Small Wars Journal

small wars

Saving Blood & Treasure: The Evolving Art of War and the Application of Design Methodology to Complex Problems of 21st Century Small Wars

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 12:25am
The United States and its Allies have historically been successful at fighting conventional wars. America must both build on its understanding of past state-on-state conflicts and learn from the small wars of this young century to be able to fight and win future wars.

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Leveraging Incomplete Sovereignty: Building a Peaceful Empire on the Cheap

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 5:09am
Why has the United States focused their grand strategy on influencing states and central governments rather than the ungoverned areas within them? Pursuing reluctant authoritarians rather than the accepted rulers who control the land outside the states control has been a failed and misguided strategy.

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Assessment of U.S. Involvement to Counter Hutu Extremists’ Plans for Tutsi Genocide in Early 1994

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 8:16am
The U.S. could have countered the genocide the April 1994 genocide in Rwanda. While it is very difficult to envision a scenario whereby the U.S. conducted unilateral military actions once the genocide started, the various indicators prior to that date offered the U.S. the opportunity, working through the United Nations (UN), to act to prevent the genocide before it started.

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Assessing the Jefferson Administration’s Actions During the First Barbary Wars and their Impact on U.S. Small War Policy

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 2:40am
The First Barbary War of 1801 was the first significant American engagement outside of the Western Hemisphere and the second significant engagement against a foreign state without a formal declaration of war. Furthermore, this war’s multilateral strategy of using a coalition and diplomatic pressure provides valuable insight into the elements of a successful limited military operation.

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Assessment of the Legion as the Ideal Small Wars Force Structure

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 9:58am
After the Massacre at the Wabash in 1791, George Washington and Henry Knox reformed the U.S. Army as the Legion of the United States. The Legion was a self-contained modular army composed of four identical combined-arms units. During the Fallen Timbers campaign, the Legion proved itself the ideal force structure for use in small wars. The Brigade Combat Team is the closest the U.S. Army has ever come to reviving the legionary structure.

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The US Presidency and Small Wars: Genealogy of the Mismanagement of International Conflict

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 2:16am
It could be argued that Presidential war power was significantly reduced by Congress' War Powers Act of 1973, yet today in the post-September 11th, 2001 era, we are dealing with a Presidency that has been allowed to mismanage conflict through successive administrations leaving it to the other to end conflicts started by the former. Herein lies the contradiction of limit and power embedded within the DNA of the Presidency: the limit of time to see a conflict from beginning to end, and the enormous amount of presidential war power to start a conflict without the consent of Congress. This is where mismanagement begins and ends, with the new occupant of the office and their advisors.

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Assessment of the Role of Small Wars within the Evolving Paradigm of Great Power Competition in a Multipolar World

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 12:27pm
This article is published as part of the Small Wars Journal and Divergent Options Writing Contest which ran from March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. More information about the writing contest can be found here.

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Small Wars Preparations in Support of the Joint Operational Environment 2035 SWJED Mon, 04/22/2019 - 2:49am
Preparations for future small wars described in the JOE 2035 must account for stability operations, FHA and peace operations, and counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations. Viewing these types of small wars as distinctly separate and mutually exclusive is a flawed perspective; the world is an interconnected place and the types of small wars the joint force may encounter in the future will often occur simultaneously and as a result of one another.

The Myths of Traditional Warfare: How Our Peer and Near-Peer Adversaries Plan to Fight Using Irregular Warfare

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 5:59am
The belief that peer/near-peer/VEO competitors and adversaries will only fight us via traditional warfare, man to man, tank to tank, ship to ship, and plane to plane, are missing the historical and present day reality that these designated threats are currently competing and prevailing over us via Irregular Warfare activities in the competition space, and doing so quite successfully.

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