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 Sarah Morrison | Mon, 04/18/2022 - 6:06pm | 0 comments
Russia has a long history of using propaganda and disinformation campaigns as a tool of information warfare. The following paper will examine this history before reviewing Russia's 2014 annexure of Crimea. In support of this research, Twitter data on the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency during the annexure of Crimea will be examined. The paper will demonstrate that Russia produced a repetitive message supported by trusted sources through Twitter. However, Russia's information operations still displayed characteristics of Russian active measure campaigns dating back centuries.
by Chuck de Caro | Sun, 04/17/2022 - 12:01pm | 0 comments
The United States must decide, now, to deny Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the world’s greatest (presently living) usurper of democracy, his personal war aims. Those aims are being manifested in his smothering of Ukraine by the indiscriminate slaughter of the Ukrainian people and by his lust for possession of Ukraine’s enormous gas fields, the equally gigantic ArcelorMittal steel complex, all her Black Sea ports, and the Dnieper River water supply to Crimea.  All in the name of Putin’s Greater Russia.
by Tomos Holmes Davies | Sat, 04/16/2022 - 3:12pm | 0 comments
This paper revisits military cultural intelligence, a capability used by the British and Americans in their COIN operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, to secure the support or neutrality of the population. Military cultural intelligence involved gathering cultural information to communicate and engage more effectively with the local people, with the aim of securing their support or neutrality. Drawing on the first-hand accounts of a small group of former high-ranking military personnel (six from the UK and one from the US) this paper examines three problems with the application of military cultural intelligence in the two conflicts. However, instead of using these problems to argue for its abandonment, it discusses how these might be remedied. Crucially, it argues that cultural intelligence should not be cast aside or forgotten, and its importance has not diminished. As we enter a new era of heightened geopolitical tension, NATO and its allies are likely to face a range of threats, not only that of conventional war, but also irregular war and insurgency. It is therefore paramount to discuss this significant capability, to be prepared for future challenges.
by Nilda M. Garcia | Fri, 04/15/2022 - 4:13pm | 1 comment
Review of James E. Creechan's "Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds: The Transformation of Mexico’s Narco Cartels" by Nilda M. Garcia
by Chijindu Okpalaoka | Fri, 04/15/2022 - 11:31am | 0 comments
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's longest-running conflicts, having lasted 54 years since Israel's control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Numerous attempts to end the dispute have been attempted as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. This research was anchored on the ethnonational conflict theory with heavy dependence on secondary data in analyzing the Israeli-Palestinian war and the effectiveness of the Israeli defense forces. This research discovered that Israel suffered some civilian casualties, though the Israeli defense forces were very effective in the Israeli-Palestinian war.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Wed, 04/13/2022 - 4:41pm | 3 comments
Ukraine is about to get (or maybe now just started receiving) Western anti-ship missiles and may even have its own advanced anti-ship missiles almost ready for deployment.  A small number of such missiles could wipe out all of Russia’s big surface warships near Ukraine in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov or push Russian ships out of range and too far away to be able to meaningfully support Russia’s war effort.  This missile technology in the hands of Ukraine’s competent and adaptive fighters will be a game-changer much like Javelin and other anti-tank missiles have been for Ukraine against Russian armor thus far in Putin’s failing war.
by Lark S. Escobar | Sun, 04/10/2022 - 12:00am | 1 comment
  Gender performativity in Indian Kashmir reflects specific notions of masculinity according to behavioral expectations and ideals established through the prevailing patriarchal hegemony, which leads to violent extremism and radicalization of Kashmiri men. Patriarchy is the institutionalization that empowers certain men over everyone else in society, bestowing privilege upon that particular population through the systemic marginalization of women, ethnic minorities, or other protected-class identifiers. In other words, patriarchal hegemony propagates gender roles that maintain control over the feminine members of society. Because patriarchy is socially constructed on the basis of gender biases, various behaviors, roles, and social symbols may be construed as feminine or weak.  The gendering of types of labor, exclusive power-holding within the government, domestic violence, other violence, policing sexuality, and the objectification of women in the public sphere (the male gaze) are all products of hegemonic masculinity in Indian Kashmir. These indicators reflect the performance of masculinity as it is currently valued in the patriarchal context. 
