Small Wars Journal

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 Yurij Holowinsky | Sat, 11/26/2022 - 8:18pm | 1 comment
The world is witnessing the horrors of full-scale war in Ukraine, and some are beginning to offer the advice that Ukraine should seek peace with Russia.  Those who do so do not understand Ukraine and Ukrainians; the unstoppable passion of a people awoken and pursuing the goal of real freedom.
by Rafael Velázquez Flores | Tue, 11/22/2022 - 11:24am | 0 comments
This memorial essay by Rafael Velazquez Flores celebrates the life and work of Mexican scholar Jorge Chabat (1956−2022).
| Sun, 11/20/2022 - 11:39pm | 0 comments
(Editor’s Note: Flavius Belisarius reads the SWJ National Security and Korea News and Commentary daily.  Below he comments on three articles from last week and provides a unique perspective worth pondering to help us answer the question of “How Can We Do What We Do Better?”)
by Bill Edwards | Fri, 11/11/2022 - 11:13am | 0 comments
The war in Ukraine has proven one explicable truth, the convergence of commercial off-the-shelf drone technology with the military-industrial complex (MIC) drone platform is here to stay and possibly the first military revolution we’ve seen since the advent of the nuclear age.
by Amos C. Fox | Thu, 11/10/2022 - 10:05pm | 0 comments
The Russo-Ukrainian War provides an exorbitant amount of information for the security and defense studies communities, much of which is too immature, or insufficiently detailed to stake out ‘lessons learned.’ Nonetheless, examining urban operations from the macro-level, that is, above the movement of troops and individual formations, provides several noticeable trends. Most notably, urban operations in Ukraine demonstrate that attrition is how wars between industrialized nations are fought, won, and lost. Next, dislocation, or the effect of rendering an adversary’s strength irrelevant through position, function, time, or will, is germane to fighting and winning wars of attrition. As a result of these two features of urban warfare, sharply brought into focus by the Russo-Ukrainian War, Western militaries must make doctrine, organization, and training adjustments to how they think about and prepare for future war. This paper provides a set of principles for urban operations, based on these findings, to help orient the community of interest toward that end.
by Robert C. Jones | Mon, 11/07/2022 - 9:59am | 0 comments
Blaming people like Donald Trump for instability is easy – but it is wrong as well. Trump is far more symptom than causation. He is a symptom of a deep and growing sense of outrage and abandonment felt across a vast and diverse segment of our nation. To ignore that grievance and fixate on symptoms places the stability of our nation at risk. It places our democracy at risk.  As a retired Green Beret Colonel, and as a special operations strategist I have spent a lifetime studying and participating in the drivers of political instability. If I could offer one insight it is simply this: the old playbook is obsolete.
by Daniel Rice | Thu, 11/03/2022 - 8:17pm | 4 comments
The war in Ukraine will end at some point.  When, and under what terms, is unknown and still to be determined.   But when it does end, there needs to be an international security force in Ukraine to ensure Russia never invades again.   In hindsight, after Russia invaded and illegally annexed the Donbas and Crimea in 2014, an international security force should have been installed in Ukraine.   Had the international community done so, we would not likely be in this massive war.
by Jonathan D. Rosen | Tue, 11/01/2022 - 11:01pm | 0 comments
This paper reviews recent gang crackdowns by Salvadoran President Nayib Buckle. El Salvador is home to some of the most powerful gangs in the Western Hemisphere: Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, the 18th Street Southerners, and the 18th Street Revolutionaries. These gangs compete for control of territory and are present in more than 90 percent of the municipalities in El Salvador.
by Daniel Rice | Fri, 10/28/2022 - 8:56pm | 0 comments
It occurred to me that Ukraine is the closest we have to a modern-day Sparta.   This war has affected every single member of Ukrainian society, for years, starting with the Russian invasion of 2014 and the illegal annexation of Crimea and Donbas.  
