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Times Square Drill - The U.S. Army Drill team performs at Times Square in New York as part of a mass enlistment ceremony on 10 November 2018. Photo by EJ Hersom.

"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 Falko Ernst | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 8:28am | 0 comments
This essay is an excerpt from a longer field investigation conducted by Falko Ernst in Michoacán in 2015. The author met with this sicario four times to interview him about his life story. The full story was originally published as “The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman” on 17 October 2018 by the International Crisis Group.
by Salem Solomon | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 4:29am | 1 comment
The Central African Republic might seem like an unusual venue for Russia’s evolving strategy in Africa. The CAR doesn’t boast Ethiopia’s booming economy or Angola’s deep oil reserves. It lacks a developed mining industry like Zambia or a strategic location like Djibouti.
by Alma Keshavarz | Sun, 11/11/2018 - 5:16pm | 0 comments
Mexico’s cartels have become a global problem. From the manufacture and sale of drugs, to human trafficking, turf wars, among other criminal acts, narcos have an international footprint. Ioan Grillo’s "El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency", is an account of how Mexico’s cartels were once drug smugglers who later radically transformed into “paramilitary death squads”
by Marc W.D. Tyrrell | Fri, 11/09/2018 - 4:49pm | 0 comments
This essay has been written specifically for Small Wars Journal—El Centro as part of an ongoing Los Caballeros Templarios de Michoacán research project that will be published as a future eBook.
by Army News Service | Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments
Now based at the New Kabul Compound in the middle of the country's capital city, SGT Zabi Abraham is one of the most impactful advisors within the brigade's 5th Battalion. Often, he is at the battalion commander's side, translating conversations between him and senior Afghan leaders.
by Karl Umbrasas | Thu, 11/08/2018 - 10:40am | 2 comments
Mass hysteria may occur within cohesive groups that share information. The nature of twenty-first century media, coupled with frank information manipulation, may create conditions favorable for mass hysterical reactions.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:34am | 2 comments
Trump and his enablers do enough damage in America and to their direct targets, but the indirect effects are also quite serious, not least of all in the Middle East. Two very current, sad examples are Saudi Arabia and Israel.
by Larry Kay | Tue, 11/06/2018 - 12:02pm | 1 comment
Some would consider it incredulous to believe that thoughts could possibly be the cause of so much pain and grief in the world. Disappointingly, they are not trying hard enough to solve the problem and fail to recognize that the history of the world is indeed a history of thoughts, shaped by ideas before it is even shaped by events.
by James Torrence, by Joseph Pishock | Tue, 11/06/2018 - 5:58am | 0 comments
The Army Signal Corps is at a crossroads. Is the purpose of the Signal Corps to comply with network security directives or accomplish the mission while accepting prudent risk? The answer is not clear. The conflicting priorities of security and mission accomplishment create an environment where Signal Corps leaders are uncertain as to where they can assume risk.
by Nazia Hussain | Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:50am | 0 comments
To map potential scenarios resulting from risks associated with contemporary challenges, we need to consider alternative explanations to scarcity-induced contention and dystopic visions of conflict in cities.

Blog Posts

by SWJ Editors | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 5:16pm | 0 comments
Via Yahoo News - "For 25 years, a small Army office known as the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute has played an outsize role in preparing military personnel and civilians to work in regions recovering from war. But with President Trump’s administration pushing back on such operations, the Army’s top civilian leader has proposed shutting the institute down."
by SWJ Editors | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 8:13am | 0 comments
Via Yahoo News - "Even as the humanitarian crisis precipitated by Saudi Arabia’s more-than-three-year war in Yemen has deepened, the Pentagon earlier this year launched a new classified operation to support the kingdom’s military operations there, according to a Defense Department document that appears to have been posted online inadvertently."
by Associated Press, by Agence France-Presse | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 12:24am | 0 comments
President Ashraf Ghani said his administration is intent on seeking a negotiated peace with the The president of Afghanistan told a U.S. audience Monday that his country is not losing the war to the Taliban and is not at risk of collapse. Ghani also voiced confidence Monday on reaching a peace deal to end the Taliban insurgency - but warned Pakistan's alleged meddling risked sparking long-term hostility.
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 12:22am | 0 comments
"The Trump administration is discussing whether to press the Afghan government to suspend coming presidential elections, according to people briefed on the discussions, as the U.S. seeks to engage the Taliban in talks to end the 17-year war."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 12:20am | 0 comments
"A new round of hostilities triggered by a botched Israeli covert operation in the Gaza Strip pushed the territory’s fragile security situation to the brink on Monday, as Palestinian militants launched hundreds of rockets toward Israel and Israeli jets carried out bombing raids."
by Voice of America | Tue, 11/13/2018 - 12:11am | 0 comments
Leading international human rights group Amnesty International said Monday it is stripping Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its top honor over her failure to speak out or halt grave atrocities against her country’s Rohingya Muslim population.
by The New York Times | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 7:54am | 0 comments
One pickup truck after another arrived at the government compound in a district capital in Afghanistan on Sunday, pulling around to the back of the governor’s office to unload the dead, out of sight of panicked residents. Soldiers and police officers, many in tears, heaved bodies of their comrades from the trucks and laid them on sheets on the ground, side by side on their backs, until there were 20 of them.
by The Guardian | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 5:18am | 0 comments
Foreign fighters believed to be galvanising local groups as push to declare Islamic caliphate intensifies. The threat of Islamic State is mounting again in the Philippines, with estimates there could be between 40 to 100 foreign fighters, and a growing momentum among local pro-Islamic State militant groups.
by Associated Press | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 4:45am | 0 comments
U.S.-backed Syrian fighters resumed their ground offensive Sunday against the Islamic State group in the last territories controlled by the extremists in eastern Syria.
by Voice of America | Mon, 11/12/2018 - 4:42am | 0 comments
Fighting has broken out in the streets of Yemen's key port Hodeidah between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Saudi-led coalition forces. A pro-Yemeni military official said Sunday the forces aim to "purge" the city of the rebels, who control the port, where nearly all food, medicine, and other supplies for civilians are delivered.