by Jeremy Kofsky, by Julian Tsukano | Sat, 04/09/2022 - 1:13pm | 0 comments
General Vandergrift could not have been more succinct to the U.S. Senate on May 6, 1946, when giving his now famous Bended Knee speech.  He must have dutifully recalled the very horrors, difficulties, and triumphs that became Operation Watchtower at Guadalcanal.  This essay will seek to lay the argument that in the next war in the Pacific, the ability of the Marine Corps alongside the US Navy, to control critical sea lanes via small craft will be critical to victory much like the Patrol Boat was to the many amphibious operations in World War II.  
by Don Bolduc | Sat, 04/09/2022 - 12:59pm | 0 comments
The current military leadership training serves the military well, but only brings the leadership so far and falls short in dealing with the leadership challenges involving trauma with their service members or the way trauma adversely affects leadership.  In fact, the current doctrine might work fine in peacetime, or if there was/is a never-ending supply of “fresh legs” but that is not the case.  This all-voluntary force has been sent back to War repeatedly and those who did not go to War were serving in an operational climate supporting warfighters, which is stressful and taxing in and of itself.
by Dale Pankhurst | Fri, 04/08/2022 - 11:06am | 0 comments
During periods of conflict and civil war, states often use pro-government militias (PGMs) as mechanisms within their counterinsurgent strategy when combatting rebel forces. Justification for using PGMs are grounded in several factors: these pro-government non-state actors can act as force multipliers for fledging states, bolstering state security forces under pressure from an insurgent threat. They often exhibit high levels of localised knowledge which proves beneficial in combatting rebel insurgencies, and they offer a low-cost counterinsurgency force. In some cases, weak states will delegate power and authority to PGMs to conduct violence on behalf of the state.
by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Fri, 04/08/2022 - 12:11am | 2 comments
On 30 March 2022, a woman with a baby was arrested by at the Novo Rio Bus Station for transporting a .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle in her luggage. Her husband is a fugitive and one of the leaders of the Comando Vermelho Norte (Red Command North) in Belém, Pará, Brazil. The arrest was carried out by civilian police officers of the Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE – Drug Enforcement Division). The transportation of illicit items such as weapons, narcotics, and cash by females with young children accompanying them is a common gang and cartel trafficking method meant to throw off authorities.
by Mahmut Cengiz, by Layla M. Hashemi, by Vladimir Semizhonov | Thu, 04/07/2022 - 11:26pm | 0 comments
This article analyzes how Turkey, Iran, and Russia use alternative ways to seek regional and global influence. They have created shadowy organizations in the forms of official armed forces and private military companies and exploit them to pursue their interests. With a focus on SADAT in Turkey, the IRGC in Iran, and the Wagner Group in Russia, the article showcases the foundations of these organizations and their involvement in domestic, regional, and global affairs. These shadowy organizations have been practical tools to target and repress the opposition who are seen as threatening to the existence of regimes at home as well as to expand the influence of these states outside of their borders. Finally, the article sheds light on future risks posed by these organizations and underlines why the world needs to turn its attention to shadowy organizations whose exploitations provide plausible deniability for the local and international violence, conflict, or illicit activity caused by Turkey, Iran, and Russia.
by Peter Wilcox | Wed, 04/06/2022 - 9:11pm | 1 comment
As the crisis between Russia and Ukraine unfolded, it became clear that Russia’s propaganda model was at play, but interestingly the model seems to have had little success garnering significant support over the very claims used to justify Russia’s wanton and unfounded attack, which had the explicit aim for an outright invasion. Given the resounding unified international condemnation—to say nothing of Russia’s mass protest demonstrators, numbering in the thousands--and with no major super-global power supporting Russia at the moment, it appears its false-flag narrative has floundered. This essay reflects on some of the Kremlin’s current blunders to date in setting conditions in the information environment for a successful false-flag narrative that should have preceded its false-flag operation. These blunders should caution U.S. defense planners that those who ignore the impact of a hyperconnected global information environment on modern conflict do so at great peri
by Sean T. Madden, by James S. Gibbs, by Andrew L. Falkenstine | Wed, 04/06/2022 - 10:04am | 0 comments
Current U.S. foreign relations policies do not properly address the significant threat that the evolving Sino-Russian relationship poses to U.S. national security. Current foreign relation decisions regarding China and Russia are made without regard of one impacting the other. Alternatively, senior leaders should consider how any strategy, decision, or agreement we make with one country affects that country’s relationship with the other. There are four plausible outcomes of the continued Sino-Russian relationship described in this article: Partnership, Adversaries, Alliance, and War. The U.S. has the ability to influence the Sino-Russian relationship; however, to do so will require influencing both nations in a unified strategy.