by Isaac Poritzky, by Nathan P. Jones, by John P. Sullivan | Mon, 10/24/2022 - 6:28pm | 5 comments
This article is a mixed methods research study, using social network analysis (SNA), on the Mexican Mafia (La Eme) and La Familia Michoacana (La Familia or LFM), with a focus on their alliance, dubbed “The Project.” Using two indictments of the Mexican Mafia that included an attempt to establish a permanent relationship with the Mexican La Familia drug cartel.
by Daniel Weisz | Mon, 10/17/2022 - 8:46pm | 0 comments
Book review of Janice K. Gallagher's "Bootstrap Justice" by SWJ−El Centro Associate Daniel Weisz Argomedo. "Bootstrap Justice" examines criminal violence and impunity in Mexico.
by Hy Rothstein | Mon, 10/17/2022 - 11:00am | 1 comment
“What is past is prologue" is a quotation by William Shakespeare from his play The Tempest. In contemporary use the phrase means that history sets the context for the present. This phrase does not apply to the decision to rename U.S. military bases. While Congressional and military leaders may have good reasons to take these actions today, we are very fortunate that the leaders of the post-Civil War period did not think like today’s leaders. If they did, it is very likely that the country would have been racked by insurgency and the Union would have not survived after winning the war.
by James Steels | Sat, 10/15/2022 - 2:16pm | 0 comments
On 24th February 2022 Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine that Putin described as a ‘special military operation’. It has been promoted that one of the reasons behind the wider Ukraine conflict and this particular invasion is due to Putin wanting to absorb old Soviet Bloc countries back into Russia because he has a dream of recreating and bringing back the Soviet Union. This is not entirely true. Putin himself has said: ‘Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain’. So what is the root cause behind the Ukraine war and what has been Russia’s approach to this international security issue?
by Brent Stricker | Sat, 10/15/2022 - 2:02pm | 0 comments
After withdrawing from much of the territory it occupied in Kharkov Oblast, the Russian military has turned to a new strategy of attacking civilian infrastructure, such as the power grid and dams. On September 14, 2022, Russian Aerospace Forces attacked the Karachunivske dam at Kyvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Evidence from various Telegram Channels show that water flow to the city has ceased, forcing civilians to purchase bottled water. Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister tweeted, “Rockets were directed at hydraulic structures. This caused water level of Inhulets river to increase, threatening the city.” Russia conducted a second attack with ballistic missiles on the Pechenihy dam on the Siverskiy Donets river on September 24. These attacks on civilian objects are controversial because they may violate the law of armed conflict.
by Christopher Williams | Fri, 10/14/2022 - 9:41am | 0 comments
This story, and others like it, linger as vivid in my memory as visceral in my soul. It is her story, not mine, but I trust history's annals to deem it worthy of record. I’m not sure how else these stories will be told — from who’s perspective — or how long it will take me to dig more out of the caverns of my skull, as occult as the human mind ever remains.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Wed, 10/12/2022 - 7:24pm | 0 comments
This Is the Beginning of the End of the War.  The current Ukrainian advances will be the ones to push Russian ground forces completely out of Ukraine, leaving any remaining combat to take place on or just over the border with Russia or with longer-range systems, ending major ground combat operations on Ukrainian soil
by Daniel Rice | Mon, 10/10/2022 - 3:06pm | 1 comment
In most modern wars, bridges are fought over, defended, and attacked.  They can be decisive to both battles and wars. In military terms, bridges are " key terrain.” Capturing a bridge can allow an attacker the means to quickly cross with large numbers of troops, depending on the capacity of the bridge.  Bridges are also key terrain along lines of communication in support of logistics. The loss of a key bridge, on the other hand, can trap forces in a dangerous situation.  Many of the most pivotable battles in history have had bridges as the key terrain, leading to either victory or defeat.  The bridges of Ukraine, and a superior Ukrainian strategy with regards to the bridges, will likely prove to be one of the keys to defeating Russia.   
