Small Wars Journal

irregular warfare

Law of War at the Lowest Tactical Level: Marines in Nasiriyah & the Difficulty of Distinction in Hybrid War

Marines know well the significance of Nasiriyah. The bloody battle there between Task Force Tarawa and the Iraqi Fedayeen disrupted the invasion of Iraq. But Nasiriyah is notable also as a case study for the law of war. The story and background of Marines in Nasiriyah make known some lessons learned on law of war.

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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.

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Even Amorphous Systems Have Centers of Gravity

Can an amorphous system characterized by low hierarchy, dispersal, and decentralization have a Center of Gravity (CoG)? I say, “Yes,” because the purpose of the system determines the CoG, not the structure. However, to many theorists the answer is a resounding no, because the system’s structure is the determinate. They claim a system must be concentrated and centralized to have a targetable CoG. Both answers have compelling arguments. Which is correct depends on one’s conceptual foundation of the CoG concept.

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Moral Deadening

Typically, Americans are raised from a young age to mind their manners, wait their turn, share, and most of all to not fight. They are raised as members of a non-aggressive society that continues to discourage competition more and more by the year. So imagine, after a life time of learning societal norms, you enter a new profession that begins to shift everything you thought you knew.

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Small Wars Preparations in Support of the Joint Operational Environment 2035

Preparations for future small wars described in the JOE 2035 must account for stability operations, FHA and peace operations, and counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations. Viewing these types of small wars as distinctly separate and mutually exclusive is a flawed perspective; the world is an interconnected place and the types of small wars the joint force may encounter in the future will often occur simultaneously and as a result of one another.

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Some Questions to Help You Better Understand the U.S.-Colombia Security Dynamic and Opportunities to Enhance the Relationship

The dramatic increase of Venezuelan refugees entering the country, record-level coca cultivation and cocaine production levels, and the power vacuum created by the disarmament, and demobilization of the country’s oldest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in key cultivation and smuggling areas are just a few things for U.S. policy makers, defense officials, and legislators to take into consideration as they evaluate bilateral security assistance to Colombia.

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The Myths of Traditional Warfare: How Our Peer and Near-Peer Adversaries Plan to Fight Using Irregular Warfare

The belief that peer/near-peer/VEO competitors and adversaries will only fight us via traditional warfare, man to man, tank to tank, ship to ship, and plane to plane, are missing the historical and present day reality that these designated threats are currently competing and prevailing over us via Irregular Warfare activities in the competition space, and doing so quite successfully.

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