by Alexander Kupatadze | Wed, 04/06/2022 - 9:54am | 0 comments
Russia is now the most sanctioned economy in the world. These unprecedented sanctions open new frontiers of illegal activity. The likely outcome is the expansion of illicit supply chains for delivering regulated/prohibited goods (e.g., luxury goods, machinery and technology) and foreign currency cash to Russia. The fungibility of the gold reserves that Russia owns and hopes to use as an economic lifeline, also depends on shadow and illicit gold markets.  As the commercial entities in neighbouring countries and Russia’s trade partners shy away from direct complicity in sanctions-busting fearing secondary sanctions from the West, Russian intelligence agencies, private companies and illicit proxies of Russian state e.g., Russian organised crime networks are the best candidates for picking up the slack. Depending on the longevity of sanctions the Russian economy may become widely dependent on illicit supply chains and associated criminal networks.
by Richard M. Ingleby | Tue, 04/05/2022 - 11:58am | 0 comments
For three-quarters of a century the West has consistently looked at the USSR and subsequent Russian Federation as its premier adversary, even using it as its primary example of a “near peer” in more recent decades. Trillions have been spent to prepare for conflict against them, along with massive amounts of energy and focus. So much so that on multiple occasions we have even taken our eye off of actual ongoing conflicts to focus on preparation for the Russian foe.
by Robert Alan Murphy | Mon, 04/04/2022 - 7:39pm | 0 comments
           Russia has exposed itself as a martial charlatan; possessed of a third-rate military whose only claim to military vigor lies in its nuclear inventory. In 2022, as in 2016, The Matryoshka is empty. Putin’s ill-conceived invasion of Ukraine has not only bared the depths of Russia’s incompetence, it has shaken America’s normally ambivalent European allies back into acquiescence with NATO’s defense spending guidelines. The US is presented with the opportunity to disencumber itself from forward deployed forces and shift European security back to Europeans, while simultaneously reallocating resources to more valid security concerns. Russia is depleted, Europe is invigorated, and America can refocus.
by Patrick Walsh | Mon, 04/04/2022 - 7:16pm | 2 comments
What can the transition of power from Great Britain to the United States of America in the 19th and 20th centuries tell us about the modern-day competition between China and the United States? That is the question Kori Schake attempts to answer in her 2017 book Safe Passage: The Transition From British to American Hegemony. Dr. Schake states that the transition of global hegemony from the United Kingdom to the United States was the only peaceful transition of power in world history. Safe Passage uses key historical moments to study and explain the tense, but ultimately peaceful events that highlight the engagements between these two nations.
by Bill Gormley | Sun, 04/03/2022 - 10:11pm | 0 comments
Afghanistan did not have to become a failure nor America’s longest war. It was a conflict which was a great opportunity to show American mastery of hard and soft power. From my admittedly limited perspective, America’s failure to achieve its aims was avoidable if realistic expectations were articulated, appropriate resources were applied when needed, and basic military doctrines and processes were followed, while not discouraging creativity and initiative. Too many leaders dismissed many of the lessons of counter insurgency warfare learned in the last century.
by Scott Butler | Sun, 04/03/2022 - 9:58pm | 0 comments
Having initially been established to support, enable, and grow the investment that was the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the overall Afghan security apparatus, Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB) are now increasing their presence worldwide, deploying regionally aligned units in small Advising Teams, in order to compete with other adversaries, and to support US partners[1]. This new six-month deployment model, designed to provide persistent coverage with Foreign Security Force (FSF) partners at the tactical and operational level, is a significant step in the right direction of re-focusing security assistance at the “competition” phase. Furthermore, it addresses the critical need of providing FSF partners with not only the means to accomplish their missions, but also to operational and tactical understanding of the employment of those capabilities[2]. Unfortunately, while the organizational structure is in place, the US Army has still shown an unwillingness to fully commit to security force assistance in the competition and crisis phase, with a model that will create the continuity, consistency, longevity and commitment needed to win at the point of contact.
by Jim Crotty | Sun, 04/03/2022 - 9:48pm | 0 comments
Much of my professional career has been spent analyzing drug trafficking trends and U.S. counterdrug efforts.  Never has the situation seemed so bleak.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 105,700 Americans died from drug overdoses in the past year, a five percent increase from the year before, and the highest number on record.  Of these, nearly 90 percent were attributed to synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, which dominate the U.S. drug market and are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45 – more than car accidents, firearms, and Covid-19.
