Small Wars Journal

Small Wars Journal / Military Writers Guild Writing Contest: The Final Three

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 1:11am

Small Wars Journal / Military Writers Guild Writing Contest

What worked and what did not work, Small Wars tactical and operational lessons encountered through the lens of General Anthony Zinni’s and Dr. David Kilcullen’s considerations and fundamentals.

The Final Three

Congratulations to James King, Zachary Griffiths and Michael Lippert (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively) on their outstanding contributions to the SWJ / MWG Writing Contest. The articles are linked below. Congratulations are also extended the other 20 contest finalists ($150) - whittled down from the 60-plus submitted articles. There are at least 8 other articles that could have easily placed in the final three. SWJ will be verifying mailing addresses over the next several days and shortly after awards will be sent to the authors.

First ($500) - New Rules for Advisers: Lessons From a Year with the Iraqi Army by James King

“The Army has a little known core competency, one that very few want to talk about or admit.  That competency is advising host nation forces.  From Generals Collin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf slogging through the jungles with the Republic of Vietnam Army to the Military Transition Teams and Advise and Assist Brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has spent a significant amount of time advising foreign troops over the last 50 years but almost no time preparing for the mission.”

Major James King is currently serving as a Brigade Senior Intelligence Officer (S2) for a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.  While serving over 20 years in the National Guard, Army Reserve, and Active Army, MAJ King has held multiple leadership positions in the Military Police, Infantry and Intelligence fields as well as deploying three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Major King holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Washington and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Intelligence from American Military University.

Second ($300) - Advising in Small Wars by Zachary Griffiths

“This paper explores how a Special Forces detachment restored the Nangarhar Provincial Response Company, a special operations element of the Afghan police, by fusing General Zinni’s considerations and Dr. Kilcullen’s fundamentals of small wars.”

Captain Zachary Griffiths is a Special Forces Officer and Candidate for a Master’s of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Third ($200) - Precision-Guided Diminishing Returns: Why Airpower Alone Can’t Win America’s Small Wars by Michael T. Lippert

“The coalition has already liquidated ISIL’s fighting strength approximately twice over.  The Islamic State’s ability to recruit and import new fighters has been able to effectively keep up with their rate of attrition on the battlefield.”

Michael Lippert is a 12-year Marine Corps veteran currently serving as a developmental test pilot at NAS Patuxent River, MD.  He is a veteran of Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve, having served as an AV-8B pilot as well as a forward air controller and information operations officer.

About the Author(s)


The Military Writers Guild Writing Contest is open to all members of the military community. The contest is open to all branches of service like Best Ghostwriting services including active duty, reserves, guard and veterans. The contest is also open to civilians who are currently serving in the military.


Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:45am

Congratulations to all the writers, I did dip sample several of the essays. Pleased to see No.2, as I'd added the only comment there.


Fri, 08/04/2017 - 7:45am

Congratulations to the winners. This was a great partnered event and I look forward to more in the future.