Small Wars Journal
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"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

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.

Journal

by Guido Torres | Mon, 01/24/2022 - 7:22am | 0 comments
While America was consumed with the Global War on Terror for the past 20 years, Russia’s Cold War tactics directed at the West intensified, but with modern age tools. Post-Cold War, the world witnessed a unipolar system with the United States at its helm. As a result, Russia has refined old subversive techniques, sabotage, and active measures to undermine and weaken America. Russia’s 2007 cyber-attacks on Estonia, 2008 war in Georgia, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, support to the Syrian regime's civil war in 2015, and the U.S. Presidential election meddling of 2016 are examples of the evolution of Russian nonlinear warfare. With the U.S. constantly involved in Russia's near-abroad, Russia appears to favor strategies that cloak blame and stay below the threshold of armed conflict. Recently, Latin America has experienced a paradigm shift, and civil unrest rise while its governments increasingly turn to leftist-leaning leaders to govern their states. Reviewing historical case studies to illustrate the nonlinear strategy Russia has waged in Europe, subsequently developing a theoretical framework to create a case study on Colombia. The results of the Colombia case study may serve as a model for identifying Russian nonlinear warfare throughout other Latin American countries.
by Hyun Jun Chang | Sun, 01/23/2022 - 10:01pm | 0 comments
In most of our training, we fight an opposing force (OPFOR), a role player who is often scripted and told to act a certain way in order to (IOT) enable the training unit (TU) to achieve a training objective. Our missions are usually terrain focused – to seize key terrain – with an enemy that is either on the objective or inbound. But terrain doesn’t move or think. Is there a better way to train? Yes. Free-play force-on-force (FoF) exercise, where each side is precisely the enemy described above. It is the superior way to train, and how we should train every time. It trains a unit to “outthink, outmaneuver, and outfight the enemy,” instead of “pursuing perfection in method rather than obtaining decisive results.”
by Benjamin J. Elliott | Sun, 01/23/2022 - 9:44pm | 0 comments
The world is a dynamic environment, yet Carl von Clausewitz’s principles remain current and operational, because both his definition of war and the application of his theory define contemporary terrorist organizations. In order to draw a fulsome comparison, one must use both Clausewitz’s social and structural trinities. With both levels of analysis in play, terrorist groups form and operate in a similar triadic manner to achieve their aims. Therefore, Clausewitz’s proposed theories of warfare are relevant today for terrorism warning analysis. The forces of violence, chance, and reason illuminate a terrorist organization in its gestation and may provide policy options before the outbreak of violence.
by Brian S. Petit | Fri, 01/21/2022 - 7:41pm | 0 comments
Ukraine is bracing for a Russian invasion. Undermatched, undersized, and militarily less capable, Ukraine will lose a conventional, combined arms fight, should it come. Facing this prospect, Ukraine is investing in and publicizing its hedging strategy: citizen resistance.
by Damian Koropeckyj | Fri, 01/21/2022 - 7:31pm | 0 comments
The construction of monuments by Russia, its proxies, and Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine reveals a new avenue for Information Operations and, in turn, a blind spot in both programs monitoring Russian IO and those monitoring cultural heritage in conflict such as USAR’s Monument Officers (38G/6V). This tactic extends to territories outside of Ukraine where Russia is conducting gray zone operations.
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Fri, 01/21/2022 - 1:06pm | 0 comments
Police in Rio de Janeiro (RJ) began a major operation—Operação Cidade Integrada (Operation Integrated City)—on Wednesday 19 January 2022 to retake control of RJ’s Jacarezinho favela.  Approximately 1,200 police (Polícia Militar or Military Police) took part in the co-ordinated action. The operation is reminiscent of the UPP (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora or Pacifying Police Units) approach initially implemented ahead of the 2016 Olympics. This new initiative apparently seeks to expand that approach by integrating comprehensive social programs to restore state authority and governance. The action seeks to displace criminal governance by the Comando Vermelho (CV or Red Command) and milícia (militia) groups.
by Paul Schneider | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 9:06pm | 3 comments
Currently over 50% of our best and brightest Special Forces Captains are leaving the Army and the shadow of huge morale issues continues to haunt the Special Forces Regiment.  Many factors are considered as to why: including intense deployment schedules, no deployment potential, stress on families, limited command opportunities once promoted, and the promise of a more lucrative civilian career.  Each of those reasons have traditionally had merit, but a glaring deficiency underpinning this is a flawed system that manifests itself in how we select and promote Special Forces (SF) officers.
by Philip Wasielewski | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 8:11pm | 0 comments
Modern Russian statecraft does not diverge from how Moscow has traditionally pursued its foreign policy goals. The use of extraterritorial assassinations, the 2007 Bronze Night incident in Estonia, and the 2014 invasion of Ukraine provide ample evidence that Russian use of coercive statecraft is part of a long-standing grand strategy to protect itself by dividing the West.
by Daniel J. O’Connor | Thu, 01/20/2022 - 4:52pm | 0 comments
       The topic of mission command has become a common topic in American military thought recently.  Due to the generally increasing velocity of modern combat and the constant need to evolve methods, it is a fitting time to reexamine historical examples in an effort to better plan future doctrine.  During the early days of the Eastern Front in World War II, the Nazi Army made a bold push for Moscow aiming for the complete destruction of the Soviet military.  The Soviets, through a series of serious blows and defeats nearly witnessed a complete collapse before the Nazi aggression.  While the Red Army eventually was able to go on the offensive and the war was won by the Allies, this view of the period as an unequivocal Soviet victory is problematic.  Arguably the Soviets survived due to, among other things, actions outside their control.  Even more perplexingly, they survived, in large part, due to their ability to sacrifice huge tracts of territory and quantities of manpower to buy time.  However, this does not diminish the fact that the Soviet Union had to “make extraordinary, inordinate efforts to stop the victorious advance of the Wehrmacht.”
by Alan Kelly | Wed, 01/19/2022 - 8:29pm | 0 comments
Why are bad guys so good at spreading disinformation and good guys so bad at stopping it? Through the lens of a patented and tested framework, the Taxonomy of Influence Strategies, the author illustrates how policies and practices of response do more to accelerate than slow the deceptive and mistaken messages hostile actors sow. This essay is recommended reading for practitioners of strategic communications, public diplomacy, information operations, psyops and related fields of influence management.

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by Dave Maxwell | Mon, 01/24/2022 - 9:48am | 0 comments

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by SWJ Editors | Tue, 01/11/2022 - 9:35pm | 1 comment

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by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 01/11/2022 - 9:55am | 31 comments

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