by Mark A. Grey | Sun, 04/03/2022 - 9:42pm | 0 comments
The outpouring of support for refugees flooding across the Ukraine border into neighboring nations stands in sharp contrast to European efforts to curtail much smaller migrations from other parts of Europe, Africa and elsewhere. The images of Europeans at train stations holding cardboard signs inviting refugees into their homes and leaving diapers and baby strollers at border crossings confirm this wave of refugees as authentic, worthy of compassion. Yet, it was just a few months ago when EU and NATO nations actively sought to prevent far smaller numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere crossing into Poland and Lithuania from Belarus. Closing down that border recognized Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko’s cynical use of human beings as a weapon to “destabilize its democratic neighbors” as part of what the President of the European Commission called a “hybrid attack.” Again, refugees have become a “tool of war.”
by Chuck de Caro | Sun, 04/03/2022 - 8:25pm | 0 comments
Given the US and NATO reluctance to establish a No-Fly Zone or to overtly provide surplus Polish Migs-29 to the Ukrainians, the United States might want to reconsider the entire concept of a “No Fly Zone,” an air exclusion zone over a defined area through which hostile aircraft will be intercepted and destroyed. 
by Daniel Weisz | Fri, 04/01/2022 - 7:31pm | 0 comments
Information warfare is a critical component of Mexican cartels’ battle against the state and one another. Some cartels, such as the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), engage in propaganda campaigns portraying their military might focusing upon their armored vehicles and high-caliber weapons. Other times this may express itself as censorship and control over the media, e.g., story suppression and the killing of reporters. An interesting case that showcases how information operations (IO) are a critical component of the Mexican drug war comes from the internal struggle to control the Sinaloa Cartel that intensified when “El Chapo” Guzmán was extradited.
by Todd Moulton | Fri, 04/01/2022 - 7:01am | 0 comments
United States (US) military history indicates the U.S. will more likely perform actions against irregular forces vice large-scale combat operations, denoting the necessity for the services to maintain fundamental knowledge of counterinsurgency tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Although the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) shifted the military’s focus to strategic competition, the armed forces should not forget the lessons the services learned from its counterinsurgency missions during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
by Brent Stricker | Thu, 03/31/2022 - 8:23pm | 0 comments
The last 20 years of Counterinsurgency employing precision strikes against an enemy force hidden amongst the civilian population has required a legal review of suck strikes before they are ordered to minimize incidental and collateral damage to civilians and protected places. The Marine Corps’ shift toward Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) that calls for a “an alternative forward force posture based on a more difficult to target, low-signature, and dispersed forward-basing infrastructure” reverses those roles particularly when considering the requirement to make use of civilian infrastructure to maintain that low profile.
by Santiago Previde | Wed, 03/30/2022 - 11:01pm | 3 comments
Next month is the 40th anniversary of the Falkland-Malvinas War between the UK and Argentina. Although from 1987, the memoir of Julian Thompson, commander of the British brigade that landed on the islands is still relevant today,
by Christjan Gaudio | Wed, 03/30/2022 - 10:45pm | 0 comments
It is time for the United States (US) to develop a land-oriented sister military service to the United States Coast Guard. This organization should combine the uniformed components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the military police components of the Department of Defense (DOD) and focus on force protection and security missions domestically and overseas. Similar to the Coast Guard, this new uniformed law enforcement organization should be a full-fledged member of the Joint Force, working within the DHS and seconded to the DOD depending on mission requirements.
by John Mac Ghlionn | Tue, 03/29/2022 - 10:24pm | 0 comments
Lede: Cancel culture is bad. This is not a controversial statement to make. It’s the antithesis of everything a free and open society stands for. As the author Steve Maroboli so accurately noted, cancel culture flourishes “because we accept (and gluttonously consume) social violence. We no longer seek truth or both sides of a story. Whichever side is loudest, wins… regardless of its relationship to the truth.” In this climate, to paraphrase a well-known motto, " the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Absolutely nothing good comes from cancel culture. The same, though, is true for worship culture. In this particular environment, mere mortals are deified, venerated, and idolized. When it comes to the dangers of worship culture, China provides a valuable lesson.
