Small Wars Journal
  • “The Vietnam War was arguably the most traumatic experience for the United States in the twentieth century. That is indeed a grim distinction in a span that included two world wars, the assassinations of two presidents and the resignation of another, the Great Depression, the Cold War, racial unrest, and the drug and crime waves.”
    -- Donald M. Goldstein
  • “Once Europe existed in a Dark Age and Islam carried the torch of learning. Now we Muslims live in a Dark Age.”
    -- Mahmud Tarzi
  • “Tunnel systems and irregular urban warfare are essentially advanced methods of cover and concealment. Given that the mission of the infantry is to “locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver,” if the enemy can prevent us from locating him or closing with him, it will be nearly impossible for us to destroy him.”
    -- William Birdzell
  • “For Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle, founders and editors of Small Wars Journal. They gave the counterguerrilla underground a home, at a time when misguided leaders banned even the word ‘insurgency,’ though busily losing to one. Scholars, warriors, and agitators, Dave and Bill laid the foundation for battlefield success: our generation owes them a debt of gratitude.”
    -- David Kilcullen ('Counterinsugency' Dedication)
  • “The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other. As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within.”
    -- President Donald J. Trump

Home, Above Feeds, Annoucement



New and now available at Amazon - Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities provides a foundation for understanding urban operations and sustaining urban warfare research. This Small Wars Journal (SWJ) Anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict. In addition to essays originally published at SWJ it adds new content including an introduction by the editors, a preface on “Blood and Concrete” by David Kilcullen, a foreword "Urban Warfare Studies" by John Spencer, a postscript “Cities in the Crossfire: The Rise of Urban Violence” by Margarita Konaev, and an afterword “Urban Operations: Meeting Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Improving the Approach” by Russell W. Glenn. These essays frame the discussion found in the collection’s remaining 49 chapters. Blood and Concrete continues the legacy of Small Was Journal's coverage of urban operations, conflict and combat. - Dave Dilegge, Robert J. Bunker, John P. Sullivan, and Alma Keshavarz, Editors.



The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II for the Israeli Air Force is known as the F-35I "Adir". The first nine F-35s became operational with the Israeli Air Force in December 2017.

"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

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by Benjamin J. Anderson | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 4:29pm | 0 comments
The rise of ransomware as an attack vector has continued to thrive and appears focused on those municipalities and law enforcement agencies with limited resources and unchecked system vulnerabilities. Of major concern are the evidentiary losses and reduction in consumer confidence within these governmental organizations requiring a new focus and financial expenditures to mitigate these attacks from occurring in the future.
by Heather Venable | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 6:04am | 1 comment
Every discussion of a military organization’s future must begin with this question: what capabilities does it require to meet possible strategic objectives in a variety of conflicts? Unfortunately, a recent article suggesting that the Air Force downsize significantly to focus solely on air superiority within the organizational construct of Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) fails to begin this way.
by Lorenzo Boni Beadle | Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:51am | 2 comments
The author believes in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) whereby the United Nations (UN) intervenes in order to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. The author believes grand strategy and intervention must be ethically grounded.
by Stephen B. Young | Wed, 08/21/2019 - 6:09am | 6 comments
Unlike conventional wars, which in Vietnam we called the “War of the Big Battalions”, small wars, or what back then we called “the other war”, integrate the military with the cultural and the political. Thus, small wars are hard to win with kinetic engagements and firepower alone. The complex reality of small wars also implies that they can be lost for cultural or political reasons even if single military engagements are won handily again and again.
by Michael Gladius | Tue, 08/20/2019 - 4:28pm | 2 comments
In the aftermath of WWI, the question of Air Power’s role in the military as an institution arose. Two competing theories arose: The first treated air power as another branch of the Army and Navy, while the second treated Air power as a separate form of war that would be super-dominant. America’s Military has tried both forms, using the former during WWII and the latter post-1947. In recent decades, many critics of an independent Air Force have called for its abolition and a return to the first model.
by H. K. Roy | Tue, 08/20/2019 - 4:33am | 1 comment
Over the years, on the many flights I’ve taken, I’ve had several “celebrity sightings” and even had the opportunity to meet one or two of them in the process. I sat in front of a beret-wearing Samuel L. Jackson on a night flight to London, and across the aisle from late, great US Marine and Full Metal Jacket actor R. Lee Ermey on a flight to DC.
by H. K. Roy | Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:40am | 1 comment
This story could have been included in the previous chapter [“Ignore My Intelligence at Your Peril (I Am Not As Stupid As I Look)”], but as you will read, this premeditated intelligence failure in Iraq is so mind-boggling in nature that it deserves a chapter all its own. Technically it was not an intelligence failure; it was a spectacular tactical intelligence success story, followed by an unconscionable bureaucratic failure to properly manage an invaluable ongoing counterterrorism intelligence operation.
by Ray K. Ragan | Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:14am | 0 comments
Currently Civil Information Management (CIM) systems employed by the U.S. Military are not keeping pace with the current revolution seen in civilian next-generation knowledge management systems (KMS). These KMS are possible through the convergence of modern computing, predictive analytics, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML). This CIM limitation is unnecessary and self-imposed as a KMS offers persistent and progressing inputs to the common operating picture. This assessment explores how civilian business harnessed this revolution and how to apply it to CIM.
by Thomas Doherty | Fri, 08/16/2019 - 1:13pm | 1 comment
In the era of great power competition, the United States can ill afford to ignore nonviolent resistance as an offensive strategy employable by ourselves, our allies, and also our enemies. The ability to achieve UW end states using strategic nonviolence will increase the options and capabilities available to policymakers and allow us to understand it when utilized against U.S. interests.
by Robert Bunker, by Pamela Ligouri Bunker | Thu, 08/15/2019 - 4:20pm | 0 comments
New eBook out by Robert J. Bunker and Pamela Ligouri Bunker, "The Islamic State English-Language Online Magazine Rumiyah (Rome): Research Guide, Narrative & Threat Analysis and U.S. Policy Response". Reston, VA: Terrorism Research Center, August 2019, 130 pp.

