View Full Version : SWC strategy: what future improvements are needed?

05-26-2014, 09:03 PM
SWC faces the problem of now being a long-lived forum, with a hard core of regular contributors and different views, e.g kingjaja from Nigeria. Alongside for the American majority maybe thinking 'small wars' are in retreat, so let's move along now.

A member has suggested this thread for a discussion about future improvements for SWC / Blog / Journal.

Yes there are previous, relevant threads. Such as Recruiting for SWC members because.... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3837) and That's you SWC: the most vibrant professional debates (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/That's you SWC: the most vibrant professional debates)

05-27-2014, 12:07 PM
The CIMSEC blog has theme weeks, which I think is a nice idea.

Imagine a theme month here at Council followed by the same theme months two months later in Blog and Journal.
Themes could be (just to offer a feeling for what I think of)
- The conflict between Armenia and Azarbaijan
- The threshold between domestic conflict and foreign intervention
- the fiscal costs of adding or having a military expeditionary capability, and comparison thereof with non-military efforts in foreign policy
- The fate of proxies (a list for the 1948-today period)
- unresolved border conflicts on land
- unresolved maritime zone conflicts, history and IL

Previously entirely or partially uninvolved outsiders could be invited to contribute by moderators and members.

05-28-2014, 09:06 AM
Just like the Marine Corps Must change if it is going to survive so must the SWC/Journal. I say we should transform from the Small Wars Journal to the Marine Warfare Journal and along with the new name it would provide a new Strategic Angle on the future of advanced Marine /joint /combined forces operations.

Red Rat
05-31-2014, 02:13 PM
Small Wars has traditionally brought together the Planners, Practitioners and Thinkers and that IMHO has been its strength. With the drawdown in operation tempo the focus I think will turn more to the thinkers and planners and an emphasis on horizon scanning.

Compared to other sites the breadth and depth of the analysis and comment is what continues to hallmark SWJ from its peers. I am not sure about the US and other militaries but SWJ appears on most UK military reading lists, an indication of the regard in which it continues to be held.

I like the idea of themes and I think there is mileage here. Possibly the SWJ editorial team could be more pro-active in reaching out to the lurkers and shirkers out there (I include myself in this illustrious company :D) for contributions to planned themes?

05-31-2014, 04:24 PM
I like Fuchs' idea....a different theme every few weeks. Maybe SWC can organize "interventions" / conflicts / wars under "past", "present", & "future" so folks could discuss the finer points about Vietnam or Algeria, the Caucasus or Syria, and/ or potential involvement in various areas of Africa, South America, or Asia.

05-31-2014, 04:39 PM
Conceptually Small Wars isn't just COIN. There have been lots of discussion around regional conflicts, and traditional US centric law enforcement applied in other nations as military pacification operations. The Insurgency v. Big War or (HIC v. LIC) fight in US politics is really a budget battle.

There is some artificial smashing together of special operations forces and insurgency that are not necessarily valid. The "how" you task a mission and to "whom" you task a mission does not make the overall strategy owned by that tasking. SOF doesn't have to be about insurgency but some SOF is about insurgency.

So you've got on one hand a HIC v. LIC debate dealing with small wars. A just use less tanks is a valid way to fight a small war. You have a kill all the irregulars in the darkness with cool toys SOF type construct. I think that the SWC sits above that fray and a place where all of the players can discuss regional and sub regional conflict inclusive of insurgency but not exclusively insurgency.

Smedley Butler said "war is a racket" and suggested that the military of most industrial nations are pawns to the political interest rather than the strategic necessity. That suggests a whole line of future conflicts at the sub regional level that almost nobody is studying.

Just some opinions and thoughts before the second cup of coffee.