by Brent Stricker | Tue, 03/29/2022 - 10:07pm | 0 comments
         A fallacy of the Cold War was the strategic importance of the GIUK Gap. The GIUK Gap is a 700 mile stretch of ocean between Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland that NATO planners thought Soviet naval forces would have to transit to attack allied shipping in the North Atlantic bound for Europe to fight a conventional land war against Warsaw Pact forces invading Europe. This Third Battle of the Atlantic was based on previous experiences from the Second World War. This fallacy was once correct until more advanced Soviet submarines were developed with longer range missiles.
by Ben Phocas | Tue, 03/29/2022 - 10:00pm | 0 comments
When the 1863 Civil War Siege of Vicksburg is mentioned, few who are familiar with the battle would describe urban warfare as one of the defining features. The battles and siege that comprised the Vicksburg campaign were fought entirely outside the confines of the city. Some of the more prominent aspects of this campaign could include the rampant disease, starvation, endless swamps and bayous, and oppressive heat that characterize the Mississippi Delta region of the United States. That being said, the battle does provide some very valuable takeaways for students of modern urban warfare, as the Union forces were able to successfully capture a zealously defended fortress city, without stepping a foot inside of it.
by John Mac Ghlionn | Sun, 03/27/2022 - 8:01pm | 0 comments
Vladimir Putin is, by all accounts, a strongman who rules with an iron fist. He is unashamedly narcissistic, and this narcissism fuels his megalomaniacal obsessions, or so we have been led to believe. However, such insights from so-called experts leave a lot to be desired. In fact, such insights are both lazy and unhelpful. Designed to titillate rather than inform, such articles do little to answer the following question: why fuel Vladimir Putin's dangerous behavior?
by Jesse Humpal | Sat, 03/26/2022 - 9:42pm | 0 comments
In a mostly symbolic bill, Representative Mooney from West Virginia introduced a resolution arguing the United States Government should not infringe upon the ability of American citizens to act in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs. It already doesn’t. The opposite is actually true, but this bill would force states to allow churches to become pseudo sovereign entities. The left also wants this, albeit for different reasons. Religious freedom, not religious autonomy, should be the actual goal as this is in fact uniquely American. The United States, contrary to most other liberal democracies, maintains a very symbiotic relationship between the state and religious groups, keeping religious organizations very public and very protected. The American way for publicly supported religion should be maintained because the alternative–either the right or left ideal–promotes an environment ripe for extreme indoctrination.
by Pablo A. Baisotti | Fri, 03/25/2022 - 6:27pm | 0 comments
Este artículo analiza el impacto de la pandemia de Covid-19 en la delincuencia y la violencia, relacionadas con las drogas en Argentina. Al contrario de lo supuesto al inicio de la pandemia, el narcotráfico en Argentina encontró una situación provechosa para su expansión hacia las diversas regiones del país, especialmente en el conurbano bonaerense, el área que rodea a la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CABA) y que abarca 24 municipios en dos cordones y posee alrededor del 20% de la población total del país. Esta es la zona más pobre de la provincia de Buenos Aires (aunque no toda esta región es pobre), así como Rosario y sus alrededores, lo son para la provincia de Santa Fe. El crecimiento de la criminalidad se sustentó en la situación sanitaria, la debilidad del Estado con la creciente corrupción, y el aumento de la demanda de drogas. Dos consecuencias visibles fueron el resurgimiento de las “guerras de bandas” criminales y la baja calidad de las drogas (en su mayoría adulteradas), que causaron víctimas entre los ciudadanos (tanto por el consumo como por la inseguridad).
by William Plowright | Fri, 03/25/2022 - 7:17am | 0 comments
In the days following the launch of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one particular event quickly went viral. In the story, on February 24th a Russian naval vessel radioed a group of Ukrainian soldiers stationed on the unpopulated Snake Island, ordering them to surrender or face death. Though vastly overpowered, the Ukrainian soldiers radioed back their simple response; “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.” According to the story, the small group of thirteen soldiers were obliterated by the firepower
by Pablo A. Baisotti | Thu, 03/24/2022 - 4:01am | 0 comments
This article looks at impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on drug related crime and violence in Argentina. Contrary to what was assumed at the beginning of the pandemic, drug trafficking in Argentina found a profitable situation for expansion in various regions of the country, especially in the conurbano bonaerense, the suburbs or Greater Buenos Aires surrounding the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA)—the poorest area of Buenos Aires (although not all of this region is poor)—and Rosario and its surroundings, in the province of Santa Fe. The growth was sustained by the health situation, the weakness of the state with growing corruption, and the increase in demand for drugs. Two visible consequences were the resurgence of criminal “gang wars” and the low quality of drugs (most of them adulterated), which caused casualties among citizens, (due to consumption and insecurity).
