Small Wars Journal
  • “The world, to quote George Shultz, is awash in change, defined by increasing global volatility and uncertainty with Great Power competition between nations becoming a reality once again. Though we will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today, but Great Power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”
    -- Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
  • “Our forces, therefore, must fulfill a broader role as a complement to our diplomacy, as an arm of our diplomacy, as a deterrent to our adversaries, and as a symbol to our allies of our determination to support them.”
    -- President John. F. Kennedy
  • “As I reflected on the last 18 to 24 months, it really was the Afghan special security forces, with our special operations advisors, that have actually bought the time and space that allows us to implement the South Asia strategy.”
    -- CJCS General Joe Dunford
  • "Afrin is one of the most strategic areas of northwest Syria. It is a piece of real estate that anchors Turkey's presence for many years to come."
    -- Nicholas Heras
  • "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

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"Resilience Through Hell"

"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 Asim Yousafzai | Sat, 03/24/2018 - 12:55am | 0 comments
Manzoor Pashteen is a genuine voice for peace and his demands are constitutional; suppressing him and his movement would result in more chaos in the region. Peace in Afghanistan is ultimately related to peace in FATA, the sooner Pakistani and US authorities realize this, the better.
by Carter F. Smith, by Joshua Harms | Fri, 03/23/2018 - 8:28am | 0 comments
Military-trained gang members (MTGMs) have been identified in every wartime period for the United States—from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts. MTGMs in the military threaten the cohesiveness of military units and undermine the authority of military leadership.
by Christopher Flaherty | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 5:18pm | 0 comments
A defining feature of the marauder is that it operates outside of the rules and conventions that govern. This feature makes the marauder ubiquitous, giving it a capacity to easily outwit and overwhelm its conventional opposition.
by Peter K. Forster, by Thomas Hader | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:20am | 0 comments
Vast amounts of research exist on why the individual or small group might join a violent organization and travel to a conflict zone, but little exists on how the receiving organizations recruit, vet, and facilitate the foreign fighter process.
by Christopher Solomon | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 3:20pm | 0 comments
Fifty years ago, an armed confrontation between Israel, Jordan, and Palestinian guerillas created a new phase of Middle East diplomacy and conflicts. What does the battle’s legacy tell us about Jordan and its place the troubled region today?
by Nicholas A. Keipper | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 3:22am | 0 comments
While the US Army has an exceptional force to win the nation’s wars, it lacks the ability to stabilize areas after conflict abates.
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 | 1 comment
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 | 1 comment
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.

Blog Posts

by Voice of America | Fri, 03/23/2018 - 8:07pm | 0 comments
A high-level U.S. delegation, including diplomats and members of the U.S.-led coalition, visited Manbij on Thursday in the wake of a disagreement with Turkey over the fate of the town in northern Syria.
by Military Review | Fri, 03/23/2018 - 12:40pm | 0 comments
"It is instructive to reexamine the previous U.S. tribal engagement in Anbar as U.S. advisors once again plan for phases IV (stabilize) and V (enable civil authority) of joint operations."
by SWJ Editors | Fri, 03/23/2018 - 11:15am | 0 comments
CRS report via US Naval Institute News - Continue on for a summary and link to the full document.
by Stars & Stripes | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 8:17pm | 0 comments
About one in 10 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are foreign fighters, the top U.S. general in the country said Thursday, in a statement touting recent U.S. and Afghan operations targeting the group.
by The New York Times | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 8:09pm | 0 comments
After two months of uncertain fighting, Turkey appears suddenly to be riding high in its military campaign to take control of a larger piece of northern Syria.
by The Washington Post | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 7:03pm | 0 comments
"President Trump said Thursday that he was naming former ambassador John Bolton, a Fox News commentator and conservative firebrand, as his new national security adviser, replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster."
by American Enterprise Institute | Thu, 03/22/2018 - 2:50pm | 0 comments
To protect and advance US interests and values, American national security policymakers must shake off the rust accumulated over our long hibernation and address the current task with discipline, vigor, pragmatism, and a clear-eyed appreciation of America’s strengths.
by DoD News | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 5:53pm | 0 comments
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford told reporters traveling with him “that from a military dimension, I am enthusiastic about the prospects for 2018.”
by The Foreign Policy Research Institute | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 4:00pm | 0 comments
"Aleppo. Mosul. Sana’a. Mogadishu. Gaza. These war-ravaged cities are but a few examples of a growing trend in global conflict, where more and more of the world’s most violent conflicts are being fought in densely populated urban areas."
by The Washington Post | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 3:04pm | 0 comments
"Lawmakers from both parties denounced the Trump administration’s proposal to cut foreign aid, saying it would hurt U.S. efforts to fight terrorism and health epidemics, and make military deployments more likely."