Small Wars Journal

IW

Lessons in Working with Indigenous Forces

Between June 2015 and August 2016, I fought as a volunteer with the Kurdish YPG against the Islamic State in Syria. That timespan saw the creation of what became the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a disparate conglomeration of different groups of multiple ethnicities, that all had the common goal of destroying ISIS, a goal that has territorially been achieved but is in actuality far from complete.

About the Author(s)

Weaponization of Metaphors in Russian Propaganda: Sexual Violence, as State Sovereignty Violation

The deployment of these “cognitive munitions” in the current “hot” stage of political warfare confrontation between Russia and the West should serve as a stark reminder that multiple “defusing” initiatives should be actively developed and implemented, aiming at raising the cognitive protection levels at military and civilian institutions alike.

About the Author(s)

Assessment of the Legion as the Ideal Small Wars Force Structure

After the Massacre at the Wabash in 1791, George Washington and Henry Knox reformed the U.S. Army as the Legion of the United States. The Legion was a self-contained modular army composed of four identical combined-arms units. During the Fallen Timbers campaign, the Legion proved itself the ideal force structure for use in small wars. The Brigade Combat Team is the closest the U.S. Army has ever come to reviving the legionary structure.

About the Author(s)

Control the Information Environment Narrative…or the Threat Will

Strategic competitors like Russia and China are using old technologies in new ways while also employing new advanced technology to fight their enemies in all domains (space, cyber, air, sea, and land). This required the U.S. Army to evolve and adapt the way it wants to fight by publishing “Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) 2028” as the cornerstone for the Joint force to militarily compete, penetrate, dis-integrate, and exploit future adversaries. While air, land, and sea domains have been prevalent since World War II, the relative new-comers of Cyber and Space are still establishing their doctrinal foundation in modern warfare.

About the Author(s)

The US Presidency and Small Wars: Genealogy of the Mismanagement of International Conflict

It could be argued that Presidential war power was significantly reduced by Congress' War Powers Act of 1973, yet today in the post-September 11th, 2001 era, we are dealing with a Presidency that has been allowed to mismanage conflict through successive administrations leaving it to the other to end conflicts started by the former. Herein lies the contradiction of limit and power embedded within the DNA of the Presidency: the limit of time to see a conflict from beginning to end, and the enormous amount of presidential war power to start a conflict without the consent of Congress. This is where mismanagement begins and ends, with the new occupant of the office and their advisors.

About the Author(s)

Assessment of the Role of Small Wars within the Evolving Paradigm of Great Power Competition in a Multipolar World

This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. More information about the writing contest can be found here.

About the Author(s)

Improvised Explosive Devices, a Near Perfect Asymmetric Weapon System of Necessity Rather than a Weapon of Choice

Language can be counter-productive when used carelessly. Word usage is paramount in framing how we think about and solve operational problems; the haphazard use of language can be counterproductive and hinder mission accomplishment. The problems associated with the use of IEDs and the approaches taken to prevent and counter their use are complex and transcend traditional tactical reactions but the associated language is not commensurate with the problem and suggested solutions.

About the Author(s)

Private Parts: The Private Sector and U.S. Peace Enforcement

This essay therefore holds the assumption that engaging in UN-led enforcement operations is to the geopolitical benefit of the United States and endeavors to answer the following question: If the United States chooses to contribute to UN peace enforcement operations, to what extent should this effort be privatized? To answer this question, this essay defines UN peace enforcement and examines the present and potential role of private military and security companies (PMSCs), as well as the role of PMSCs in the US's current enforcement model. The advantages and disadvantages of using PMSCs are then addressed, followed by a recommendation that the United States seek to privatize its UN peace enforcement contributions by engaging PMSCs.

About the Author(s)