avoid religious conflict through a high degree of religious tolerance and diversity throughout its history. However, in 2020 it seems that luck has run out. It’s possible that a civil war is looming in the country of the black mountains. One that has the potential to become an international conflict.
by Joshua Courter | Sun, 11/15/2020 - 7:51pm | 2 comments
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is one of the most controversial terrorist cells in world history. The reason for the controversy is that some view the IRA as a terrorist group and other view them as an organized paramilitary of freedom fighters. Since their inception as partisan freedom force in 1919 and as a radical terrorist cell in 1969, the IRA has always made excellent use of propaganda to garner support and membership for their cause. In the modern era, more than 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement, the IRA now takes to the internet to continue to gain support and new members for their cause. They make use of social media such as Facebook and YouTube to promote their ideology and agenda.
by Melanie Hartvigsen, by Jens Flinch Jørgensen | Sun, 11/15/2020 - 12:05pm | 1 comment
This article will discuss the concept of hidden numbers and the different approaches to handling the concept; further, it will relate hidden numbers to the intelligence profession and thus identify methods to estimate hidden populations. Intelligence in this connection is used as a broad term covering both intelligence in the police and law enforcement and intelligence in the military spanning from the tactical to the strategic level. The article will present methods to intelligence professionals to better reflect and choose tolls for estimating numbers and quantifiable elements of intelligence. The methods presented here can thus be seen as a catalogue for inspiration for both the intelligence analyst and for leaders in intelligence units.
by SWJ Editors | Sun, 11/15/2020 - 8:04am | 0 comments
Unfortunately we have had to remove this article at the request of the author.
by Joshua Courter | Sat, 11/14/2020 - 6:31pm | 1 comment
This paper takes a look into the 2019 hacking of Zynga, a mobile video game developer. In the summer of 2019, mobile game developer Zynga had the login information of over 170 million accounts stolen. The accounts were uploaded to an illegal market place on the Deep Web and sold for an illicit profit. The hack is a form of cyber-trespassing and theft, as the hacker trespassed illegally into Zynga's services and committed the robbery of the 170 million accounts. On the deep web, the accounts were sold on an illegal market place for Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a "crypto-currency" typically used in darknet transactions as it's anonymous, unlike credit cards or PayPal. Details regarding how the hack was pulled off are still unknown. Details on who purchases the stolen accounts are still vague and indistinct.
by Christopher H. Brodsky | Sat, 11/14/2020 - 6:22pm | 0 comments
Since the start of the war against the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, Iraq’s Sunni Arab powerbrokers have aligned with the dominant Shi’a parties and their associated militias in partnerships based on local security and economic ties. The Sunni Arab elite have enjoyed political, economic, and military privileges from serving as the junior partners to the Shi’a militias – including the Badr Organization (Badr) and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) – in security cooperation, smuggling networks, and electoral blocs.
by David M. Tillman | Wed, 11/11/2020 - 9:54pm | 0 comments
This article examines the effects of Russian Active Measures in the United States’ domestic information environment, and explores potential countermeasures that may be implemented to combat these ongoing non-kinetic operations. For the purpose of this discourse, Active Measures is defined as covert or overt actions aimed at influencing major world events, and is often conducted within the various virtual domains that comprise the information environment. Despite the deep history of information warfare between the U.S. and Russia, we have failed to effectively adapt our strategy to reduce the impacts of these destabilizing operations in an ever-expanding domestic information environment. In order to counteract Russian Active Measures “…there needs to be a coordinated effort across the U.S. Government to organize in a manner that encompasses the full spectrum of the information domain.”
by Anthony Ippoliti | Wed, 11/11/2020 - 12:18pm | 0 comments
Iranian maritime actions in the Persian Gulf have gained renewed attention after a mid-August statement by the U.S. military that Iranian forces had boarded a civilian vessel operating in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The ship in question was reportedly linked to a company that had been previously sanctioned by the United States for supporting the shipment of restricted Iranian oil, and was no longer cooperating with the Iranian regime as a result of those sanctions. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Government seized Iranian petroleum being transported in violation of U.S. sanctions by four foreign-flagged vessels operating on the high seas.  The petroleum in question was en route to Venezuela, which is an Iranian ally.
by Ryan Gardiner | Wed, 11/11/2020 - 11:59am | 0 comments
Turkey’s use of bellicose rhetoric, zero-sum diplomacy, and ham-fisted military actions have isolated it from its historical NATO partners, pushing it into the welcoming embrace of America’s primary adversaries, Russia and China. Yet, while U.S. diplomats view this troublesome NATO partner with frustration, they should apply all of the economic, technological, and diplomatic leverage they have to resuscitate this relationship due as much to the harm Turkey could cause as to the benefits it could deliver.
