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 J.R. Bullington | Sat, 02/03/2018 - 11:30am | 2 comments

This essay provides the perspective of a Foreign Service Officer who was involved in Vietnam in several capacities, including Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support.

by Alex Calvo | Fri, 02/02/2018 - 5:20pm | 0 comments

The problem can be summarized as follows: allied troops are better trained and equipped, while local forces enjoy a greater familiarity with the terrain, including above all the population.

by Stefan J. Banach | Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:14am | 0 comments

War, of any kind, is the ultimate failure of mankind.  Yet, in the course of human endeavors, we have found another way in which to wage global war.

by Dean Shumate | Thu, 02/01/2018 - 1:01am | 47 comments

Our leaders do not seem to understand insurgencies. Most of our approaches are ineffective, if not counterproductive. Too many lives have been lost due to ignorance and carelessness.

by Kevin Sites | Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:12pm | 0 comments

From wine swilling Greek hoplites to tweaked out NAZI’s on speed, drugs and alcohol have been the most essential psychological weapons in the history of human warfare.

by Bing West | Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:57am | 0 comments

The Marines had the fastest rifles in the village of Binh Nghia. It wasn't long until the second fastest belonged to their comrades-in-arms, the Popular Forces.

by Gavin Wilde | Tue, 01/30/2018 - 3:11am | 7 comments

Washington ought to study the re-emergence of Russian “active measures” less as a manifestation of newfound strength, more as a long-fostered sense vulnerability on full display.

by W. Hunsecker | Tue, 01/30/2018 - 2:58am | 3 comments

The policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has facilitated political warfare, against the United States, by foreign interests.

by Moe Gyo | Mon, 01/29/2018 - 1:15am | 0 comments

The “Bamarization” and militarization of the Burmese government gave rise to a proliferation of insurgent ethnic armed organizations and continuous conflicts.

by Zachary L. Morris | Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:25am | 0 comments

The constraints and weaknesses imposed on China by the conscription policy likely restricts China’s options in the event of a crisis.

by Peter Polack | Sun, 01/28/2018 - 3:45pm | 0 comments

The Casemate Short History series. "Guerrilla Warfare: Kings of Revolution" is a compendium of prominent guerilla leaders including George Washington, Simon Bolivar, Mao Zedong and King Ibn Saud.

by Luke Calhoun | Sun, 01/28/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments

There is a fleeting opportunity to build upon the stability created by a defeated ISIS, stable Iraq, recovering Syria, strengthened ties with Lebanon and Jordan, and cooperative regional partners.

by U.S. Army TRADOC G2 | Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:52pm | 3 comments

This paper argues that fast-moving trends across the DIME spheres are rapidly changing all aspects of society and human life, including the very character of warfare.

by Jeff Dougherty | Fri, 01/26/2018 - 9:16am | 0 comments

Although hacking has been part of espionage since at least 1989 nation-state sponsored attacks have grown dramatically throughout the past decade.

by Bryan T. Baker | Fri, 01/26/2018 - 1:19am | 1 comment

The social contract has been breached in many Mexican states. Instead of rule of law, impunity reigns. Crimes go unreported, uninvestigated, and unpunished.

by David M. Wren | Thu, 01/25/2018 - 6:51pm | 0 comments

Due to political volatility, economic uncertainty, and social norms, the Republic of Yemen's current supply of fresh water is not sustainable.

by Robert Bunker, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by John P. Sullivan | Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:54am | 0 comments

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 9: Concerns About Potential Gang (PCC-Primeiro Comando da Capital & CV-Comando Vermelho) Influence on Upcoming Brazilian Elections

by Benjamin A. Budde | Wed, 01/24/2018 - 4:41am | 1 comment

What we fail to understand is that it is the mode of conveyance, its ubiquity and simultaneity, that legitimates the extremism ideology and community.

by George C. Kraehe | Wed, 01/24/2018 - 4:15am | 0 comments

The nature of narcotics trafficking in North Africa and the Sahel has changed in recent years in significant ways.

by Julie Sagram | Tue, 01/23/2018 - 1:20am | 6 comments

An understanding of society is integral to the human enterprise of armed conflict. This is why the US military has synthesized its tactics with social science research in post-9/11 operations.

by Faith Stewart, by Andrew Byers | Tue, 01/23/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments

A national catastrophe embroiling Yemen’s neighbors and a microcosm of the problems existing throughout the greater Middle East.

by Christian Vianna de Azevedo | Mon, 01/22/2018 - 6:14am | 0 comments

The Case of Rio de Janeiro: Context, Confrontation Issues and Implications for Brazilian Public Security.

by Andris Banka | Sun, 01/21/2018 - 7:42pm | 0 comments

Are we witnessing a time when the US is regretting bringing the Baltics into the transatlantic community?     

by Bryan Leese | Sun, 01/21/2018 - 5:04pm | 0 comments

Culture analysis may be the key that wins wars, not just terminate fighting. This analysis is complex, time consuming, and often not conducted.

by Penny Watson | Sun, 01/21/2018 - 2:26pm | 0 comments

What is a protest by the Iranian people against the oppressive fundamentalist regime, has a much more diversified group of world actors.