by Thomas Macias | Sun, 10/09/2022 - 1:03pm | 7 comments
Students of military strategy are familiar with Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, but what about Homer? The works of the ancient Greek poet credited with composing The Iliad and The Odyssey are most often remembered for legendary battles, meddlesome gods, and mortal heroes who fight like caffeinated hornets. Entertainment value aside, these epics serve a higher purpose. On the surface, these stories are allegories or fables occurring in mythical settings. In reality, these works are classical seminars on leadership and crisis management. Instead of TED Talks or slide presentations, Homer’s enduring principles are brought to life through unforgettable characters and scenarios. Given the enduring nature of war as a human activity, Homer’s insights remain pertinent to conflicts of all eras. This includes the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Boiled down to Twitter-size, Homer’s three-thousand-year-old message is that "It's all been done before."  (Editor's Note: The classics remain very relevant. Note the author's bio).
by Marco Leofrigio | Sun, 10/09/2022 - 1:16am | 0 comments
This essay by Italian security analyst Marco Leofrigio looks at the current controversy surrounding the evolution of Mexico's Guardia Nacional (National Guard).
by Nicholas Krohley | Wed, 10/05/2022 - 7:06am | 0 comments
The new great game is under way. The rules-based global order is unraveling, and America’s rivals are making moves. Russia has staggered wildly into Ukraine, undeterred by the West. China is flexing its economic muscles across the Global South, currying high-level influence among dictators and democrats alike—while steadily massing resources for a potential move on Taiwan.
by John Farinelli | Sun, 10/02/2022 - 7:42pm | 0 comments
Russia views cyber espionage and information warfare as a vital element of their continued military strategy, hence the continued and persistent effort to exert their cyber influence around the world. Between 2018 and 2020, Russia’s cyber espionage and information warfare actions were found in eighty-five countries, totaling six continents and sixteen world regions. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become one of the most prolific actors in cyberspace in the world as his approach is not only to undermine the target, but to influence the target population’s perceptions in ways that favor Russian interests. This paper presents the history of Russian cyber espionage and information warfare by highlighting examples of cyber-attacks and the rationality that led up to them. Following the historical analysis are the types of Russian cyber-attacks, the specific groups behind these attacks, and the motives behind them. The paper concludes by analyzing the state of Russian cyber espionage and information warfare, including an assessment of future attacks and targets in Russia’s future.
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Sun, 10/02/2022 - 6:06pm | 0 comments
Putin’s mobilization is myopically feared by some but does more damage to him at home than anything to help the war effort, the dynamics of which have been set and cannot be altered by this mobilization or “referenda,” gimmicks that reek of desperation and prove Russia is losing even to Russians
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Tue, 09/27/2022 - 9:03pm | 0 comments
Areas controlled by criminal armed groups (CAGs) in Rio de Janeiro grew by 131% over the past 16 years according to a new study released jointly by the Instituto Fogo Cruzado (Cross-Fire Institute), Grupo de Estudos dos Novos Ilegalismos (Study Group for New Illegalisms) at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Fluminense Federal University) (GENI/UFF) on 13 September 2022. Militias were the fastest growing group, expanding rapidly in suburbs while narcotrafficking gangs retained control of favelas.
by Daniel Rice | Tue, 09/27/2022 - 12:16am | 1 comment
Russia indiscriminately targeted civilians with air-dropped cluster bombs in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Donbas, Crimea, Syria and again in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Targeting civilians is a blatant and clear war crime. Russia has never been charged for these intentional war crimes which represent a pattern of behavior that should not only be charged as war crimes, but should cause it to be designated a State Sponsor of Terror.
by Tom Johansmeyer | Mon, 09/26/2022 - 10:14pm | 0 comments
We’ve heard about wars fought for oil for the past century, even if the concept has been exaggerated a bit. In the future, the contested commodity could shift from fossil fuels to water. More than 15% of the world’s water conflicts over the past 4,000 years have arisen since 2020. The notion that wars are fought for resources is almost beyond dispute, and there could be more drivers of conflict coming. Often seen as an alternative to fossil fuels, for which wars clearly have been fought, renewable energy could lead to its own resource conflicts.
