Small Wars Journal


Journal Articles are typically longer works with more more analysis than the news and short commentary in the SWJ Blog.

We accept contributed content from serious voices across the small wars community, then publish it here as quickly as we can, per our Editorial Policy, to help fuel timely, thoughtful, and unvarnished discussion of the diverse and complex issues inherent in small wars.

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.
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.
by Alan M. Hammons | Fri, 03/09/2018 - 12:44am | 0 comments
If JPG leaders follow the general rules for fact and assumption development, they are likely to create valuable and relevant facts and assumptions faster and with less wasted effort.
by Greg Kleponis | Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:30am | 3 comments

Temporareality is a strange military internal sub-culture that I have personally observed for over 16 years in 4 post 9-11 deployments.

by Robert Bunker | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:56pm | 0 comments

The intent of the work is to develop a theory and philosophy behind the narco-killings taking place in contemporary Mexico.

by Howard R. Simkin | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 9:52am | 0 comments

Article two of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Patrick Blannin | Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:34am | 0 comments

Confidence building measures rely on four key components: Reputation, Status, Transparency & Trust. In theory, when RTS2 combine to establish sustainable CBMs, regional conflicts can be prevented.

by Lyle D. Burgoon | Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments

The deployment of automated weapons systems poses significant ethical challenges, especially jus in bello.

by Kyle Amonson | Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:29am | 0 comments

One key purpose of this study is to analyze and assess how Daesh’s actions as a non-state actor either supported or hindered their goals of establishing a religious caliphate.

by Sunny Petzinger | Mon, 03/05/2018 - 1:57am | 2 comments

A nexus of policy guidance meant to protect the defense industry, reduce weapons proliferation and improve financial accountability has hamstrung ANDSF materiel procurement.

by Ralph Tillinghast | Mon, 03/05/2018 - 12:06am | 0 comments

Article one of two in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Ronald D. Walck, by Fred E. Martin Jr. | Sun, 03/04/2018 - 1:21am | 0 comments

The increased proliferation of information collection technologies is becoming a threat to the Army’s Mission Command Philosophy.

by Matthew Martin | Sat, 03/03/2018 - 1:42am | 0 comments

A key to potentially improving influence efforts may be found in economics, in a concept called Consumption Theory.

by Suat Cubukcu | Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:32am | 0 comments

Erdogan has instigated an irregular and Iranian-like militia structure that helps him control streets, inflict oppression and carry out covert operations against dissident political groups.

by Alfred C. Crane III | Fri, 03/02/2018 - 8:08pm | 0 comments

The latest article in the Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Doyle Quiggle | Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:23am | 0 comments

Since the end of the Barre era, no Somali leader or group of leaders has managed to de-clan the Somali National Army, which is why it remains dysfunctional today.

by Anant Mishra | Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:51pm | 0 comments

Intelligence agencies in Afghanistan are failing to collect high-value information that could be beneficial to Afghan’s domestic security.

by George Galdorisi | Wed, 02/28/2018 - 3:58pm | 0 comments

The types of unmanned systems the Department of the Navy should acquire are those systems that directly support naval expeditionary forces that must conduct forcible entry operations.

by Conor McCormick-Cavanagh | Wed, 02/28/2018 - 2:08pm | 0 comments

The U.S. military resumed its counterterrorism mission in the Philippines in September 2017. This new operation comes on the heels of the rise of ISIS-linked groups.

by Erik Goepner | Tue, 02/27/2018 - 9:38am | 3 comments

I argue that the war endures, in large part, because national security policy makers, military operators, and think tank scholars have embraced several false assumptions.

by Michael Trumbo | Tue, 02/27/2018 - 8:02am | 0 comments

Article three of three in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Malcolm Beith | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 7:59pm | 0 comments

N’Dala was 37-years-old when he died on Jan. 2, 2014 in an ambush. He had earned the trust and respect of his fellow soldiers, UN troops and the Congolese population.

by Lydia Kostopoulos | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 5:59pm | 0 comments

Article two of three in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Hamid Lellou | Mon, 02/26/2018 - 12:07am | 1 comment

Northern Mali has been living in perpetual and unfulfilled postwar reconstruction phases due to repeated unsuccessful national reconciliations.

by J. Overton | Sun, 02/25/2018 - 8:01pm | 0 comments

I pulled out "Cold Cash War" again recently, as it reached its 40th birthday this year, and to my surprise found elements of it held up well enough that I thought they deserved to be shared.

by Michael H. Hoffman | Sun, 02/25/2018 - 6:52pm | 0 comments

Article one of three in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Ronald W. Sprang | Sat, 02/24/2018 - 2:08pm | 0 comments

Operational art and deep-operations theory in Russia traces its theoretical beginning to Napoleon’s six-month campaign in 1812.

by Robert Bunker, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by John P. Sullivan | Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:18am | 0 comments

The military oversight is the first federal intervention where federal forces took command in a Brazilian state since the return to democracy in 1988.

by Eric Hovey | Fri, 02/23/2018 - 1:40pm | 0 comments

Article five of five in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Tyler Sweatt | Fri, 02/23/2018 - 1:23pm | 0 comments

Article four of five in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Joseph Davis | Fri, 02/23/2018 - 1:07am | 0 comments

Psychological Warfare, the most potent weapon leveraged by both sides in the 1947 to present Arab-Israeli conflict, finally gets the attention it deserves.

by Gregg Campbell | Fri, 02/23/2018 - 12:26am | 0 comments

Article three of five in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Brett Sylvia, by Aaron Childers, by Ryan Wylie | Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:41am | 0 comments

There is no perfect way to reorganize for advising, but the lessons utilized by TF Strike are undeniably pertinent as the Army considers the organization and employment of SFABs.

by Chuck Heard | Thu, 02/22/2018 - 9:23am | 0 comments

Article two of five in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Amber S. Linde, by David M. Thompson | Wed, 02/21/2018 - 4:21pm | 0 comments

Article one of five in the latest Mad Scientist at Small Wars Journal series.

by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Wed, 02/21/2018 - 3:14pm | 0 comments

Two anti-personnel mines (minas antipersonales) were recovered from suspected members of the Cartel del Golfo (Gulf Cartel) in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Wed, 02/21/2018 - 8:14am | 0 comments

This incident has the potential to raise the stakes in the contest between the CJNG and the Mexican state following what is essentially tantamount to a CJNG declaration of war.

by Keith Nightingale | Tue, 02/20/2018 - 5:22pm | 2 comments

Edited by Richard Kolb, this book is the VFWs’ contribution to the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.