Small Wars Journal
  • "It has to be an awfully good meeting to beat having no meeting at all."
    -- Boyd K. Packer
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement

Air Force Firefighters.

An Air Force fire attack crew extinguishes a fire during training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, on 8 March.

"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 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 | 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 | 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.
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.

Blog Posts

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."
by The New York Times | Wed, 03/21/2018 - 5:00am | 0 comments
"Now part of The New York Times Magazine, the new iteration will continue to tell stories of the American war experience while expanding its coverage to global conflicts and their outcomes, including the continuing refugee crises. The first essay looks back at March 20, 2003, through the eyes of a veteran Marine lieutenant who led a platoon of six tanks into Baghdad."
by DoD News | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 7:17pm | 0 comments
Noting “breathtaking” progress the Afghan government and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have made, a senior officer in the Resolute Support mission said there is never going to be a better time for the Taliban to start talking with the Afghan government about peace.
by SWJ Editors | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 6:00pm | 0 comments
Small Wars Journal El Centro and Small Wars Journal Jihadist-themed Anthologies - Paperback & Kindle Books Available at
by The Washington Post | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 4:31pm | 0 comments
"The fall of Afrin offers a particularly gloomy snapshot of Washington's confused role in the Syrian war. Both the Trump and Obama administrations courted the YPG and backed their fight against the Islamic State — much to the chagrin of Turkey."
by Voice of America | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 7:30am | 0 comments
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said a combination of religious, social, diplomatic and military pressure will be applied to the Taliban this year to force them to start negotiating for peace in the war-torn country.
by The Washington Post | Tue, 03/20/2018 - 7:13am | 0 comments
"The U.S. refuels coalition warplanes, shares intelligence with the Saudis and provides them with munitions used in the air war. The Trump administration has weighed in with diplomatic assistance, too, bolstering the Saudi case for the war."
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?"