by Hannah Wallace | Sat, 09/24/2022 - 2:30am | 0 comments
Along the Iranian border in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) recently purchased two homes and tracts of adjacent land for 700 million Syrian pounds (US$150,000) with the funds provided by Iran’s Hajj organization. A massive new hotel will soon be built on the spot, according to Abdulaziz Al-Sawadi, head of the Political Bureau of the Liberation and Construction Movement, to accommodate Iranian and Iraqi pilgrims.
by James Steels | Sat, 09/24/2022 - 2:22am | 0 comments
In September 2022 Taiwan intercepted and shot down a Chinese surveillance drone that Taiwan said had violated the airspace over one of the islands that they control located off the coast of China. China responded by stating that this was an attempt by Taiwan to ‘hype up tensions’. Was the shooting down of this drone a reckless response from Taiwan, or is China creating a provocation in an attempt to deliberately construct a security issue with Taiwan
by R. McCreight | Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:26pm | 3 comments
What is the strategic value of a covert technology that has consistently displayed a capability to disable and permanently impair basic thought, perception and inflict degrading effects on human neuro-cognitive motor skills?  Is it significant but far less than strategic?  Non-kinetic yet still strategic in impact?  What if an adversary intent on harming US military and civilian leadership could unleash and deploy this technology without fear of detection? What if that adversary knew the US targets had no way to protect themselves from the insidious effects of this covert technology? This is neuro-cognitive warfare which has been taking place during the last decade and which allows an aggressor to attain a degree of strategic leverage and influence literally without firing a shot.
by Benjamin Van Horrick | Fri, 09/16/2022 - 4:38pm | 3 comments
What can a small place tell us about a big war? Carter Malkasian’s 2013 work War Comes to Garmser dissects a single district in southern Afghanistan, offering readers a penetrating account of the war Afghans fought and how America affected that war on the margins. Malkasian foretells the difficulties both nations would experience when America withdrew its support. The 2021 rapid collapse of the Afghan government and return of the Taliban regime requires a reappraisal of Malkasian’s work. Released following the withdrawal of surge forces from Afghanistan, War Comes to Garmser provided a cogent analysis of an Afghan district, how Afghans made decisions under the near-constant threat of violence, and how the United States could have better affected outcomes in Afghanistan. All politics remained local in Garmser. decisions based on historical relationships, the redressing of grievances, and self-interest. The study of a small place offers theorists and practitioners of conflict valuable insights. 
by Marc Belciug | Fri, 09/16/2022 - 4:27pm | 0 comments
Settled on the great river Danube, Izmail (Ishmael) is a city that was once associated with Russian military achievements. It was here that in 1790 the Tsarist generalissimo Alexander Suvorov conquered the Ottoman fortress through a combination of incessant infantry attacks on the fortress walls and a daring beach landing. So important was the battle that it became memorialized in song becoming the unofficial Russian national anthem in the early 19th century. For the people living here, the Siege of Izmail was central to its history. Particularly important was the famous Russian General Suvorov who not only was honored with a great statue in the city square but also with the main street bearing his name. That is until the 24th of February, when Russian declared a special military operation and invaded Ukraine.
by Josh Phillips | Mon, 09/12/2022 - 10:58am | 0 comments
In September 2021, Australia cancelled a $66 billion deal with the government of France to acquire a dozen new ‘Shortfin Barracuda’ diesel-electric submarines and, instead, finalized a replacement within the agreement known as the Australia, United Kingdom, United States pact - the AUKUS agreement. In this deal, the U.S. and the U.K. are to build and deliver eight new Virginia-class nuclear-powered subs to the Royal Australian Navy. This has many implications, but one factor in Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear submarines is their superior range, and the Lombok Strait in Indonesia is one area in which this range matters
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Mon, 09/12/2022 - 9:45am | 0 comments
In many ways, Ukraine’s victories are the products of a mathematical equation involving Putinism, the nature of Russian forces and behaviors, the nature of Ukraine’s forces and behaviors, and the two sides relative places in the wider world..The sum of the parts, in most cases, not going to look terribly different from what we are seeing now. The Russian failures were the almost natural outcomes of years of Putinism, years of one man above all others running the show.  This Ukraine war is the pinnacle of years of Putin’s rule, the best representation of him and the system he built, the people he elevated, the institutions he molded, the natural outcome of his leadership, and it will consume him and his system, an utterly predictable Frankenstein monster utterly predictably doing its father and creator in as can only be the case at this point.  No one can, should, or will be blamed more inside Russia (let alone the rest of the world) for this debacle, just as he would have received most of the praise from Russians had this “special military operation” succeeded (calling it a war in Russia can get you arrested).