by Michael J. Mooney | Wed, 03/23/2022 - 2:47pm | 0 comments
“In war,” as B.H. Liddell-Hart, observed, “the chief incalculable is the human will.” As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues drag on, this truism regarding the immutable nature of war has become readily evident as the fighting creeps into the suburbs of Kyiv. And one which Russian President Vladimir Putin is either ignorant of, or has purposely ignored: “guts” is more important than “stuff”. More accurately stated, “will” matters more than “means”. While the outcome of this conflict is far from decided – much still could (and mostly likely will) go badly for the Ukraine and its people – that this has been lost on the Russian leader could be his undoing.
by Kane Tomlin | Tue, 03/22/2022 - 9:03pm | 0 comments
According to the Victim Identity Model (VIM), I believe that the US and Western Intelligence Community (IC) played a pivotal role in the inevitable defeat of Russia in their war with Ukraine.  The main hypothesis of the VIM is “that a prerequisite for organized forms of collective violence is a motivated organizational leadership element that convinces his or her followers of their in-group victim status. This vicarious in-group victimization legitimizes the stated retaliatory causes of the group, subsumes individual responsibility to the group, and enables psychologically normal group members to commit violence against their perceived aggressors.”
by Josh Bedingfield | Tue, 03/22/2022 - 8:54pm | 0 comments
Among the many problems Putin’s war in Ukraine presents the U.S. Army is a highly dynamic and complex situation leaders must continually reassess. Army officers cannot fully understand complex situations like this while turning a blind eye to the history of Ukraine. If the Army wants to prepare officers to understand and win in increasingly complex environments, it must first reverse an ahistoric culture and restore officers’ historical mindedness. History is an invaluable tool the Army overlooks in favor of a culture fueled by brevity, data points, and soundbites. Restoring officers’ historical mindedness requires small changes to U.S. Army doctrine, military education, and professional development programs. Operationalizing history will improve officers’ ability to understand the environments they operate in, helps them avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and enhances Army operations in support of U.S. national strategy. The Army owes the joint force officers capable of synthesizing historical wisdom to enhance operational outcomes. The alternative is an Army ignorant of how past and concession of this cognitive advantage to America’s adversaries.
by John Q. Bolton, by Derik R. Zitelman | Tue, 03/22/2022 - 8:32pm | 0 comments
As Putin’s war rages in Ukraine and Washington debates how to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces without engaging in direct military conflict with Russia, one cannot help but draw parallels with Taiwan. If Ukraine serves as the frontline for the defense of democracy in Europe, then Taiwan is democracy’s frontline in the Asia-Pacific. A vibrant democracy of 23 million people sits roughly 100 miles across an increasingly aggressive authoritarian regime with the world’s largest Navy and arguably one of the world’s most powerful militaries. Beijing is committed to reunifying Taiwan with Mainland China by 2049, using force if necessary. Given ongoing discussions regarding how the United States would defend Taiwan against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the PRC threat, much is lost regarding what defines American interests. This paper outlines American interests in geographic, economic, and normative terms. We conclude that Taiwan’s economic and geopolitical positions are less important than the normative value protecting a viable democracy juxtaposed against the PRC.
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 03/21/2022 - 9:54pm | 0 comments
Please refer to our editorial policy here: We seek to give a platform to authentic voices, regardless of the position held by the authors, to advance the discussion of national security issues.  Publication does not mean that Small Wars Journal agrees with the position of any author.  We agree with S.G. Tallentyre: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Small Wars Journal supports global democratic values and freedoms in the face of authoritarian aggression. -Dave Maxwell, editor, SWJ
by Christopher Zambakari | Mon, 03/21/2022 - 9:53pm | 0 comments
In recent weeks, there has been no shortage of news reports, political opinions and military analyses in an effort to dissect the growing crisis in Ukraine, a country the size of Texas with 43.7 million inhabitants. Embedded in the coverage has been the media’s portrayal of the military operation as simply a matter of Russian aggression; business, in other words, as usual. As in any war and conflict, truth is the first casualty.