05-31-2014, 05:28 PM
Watching and learning here, keep it up. SWJ/SWC will stay, it's what we are about. That said, we can always improve. My thoughts on this issue are contained in a recent interview I did for War on the Rocks - http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/5-questions-with-dave-dilegge-on-small-wars-and-coin-cocktails/

Bill Moore
06-01-2014, 12:51 AM
Watching and learning here, keep it up. SWJ/SWC will stay, it's what we are about. That said, we can always improve. My thoughts on this issue are contained in a recent interview I did for War on the Rocks - http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/5-questions-with-dave-dilegge-on-small-wars-and-coin-cocktails/

Great interview, but what bothers me and what I think is starting to impact the SWJ site was how the last question was phrased about the debate between COINdinistas and COINtras. It is a shame that if some of us are opposed to our 2006 and 2014 versions COIN doctrine manuals that automatically means we're opposed to studying COIN. We even had one bonehead post that he was surprised that SWJ even allows Bing to post articles on SWJ because he is opposed to our COIN doctrine. Obviously hasn't been around SWJ long.

It is time to move beyond the COINdista and COINtra argument and discuss what small wars we need to engage in to protect our interests, and how we should engage is still open, it is not predetermined by FM 3-24.

To me a COINdista is someone who blindly embraces the current FM, not someone who advocates we need to be prepared to conduct COIN. That is a big difference, not a nuance that seems to be lost in the discussions.

06-01-2014, 06:34 PM
Currently the world is seeing and experiencing a mixture of a large number of apparently different/unrelated and yet intertwined/connected issues;

1. the new Russian UW strategy that is tied to political warfare which has opened the discussion on
2. the changing of international existing borders based on ethnicity, language and culture as defined by the Putin Duma speech which affects roughly 250 "hotspots" worldwide with a large number in Africa and Asia and the impact of this new "Putin doctrine" on Europe
3. the new Chinese Three Warfare Stages and the impact of that on the South China Sea and it's rim
4. Cyper attacks, criminal internet activities, and internet industrial espionage by Russia, China, and Iran
5. the Iranian hegemony drive and the rivalry between Iran and the Sunni world
6. the ME unfinished Arab Springs
7. the Syrian civil war with the interaction of Shia/Sunni/US and Russian expansionism
8. the Palestinian/Israeli conflict
9. water was a weapon and point of conflict
10. the expansion of AQ into "failed and or semi failed" states
11. the use of an European Army to address African failed states ie AR
12. current NATO or new NATO or ditch NATO-crate new European Defense Force and create a new European political sphere and decouple for US "lead"
13. the potential collapse of NK and the impact on SK
14. redeveloping Japanese military and it's impact on it's neighbors
15. redeveloping rivalry between the US and Russia
16. globalization and economic competition
17. US redeveloping foreign relations with Philippines and Vietnam
18. transnational criminal organizations ie drugs, human trafficking and money laundering
19. the need of a national level UW and counter UW strategy

The list could go on.

At the core of the above debates should be-- is the current foreign policy as envisioned by this WH ie "soft power" via leadership/dialogue capable of even coming close to resolving any of the about issues.

The concept of "small wars" has actually entered into a totally new sphere and the question is ---is the military and senior leadership even prepared to address this new environment that is so intertwined/complex with a "reduced defense budget and a smaller military" and a population that is tired of war/conflict.

The reason for the expansion of say War on the Rocks is the ease in getting articles published vs the almost doctorial thesis style of articles being published that while nice to have as reference materials it slows down the release process as many who would like to contribute do not have the time to write a "thesis".

Thus shorter, more concise, and thought provoking articles keyed to a specific topic opening a discussion and then letting the discussion flow in a free exchange would allow the audience to be expanded.

Also the idea of COIN has to a degree run it's course while the current foreign policy statements seem to be backing away from boots on the ground any time soon thus maybe a discussion that Robert, David an Bill M have pushed for awhile ---a deeper understanding of a national UW strategy or revolutionary populations and their development into insurgencies might also be a way forward for discussions.

06-01-2014, 07:09 PM
The concept of "small wars" has actually entered into a totally new sphere.

Attention has indeed been (in the West) on violent occupation missions for a decade. By now, government violence below the threshold to conventional warfare has attracted more attention, and led to a renewed interest in deterring such activities.

It's been once more an utter failure to get the 'fashion' right until the deficiency was obvious to every half-wit. And I insist that several self-proclaimed or 'recognised' "security policy experts" fall into the category of said half-wits.
Much style, no substance. That's part of Western defence policy troubles and the reason for an incredible waste of resources.

Wouldn't it be fascinating if there was a place that's not drumming the beat of the fashion du jour, but giving international security problems their due attention?