by Matthew P. Arsenault | Sun, 09/11/2022 - 8:22pm | 6 comments
Paramilitary and death squad violence characterize much of 21st century conflict. Such political violence is “intrinsic to internal warfare."  Its most recent manifestation emerged in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of Kadyrova paramilitaries and ``private” military companies - coupled with the recent slaughter of civilians in Bucha - suggest a high likelihood of increased paramilitary or death squad violence.  Although initial reports suggest atrocities were committed by the Russian military, we are but a short step from non-military, or paramilitary terror.
by Bol Ring | Sat, 09/10/2022 - 5:14pm | 4 comments
With a pressing issue on both recruiting and retention fronts, the Army is heading for a major drought, as explained by a Washington Military Think Tank. The problem is not confined to enlisted or conventional forces; it extends to the Officer Corps and Special Forces command. For example, in the Special Operations Commands, some organizations are less than 50% staffed due to a lack of Captains and Majors to fill those slots, creating a leadership deficit that could result in various adverse organizational outcomes. Therefore, military retention and recruiting are urgent issues that deserve scholars, military, and policy makers' attention. "We need to clearly understand why servicemembers are electing to get out of the military and to understand what would have kept them in the service," Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly directed.
by Albert Hadi , by Paul Lieber | Sat, 09/10/2022 - 12:31pm | 1 comment
While women have long played an important role in jihad, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now heavily relies on them utilize them to obtain its goals. Even though the physical Caliphate is no more, ISIS's military defeats – to include the recent killing of Ayman Al-Zawahir - have seemingly little impact on deterring the followers of jihad. There remains a distinct possibility of a global ISIS group resurgence, with women serving in more pivotal positions. ISIS women formerly worked mostly in the home as wives and mothers. “Over the past year and a half or so, the Islamic State has quietly shifted from insistence on a strict gender hierarchy to allowing, even celebrating, female participation in military roles”. Thus, and while ISIS continues to shift its focus from governance projects to international terror, its women will be vital members in this change. In northeastern Syria remains a notable ISIS stronghold: the al-Hawl refugee camp. Presently, it holds around 56,000 ISIS-affiliated women and their children, 10,000 of which are foreigners, who surrendered to coalition forces after Baghouz fell in March 2019. ISIS leaders consider this group, notably also its female supporters, integral to their future. While most on the international stage see refugee camps like al-Hawl in the context of developing humanitarian crises, Major General Alexus Grynkewich –Operation Inherent Resolve’s Deputy Commander for Operations - remains specifically worried about female ISIS fighters within the camp, individuals radicalizing other, to include children, within.
by Thomas J. Trent | Sat, 09/10/2022 - 12:14pm | 0 comments
The National Institute of Mental Health and the Veterans Administration were both founded in the wake of World War II. Their emphasis on mental illness resulted in the pervasive adoption and usage of a reactive disease model of mental health. Disease models are intrinsically reactive and result in diagnoses aligned with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), reflected best practices, and were perpetuated in respected scholarly sources. As a result, historical psychopathological treatment modalities negatively affect the Army's ability to fight and win the nation's wars due to increased abnormal mental health diagnoses and decreased psychological capital.
by Daniel Rice | Thu, 09/08/2022 - 6:02pm | 0 comments
This war in Ukraine is the most critical conflict in generations. It is the first major combat action on the European continent in 70 years. And the most important decision facing the west right now is not being debated in public.