by John Bolton, by Andrew Senesac | Thu, 03/17/2022 - 9:31am | 0 comments
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers plenty of lessons for military leaders, especially regarding how armies operate in a social media environment. Most interesting is the emergence of the soldier-shooter-texter (SST) as both a fighter and operational-level enabler of multiple battlefield systems, especially intelligence and fires.  Undoubtedly, the slowness of the Russian advance owes much to stiff Ukrainian resistance, the extensive period Russian units spent deployed prior to the February invasion, and the Russian reliance on poorly led and misinformed conscripts. Russia’s inability to rapidly seize Kyiv and poor use of airpower against the smaller Ukrainian Military are shocking, with an estimated 4,000 dead Russian servicemen in just two weeks. What looks like a planned punitive expedition has bogged down into a war of attrition.
by Philip Wasielewski | Mon, 03/14/2022 - 9:26pm | 0 comments
Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine is now three weeks old.  President Putin’s goals for this euphemistically named “special military operation” are the [sic] denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.  “Denazification” is short hand for removing a constitutionally elected government and replacing it with a puppet one.  Demilitarization means imposing conditions that will make Ukraine perpetually weak and subservient to Moscow.  For Putin, this is a war of regime change to make Ukraine a vassal of Russia.
by Mahbube K. Siddiki | Sat, 03/12/2022 - 8:30pm | 0 comments
The Nanotechnology industry in China is moving forward, with substantially high levels of funding, a growing talent pool, and robust international collaborations. The strong state commitment to support this field of science and technology is a key advantage for China to compete with leading forces like US, EU, Japan, and Russia. The Chinese government focuses on increasing competitiveness in nanotechnology by its inclusion as strategic industry in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, reconfirming state funding, legislative and regulatory support. Research and development (R&D) in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is a key component of the ambitious ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative aimed at turning China into a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse.
by Erwin Bieri | Sat, 03/12/2022 - 8:19pm | 0 comments
If one has the monopoly on information, then the one-eyed man is king. Access to information does impact command and control and may even reverse the chain of command. In this article the interrogators, informants, and interpreters of the Netherlands Marine Corps Brigade, collectively known as “Employés Speciale Diensten” (Special Services Employees) during the Dutch East Indies Decolonization War of 1945-1950 are studied. The Employés Speciale Diensten (ESDs) were indigenous soldiers who effectively used their cultural background and skills as a secret weapon against Indonesian freedom fighters. This article scrutinizes the military's position, ESDs' motivations to serve, and post-war discrimination of these veterans.
by Brent Stricker | Tue, 03/08/2022 - 6:23pm | 0 comments
The Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on the night of 3-4 March 2022] raises concerns that its damage or destruction could release radioactive material or cause a nuclear meltdown that endangers people or the natural environment. While details of the Russian action are uncertain, this same concern arose from Russian armed forces seizing the Chernobyl site. ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and one of four such installations in Ukraine housing 15 nuclear reactors. These installations provide half of Ukraine’s electricity. The importance of this critical infrastructure to the civilian population and the potential catastrophic release of radioactive material poses challenging questions in the law of armed conflict.   
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Tue, 03/08/2022 - 6:15pm | 1 comment
After well over a year of isolation induced by the COVD-19 pandemic, it seems Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has become so detached from reality with his wild Ukraine gamble that he may finally have adventured too far, stumbling into a trap entirely of his own making.  Surprising as it is, this time it is distinctly possible his aggression, ultimately, will not provide him with any way to save face: no “offramp,” as the media seems to love to refer to a possible endgame that leaves him comfortable and not in a weak and unstable position at best (for him) or ousted at worst (obviously, the latter would be ideal for us).
by Guido Torres | Sun, 03/06/2022 - 4:42pm | 0 comments
Two decades of war have left the nation weary of intervening abroad. The nation’s most protracted conflict has taken a toll on the country, its citizens, the military, and its reputation on the international stage. However, war was inevitable after the most brazen and deadly attacks on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001. Critics have argued that going abroad as the world’s protector of democracy has unnecessarily placed it in the crosshairs of many. During the Trump administration, and even today, many have echoed the comments of John Quincy Adams’ famous foreign policy speech to not interfere in the interests of other nations. Instead, those same pundits and politicians prefer to focus domestically on America’s preservation and vitality.
by Charles T. Pinck | Sat, 03/05/2022 - 1:42pm | 1 comment
The OSS Society offers support to the Ukrainian resistance and hopes all freedom loving people around the world will do what they can to help defend a free and democratic Ukraine.