Blog Posts

by Al-Monitor | Sat, 08/24/2019 - 3:38pm | 0 comments
"Iraqi authorities are investigating the source of attacks on four weapons storage facilities in the past month belonging to the country's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia. The most recent explosion on Aug. 20 once again prompted accusations of possible US and Israeli involvement."
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 08/24/2019 - 4:40am | 0 comments
Via C4ISRNET - "Countries around the world will increasingly operate on the drone axis, developing capabilities to both employ and combat against drones."
by The Wall Street Journal | Sat, 08/24/2019 - 3:32am | 0 comments
"India’s decision to sideline Kashmiri political leaders as it enforces a military lockdown has left many locals wondering how their Muslim-majority state will mesh with an increasingly Hindu-dominant India."
by Marine Corps Times | Sat, 08/24/2019 - 2:44am | 0 comments
"On Aug. 1, 2016, a large-scale operation to push ISIS fighters out of the embattled Libyan city of Sirte was launched. The fight, dubbed Operation Odyssey Lightning, would include support from attack helicopters and Harriers embarked with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and fires from the 5-inch gun aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Carney."
by Voice of America | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 5:15pm | 0 comments
The State Department says it will assess its programming and redirect all funding on foreign aid, after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned plans to cut $4 billion in spending on the grounds that it was wasteful and unnecessary.
by The United States Institute of Peace | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 3:01pm | 0 comments
"Given the price Afghans have paid and continue to pay, one might assume that they would eagerly welcome and accept any deal that brings an end to the ongoing war. But is that really the case and is it really that simple?"
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 7:28am | 0 comments
"Decision follows similar moves by Twitter and Facebook, with concern that China is trying to discredit pro-democracy demonstrators."
by Associated Press | Fri, 08/23/2019 - 7:20am | 0 comments
"A United States envoy and the Taliban resumed negotiations Thursday on ending America’s longest war."
by Associated Press | Thu, 08/22/2019 - 6:16pm | 0 comments
"The head of Iraq’s paramilitary forces supported by Iran on Thursday walked back a statement by his deputy the day before in which he blamed Israeli drones and held the U.S. responsible for a series of attacks on bases run by the militias."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 08/22/2019 - 11:40am | 0 comments
"The Trump administration has moved to pull back troops from conflict zones like Syria and Afghanistan. But here at Al Udeid, home to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, there is no sense of retreat."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 08/22/2019 - 4:02am | 0 comments
"Iranian-backed militias in Iraq warned Wednesday that foreign aircraft flying over the country may be treated as “hostile” amid growing suspicions that Israel is responsible for mysterious explosions at militia bases."
by The Wall Street Journal | Thu, 08/22/2019 - 2:07am | 0 comments
"Powerful lieutenant of President Nicolás Maduro discussing elections in return for safety guarantees."
by Breaking Defense | Wed, 08/21/2019 - 5:24am | 0 comments
"The Army wants to expand its fledgling cyber branch into an information warfare force that can do everything from jamming insurgent radio stations to fighting Chinese cyber espionage and to protecting US elections from online subversion."
by Voice of America | Tue, 08/20/2019 - 6:25pm | 0 comments
The fate of a much-anticipated peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban is hanging in the balance after both adversaries in Afghanistan's 18-year-old war said they still have “some details” to discuss.
by Military Times | Tue, 08/20/2019 - 5:51pm | 0 comments
"President Donald Trump vowed he will bring home some — but not all — of the U.S. military force currently deployed to Afghanistan, amid reports of ongoing negotiations with Taliban leaders on an end to the nearly 18-year-old war."