by Gerald Krieger | Tue, 09/06/2022 - 4:16pm | 0 comments
The relationship between military professionals and civilian leaders is built on trust, and the military continues to be among America's most trusted vocations. The foundation of the relationship is based upon apolitical advice and counsel on the viability and suitability of military force to achieve national objectives when leaders are contemplating various instruments of national power. The American political arena in contemporary culture is among the most divisive in US history. A case study from our nation's founding through the lens of civil-military relations (CMR) can offer insights for national security professionals. The American people were equally divided between those who supported independence and those who supported the English Crown during the American Revolution. This manuscript argues that Benedict Arnold's treason against the Continental Army stemmed from his fierce resentment of non-British civilian authorities, coupled with his ego and wounded pride, rather than his love for the newly formed United States. This paper will explore some of the events leading to Arnold's treason in Philadelphia. Events in the city tumbled out of control, creating fierce resentment against civil authorities, and generating feelings in Arnold that his staunchest supporter, General George Washington, had betrayed him. One might also conclude that Washington was remiss in his assignment based upon Arnold's character. An exploration into the character of Benedict Arnold allows the reader to grasp the pitfalls and dangers of military officers in a contentious political environment. Arnold's tragic story also highlights the importance of excellent civil-military relations and the dire consequences when such ties sour.
by Matthew P. Arsenault, by Jay Hochstein | Mon, 09/05/2022 - 3:36pm | 0 comments
As Brigadier General S.B. Griffith succinctly points out, “From a purely military point of view, anti-guerilla operations may be summed up in three words: location, isolation, and eradication." This brief paper focuses on one isolation strategy of counterinsurgency warfare. Specifically, the “separation of guerrillas from their sources of information and food, [which] may require the movement and resettlement of entire communities." I examine population resettlement programs from the recent past to gauge the success and failures of various resettlement strategies.  I find strategies where the counterinsurgent credibly commits to promote improvements in the quality of life prove more successful than strategies that simply relocate the population with little or no thought to the welfare of the relocated
by Tom Ordeman, Jr. | Sun, 09/04/2022 - 7:43pm | 0 comments
Two key elements serve as hallmarks of the American military mindset. First: since at least 1945, American troops have considered themselves the undisputed "good guys," the guys in white hats, heirs to the fights against the clear evils of fascism and communism. Second: American troops love science fiction, often for its visions of revolutionary, war-winning technology, rather than for its use in the illustration of social or moral lessons. The former element manifests itself in the attitudes displayed not only by American service personnel, but also in their demeanor. American troops whose great-grandfathers may have served during the Second World War, and who may or may not have seen combat, nonetheless carry themselves as if they personally liberated Paris from the Third Reich's occupying troops. The latter element manifests itself primarily in the adoration of Star Wars, the juggernaut franchise based upon George Lucas' 1977 science fantasy remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. Meanwhile, other media franchises also receive various levels of military attention.
by David Mason | Fri, 09/02/2022 - 10:12am | 0 comments
Of all the things the Russian Government has done with the Wagner Group, this latest report must be the most unambiguous acknowledgement that there is no real legal separation between the two. According to the report, Russian convicts are being offered freedom and financial rewards if they agree to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group. Apparently, Wagner Group’s representatives have travelled to Russian prisons and urged inmates to ‘defend the motherland.’
by Eden Cole | Wed, 08/31/2022 - 5:16pm | 0 comments
"Ths article addresses NATO's imminent defence and security sector reform coordination challenges in Ukraine, outlines the defence and security sector assistance landscape, the value of a return to NATO's Joint Working Group on Defence Reform cooperation framework, key features of NATO-EU cooperation, and the challenges nations will face when systematising current and prior defence and SSR assistance."
by Pete Reider | Tue, 08/30/2022 - 7:15pm | 1 comment
The development and implementation of effective field sanitation and hygiene procedures marked a revolutionary step in battlefield technology. It marked a critical turning point in the early 20th century when the number of soldiers killed from disease an infection was proportionately less than those who died in or were wounded through combat. US planners began to address this problem following the First World War and it was at this point the US transitioned, as Vincent Cirillo notes, from the disease era to the trauma era.
