Small Wars Journal
  • The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.
    H.R. McMaster – Dereliction of Duty
  • In our effort to learn from Iraq and Afghanistan, we continuously ran into issues where lessons encountered in Vietnam were ignored, or inadequately learned, or not passed on to subsequent cohorts. If we had done a better job at it, we surely would have avoided many mistakes in the current long war.
    Joseph J. Collins
  • The truth is starting to emerge about a recent Russian attack on U.S. forces in eastern Syria, and it deserves more public attention. The assault looks increasingly like a botched attempt to bloody the U.S. and intimidate President Trump into withdrawing from Syria once Islamic State is defeated. The U.S. military won this round, but Vladimir Putin’s forces will surely look for a chance at revenge.
    Wall Street Journal
  • It has to be an awfully good meeting to beat having no meeting at all.
    Boyd K. Packer

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"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

Welcome. Small Wars Journal publishes original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders in small wars. We also link you to relevant goings on elsewhere.  Login with your SWJ Username to comment, or Register, it's free. You can start your own threads in the Small Wars Council discussion board, but note that the board requires a separate Council Username. Follow SWJ on Twitter @smallwars.


by Donald C. Bolduc | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 12:25am | 0 comments
Army leadership needs to admit to itself it has a trust and honesty problem. These problems can be directly attributed to inadequate leadership engagement, poor talent management, requirement overload, and a lack of moral courage.
by Brenda A. Oppel, by David M. Gohlich, by John D. Dietz | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 12:17am | 0 comments
We propose that the United States recognize North Korea as a nuclear power, make it blatantly clear that this an unacceptable end state, and provide nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan that are jointly maintained, but still owned by the United States.
by Kyle Amonson | Sat, 03/17/2018 - 8:51pm | 0 comments
This essay defines war in the international and historical sense, then analyzes human nature’s role in conflict, followed by human nature’s projection on the nation state and finally concludes with the most frequent manifestations of conflict and conclusion.
by Sidharth Kaushal | Sat, 03/17/2018 - 6:23am | 0 comments
The successful application of prospect theory to insurgent behavior demonstrates that the selection of a strategy by an insurgent is not exogenously given, as much counterinsurgency presumes as a starting point, but is open to being shaped by the counterinsurgent state.
by Mark T. Peters | Thu, 03/15/2018 - 7:21pm | 0 comments
Suffering from triple digit inflation, rampaging price increases, severe medicine and food shortages, a 50% drop in national petroleum revenues as well as an authoritarian, corrupt government focused on regime survival guiding the ship, Venezuela requires significant course corrections.
by Bradley L. Rees | Thu, 03/15/2018 - 2:12am | 1 comment
This article explores the progression of Western, and specifically United States, military thinking and warfighting philosophies. It centers on the utility of information, information warfare, and information in war; the operational framework and battlefield geometry by which military forces are employed; and posits that a new conceptual construct is required to better frame contemporary and more importantly future warfare.
by Robert Bunker | Tue, 03/13/2018 - 12:55pm | 1 comment
This research guide has been created for Small Wars Journal readers to aid in their understanding of the plutocratic insurgency construct and explain how it is related to the earlier criminal insurgency construct which has been the focus of numerous El Centro works over the last decade.
by Mallory H. Walton | Mon, 03/12/2018 - 12:30am | 0 comments
For girls, and women in particular, education can be a source of empowerment and they can serve as a catalyst for societies emerging after decades of civil unrest.
by Robert Zager, by John Zager | Sun, 03/11/2018 - 3:42pm | 0 comments
In this paper the authors review the Cyber Threat Framework and propose an extension to the Cyber Threat Framework which integrates cyber threats with cyber defenses.
by Doyle Quiggle | Sat, 03/10/2018 - 7:44pm | 0 comments
The first Small Wars Journal review of seven on this classic of the war in Vietnam.

Blog Posts

by The Washington Post | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 8:13pm | 0 comments
"The death of four U.S. soldiers in a chaotic ambush in Niger leaves the Pentagon grappling with a thorny issue in Africa: How should it counter the Islamic State and other militant groups without becoming ensnared in conflicts on the continent?"
by DoD News | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 6:13pm | 0 comments
As the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to develop their defensive positions against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the middle Euphrates River valley, it’s important to stay focused on the key objectives, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters today.
by Voice of America | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 3:45pm | 0 comments
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Monday to expand Ankara's military operations against more Kurdish strongholds in Syria, after ousting Kurds from their enclave in Afrin.
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 12:35pm | 0 comments
The Smith Richardson Foundation is pleased to announce its annual Strategy and Policy Fellows grant competition to support young scholars and policy thinkers on American foreign policy, international relations, international security, military policy, and diplomatic and military history.
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 03/19/2018 - 10:43am | 0 comments
A collection of six articles which each examine a particular facet or perspective on Clausewitz’s writing to better explain, illuminate or examine dimensions that may not be apparent in the original text.
by The New York Times | Sun, 03/18/2018 - 9:32pm | 1 comment
"On March 26, top Army leaders will travel to Huntsville, Ala., to announce details of their plan for the Futures Command, which will focus solely on developing new weapons and getting them “downrange” faster. The doors of the command are expected to open by the end of July, and it is supposed to be fully operational a year after that."
by The Washington Post | Sun, 03/18/2018 - 8:40pm | 0 comments
"Seeing the photographs of pro-Turkish Islamist militiamen strutting about the center of Afrin on Sunday, it seemed eerily possible that jihadist allies of the Islamic State were back in control in northern Syria, thanks to our 'NATO ally' Turkey."
by Voice of America | Sun, 03/18/2018 - 7:01pm | 0 comments
The Afghan Taliban say they are deeply skeptical that a proposed three-nation conference in Indonesia will be a step toward peace.
by Reuters | Sun, 03/18/2018 - 12:24pm | 0 comments
"The Kurdish administration of Syria's Afrin region indicated on Sunday that Kurdish-dominated forces fighting Turkey-backed groups in the area will shift from direct confrontation to guerrilla tactics."
by The Wall Street Journal | Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:34am | 0 comments
"Turkish forces have captured the town center of Kurdish-controlled Afrin in northern Syria, Turkey said Sunday, capping a two-month military campaign that has divided Ankara and its international allies."