by Alan Cunningham | Wed, 11/11/2020 - 11:54am | 1 comment
The U.S. Army Special Forces, the “Green Berets”, are the premier special operations unit of the United States Army. Born out of a need for a covert force dealing with Cold War-era operations, the Green Berets were trained as both a military and diplomatic force. The forces are trained in a variety of military tactics, ranging from intelligence gathering to direct action to counterinsurgency (COIN). However, the most important core activity that the Green Berets undertake is that of foreign internal defense (FID), defined as being “the participation by civilian agencies and military forces of a government or international organization in any of the programs or activities taken by a host nation government to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, violent extremism, terrorism, and other threats to its security ”
by Robert Bunker | Tue, 11/10/2020 - 9:02pm | 0 comments
Book review of Steven Dudley, "MS-13: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang." Dudley chronicles the many lives of MS-13 gang members to tell the story of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in the United States and El Salvador.
by Ivor Wiltenburg, by Martijn Kitzen | Mon, 11/09/2020 - 4:14pm | 1 comment
In contemporary military interventions, Training, Advising and Assistance-missions (TAA) have become a mainstay. In most Western states, this is defined as ‘Military Assistance’, a Special Operations Force (SOF) prerogative. Recent interventions have necessitated conventional forces to partake in TAA-type operations, as SOF forces became operationally stretched. To conventional forces, this has become known as ‘Security Force Assistance (SFA). However, by utilizing conventional forces for TAA-type operations, a doctrinal ambiguity between ‘Military Assistance’ and ‘Security Force Assistance’ has arisen.
by Will Corry | Mon, 11/09/2020 - 3:54pm | 0 comments
The United States’ experience with irregular warfare is not exclusive to our more than fifteen-year engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. The tactics, strategies, or lack thereof, and foundations of irregular warfare have been employed by the United States dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and combatted in the Philippines and Vietnam. The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made irregular warfare more ‘regular’ than conventional warfare in my lifetime. As United States security and defense policy shifts its focus away from these irregular conflicts to great power conflict with China and Russia, the United States will undoubtedly still face irregular warfare for the rest of the 21st century and U.S. ability to combat irregular warfare will not be without challenges.
by Paul W. Taylor | Sun, 11/08/2020 - 6:00pm | 0 comments
This article attempts an audacious undertaking: to lay the foundations for a theoretical construct for all forms of indirect statecraft. It approaches this task from an unconventional warfare perspective, but the model used is intended to be flexible enough to apply to the full breadth of what George Kennan called Political Warfare. Such an overarching theory has not yet been developed, despite having been a near constant of concern of states throughout history. This lack of intellectual foundation stems in part from a continuing misapprehension of U.S. military and civilian strategists of a war/peace dichotomy, as identified nearly 60 years ago in Kennan’s Policy Planning Memorandum, as well as a fixation on linear phase constructs.
by David Kimsey, by Jin Woo Kim, by John McCoy, by Charles Cuddy | Sun, 11/08/2020 - 5:51pm | 1 comment
This article conducts a three-country case study analysis with a focus and emphasis on the elements of national power as the analytic framework.  Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic, Financial, Intelligence, Law Enforcement (DIMEFIL) are the elements of national power.  By showcasing examples across the DIMEFIL in the three countries, we provide examples of how the military effort alone does not lead to success.  Therefore, while important, the military aspect of national power must be leveraged in synch with the other elements of national power requiring fundamental interactions and cooperation through a whole of government approach to security cooperation success. 
by Kutluer Karademir, by Mahmut Cengiz | Sun, 11/08/2020 - 5:27pm | 0 comments
For many years, Turkey was a model country in the Middle East for its potential to combine Islam and democracy. Recent publications in the Western world has been labeling Turkey as an “uncertain ally” or mafia state, and international reports have been emphasizing how opponents of the Turkish government are targeted with scant evidence citing ongoing torture practices by antiterror and organized crime units of the police.
by Paolo Pizzolo | Sun, 11/08/2020 - 4:57pm | 0 comments
This paper aims to investigate to what extent the rival projects of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union on one hand and the Eastern Partnership promoted by the European Union on the other have been successful tools in integrating the countries of the South Caucasus region. It argues that, due to security issues and economic dependence, the Eurasian integration has been successful in the case of Armenia, but unsuccessful in relation to Georgia and Azerbaijan: in the case of Georgia, its Euro-Atlantic inclination and its territorial parcellation after the 2008 war averted the country’s likelihood to join Russian-led organizations, although the breakaway of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has likewise impeded or slowed down Euro-Atlantic integration
by Austin G. Commons | Sun, 11/08/2020 - 4:43pm | 2 comments
As the United States military shifts its focus from low-intensity conflict to large scale combat operations against near-peer competitors, the time and resources necessary to train for the latter detract from those needed to train for the former. Unfortunately, history and current events alike show us that low-intensity conflict will continue to be the norm. In looking toward the future of U.S. security force assistance, it may be useful to revisit a familiar scenario: a strategically important Middle Eastern country, poorly governed, threatened from within by insurgents backed by external global powers. While this narrative could be pulled from any number of recent headlines, the case in question takes place fifty years ago in the Sultanate of Oman.
by Anna Simons | Thu, 11/05/2020 - 6:56pm | 2 comments
In classic anthropological fashion, this paper uses an unusual "puzzle:" why might Special Forces soldiers engage in shirtless weightlifting in the middle of a sandstorm during an annual exercise in the Sahel? Asking this question opens the door to re-thinking how SOF operator sensibilities have changed over time -- as well as how they might need to change some more given Great Power competition.