by Marc Belciug | Tue, 08/30/2022 - 6:21pm | 0 comments
The First Chechen War 1994-1996 was post-Soviet Russia’s first significant largescale conflict. After a tenuous peace which resembled only a pause in hostilities, it was followed by the Second Chechen War that lasted from 1999 to 2009.  Differences notwithstanding, similarities with the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war are striking - prompting Michael Kofman, Research Program Director in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analysis (CAN), to say that “as though the ghost of Pavel Grachev is in charge.” By analyzing Russian strategy and strategical effectiveness in historical context, and also assessing what transpired during the conflict, it becomes clear why despite a clear political objective and means to accomplish it, the Russians failed.  The one overwhelming reason is that they proved to be inflexible and ineffective in judging the enemy’s capabilities and the nature of combat.
by Garrett Martin | Thu, 08/25/2022 - 5:11pm | 0 comments
An effective grand strategy aligns the efforts of a nation’s citizens in order to meet security goals. A grand strategy cannot be successfully pursued if the people are unable or unwilling to support the nation’s proposed goals. Modern grand strategy has traditionally utilized national narratives to gain the necessary public buy-in. This article argues that the American people have now grown too incredulous of narratives to support a grand strategy; a modern grand strategy cannot rationally rely on support from a postmodern society. This article theorizes how grand strategy may still align collective efforts without a narrative by conceptualizing a “postmodern grand strategy.”
by Brian E. Frydenborg | Thu, 08/25/2022 - 1:32pm | 0 comments
Big battles and rapid taking or losing of territory are easy to understand and interpret.  When things slow down, though, there is a lot more uncertainty and speculation, but if you take the time to understand why things are slower, it can be as revealing as the big battles and large swaths of territory changing hands. We are now at an interesting time in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a moment where we are seeing two grand overall trends unite to heavily propel things in Ukraine’s favor.  These two overarching trends are that Ukraine is contributing prudence and Russia is contributing its deteriorating capabilities to the conflict in ways that are dictating the pacing and nature of much of the conflict at the moment, especially as most of the energy is now being directed towards the southern theater of action.
by Montassar Adaili | Tue, 08/23/2022 - 2:34pm | 0 comments
Over the last decade, the rise of military performance of non-state actors in wars and their use of terror, and other irregular military tactics led many scholars to speak about new wars. In 2014, the Islamic State emerged as dangerous terrorist group that applied asymmetric military tactics and succeeded in defeating regular forces and occupied territories. This paper seeks to explain the role of military tactics of non-state actors in changing the character of war by analyzing IS’s military tactics, what are they and how the terrorist organization applied them. This article offers better understanding of non-state actors’ tactics in changing the character of war.
by Mae Key-Ketter | Mon, 08/22/2022 - 8:46pm | 0 comments
Book review of Andrea J. Nichols, "Sex Trafficking in the United States: Theory, Research, Policy, and Practice by 2022 SWJ–El Centro Intern Mae Key-Ketter.
by James Rohrer | Mon, 08/22/2022 - 11:43am | 2 comments
Russian aggression in the Ukraine has all the earmarks of 19th century geopolitics.  Prior to the first Great War, war was an extension of diplomacy.  Nations took territory or otherwise expanded their spheres of influence without regard to whether the targets of their aggression had stronger claims to autonomy and control.  Some commentators expressed shock when Russia invaded Ukraine, saying they believed the world had outgrown war as a means of achieving national objectives.  How they arrived at that assumption is not clear.  The purpose of this essay is to apply the core concepts of a 19th century computer simulation war game to the current war in the Ukraine.  The drivers appear to fit the situation and may allow analysts to model developments over time.
by Richard (Dick) Newton, by Daniel Rice | Sun, 08/21/2022 - 10:50pm | 1 comment
Nuclear armed aggressor nations, such as China and Russia, cannot be allowed to invade neighboring sovereign democracies using conventional forces unchecked.  The best way to deter these aggressor nations, both Russia and China, is to arm the democracies with conventional forces capable of defending themselves or making the cost of invasion too costly for the aggressor nations in total terms. -- Provide Ukraine Excess US Air Force F-15s and F-16s...Now