by Keith Nightingale | Sat, 01/20/2018 - 6:46am | 0 comments

The recent acclaimed Burns-Novik documentary on Vietnam is great cinematic art but poor history.  Unfortunately, it will be generally judged as THE history.

by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Fri, 01/19/2018 - 2:44am | 0 comments

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 8: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) Links to Occult Rituals and Santa Muerte Veneration or Worship

by James D. Scrogin, by Jason M. Bender | Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments

An intimate insight into the operating environment of the Army’s largest commissioning source.

by Keith Nightingale | Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:10am | 0 comments

The decision by the Navy to place these men on trial will open a Pandora’s Box of the law of unintended consequences. History indicates the outcome will be virtually all bad.

by Abdul Rahman Rahmani, by Jack McCain | Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:49am | 0 comments

With new aircraft, at-home training, maintenance practices, and a new generation of eager pilots and aircrew, it will be possible to begin to turn the tide at all levels of the Afghan war.

by Greg Simons | Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:24am | 4 comments

Common sense and cool heads are required to bring the current new Cold War atmosphere back into a safer zone of dialogue and engagement.

by Christopher Flaherty | Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:28am | 0 comments

The purpose of this short review is to present a different concept of deception - that it should be viewed as a pervasive and elemental force in operations.

by Oliver B. Gagne | Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:13am | 0 comments

The purpose of this essay is to generate discussion regarding a new way to incorporate near-peer Electronic Warfare threats into the operations planning process.

by Joseph J. Collins | Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:41am | 2 comments

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic, 18-hour television series on the war in Vietnam left me feeling the same way that the war did: sad, depressed, disillusioned, and ready for it to end.

by Chris Telley | Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:25am | 0 comments

The evolving power of cryptocurrency, the threat behaviors enabled by the technology, and some ways to counter threat activity while preserving the possibilities for healthy innovation.

by Noah B. Cooper | Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:34am | 1 comment

Organizational survival is an intrinsic goal of ISIS and thus as the caliphate shrinks, the group will seek to intensify its operations in other portions of the globe to remain relevant.

by Michael J. Mooney | Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:21am | 9 comments

This essay examines the military campaign plan designed to destroy the Islamic State caliphate through the lens of the Clausewitz’s center of gravity.

by Chiara De Cuia | Sun, 01/14/2018 - 2:27pm | 0 comments

ISAF may provide a new model of counterinsurgency – de facto multilateral – based on classical doctrines and tenets, yet organizationally and operationally different.

by Daniel E. Ward | Sat, 01/13/2018 - 2:46pm | 1 comment

The U.S. military needs to maintain a global presence; dominate locally; be able to sustain stability operations; and be able to concentrate forces to meet more robust threats.

by James K. Wither | Sat, 01/13/2018 - 1:33pm | 1 comment

Given a Russian invasion scenario, the Baltic States would have no choice to preserve their independence but to fight a guerrilla war against occupying forces.

by Douglas A. Livermore | Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:34pm | 1 comment

“Political warfare” is a form of strategy that leverages diplomatic, informational, military, and economic capabilities to achieve strategic objectives.

by Aden Magee | Fri, 01/12/2018 - 8:49pm | 0 comments

The suicide bomber -- be it man borne, vehicle borne, aircraft borne, or otherwise – has steadily evolved as a key capability within the Islamic State’s military apparatus.

by Ian Kippen | Thu, 01/11/2018 - 1:41am | 1 comment

NATO rarely, if ever, exercises the deployment to and operation of the force in an environment that is under “hybrid” attack.

by Pamela Ligouri Bunker, by John P. Sullivan, by Nils Gilman, by Robert Bunker | Thu, 01/11/2018 - 1:16am | 0 comments

The vast majority of the US populace—the proverbial 99%—just witnessed the blatant crossing of a class warfare ‘red line’ to the benefit of the American plutocracy.

by Amir Perk | Wed, 01/10/2018 - 4:51am | 0 comments

It is becoming increasingly crucial to understand Iran’s grand strategy. To help reach this end, this essay studies the origin and impact of Iran’s feelings of victimization.

by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Tue, 01/09/2018 - 6:38pm | 0 comments

Police in the Washington, DC suburb of Montgomery County, MD have arrested a suspect in the brutal gang murder of a still unidentified man whose body was found in a pre-dug grave.

by Michael Anderson | Tue, 01/09/2018 - 4:45am | 11 comments

We face an enemy ideology that crafted and shaped an enduring, effective message, near perfecting dissemination and application to relevant target audiences.

by Pamela Ligouri Bunker, by Robert Bunker | Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:57pm | 0 comments

Artificial intelligence algorithms built into business applications software is increasingly changing how multinational corporations interface with their customer base.

by Patrick Blannin | Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:17am | 0 comments

Despite regional territorial loses, one pocket of ISIS controlled territory remains intact, increasing its presence along the borders of Israel and Jordan.

by Thomas Neely | Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:46pm | 0 comments

The war will not only continue but will expand, that we will keep at it on a larger scale with new and sweeping objectives. Our troops and the country will have a high price to pay.