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  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default SWJ: praise given and reviews (merged)

    We needed that boost - if only to keep us sane.

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    Default Observations on Timeliness from the Small Wars Manual

    From Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal blog - Observations on Timeliness from the Small Wars Manual.

    Remaining highly recommended is the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual (large PDF document). The war in Afghanistan is more than 4.5 years old, and the war in Iraq is about 3.5 years old. The SWM has something to way about timeliness that will edify and enrich our understanding of the various blunders that have been made in these wars so far. By way of editorial note, I would comment that there seems to be an undercurrent among supporters of the war(s) that is unhealthy and unproductive for the prospective of evolution in our doctrine, strategy and tactics based on our mistakes. Analysis, assessment and constructive criticism are generally taken to be opposition to the war or to our warriors. To be seen as patriotic and supportive of our troops, one almost has to be jingoistic. This is not a mature attitude, but more importantly, it is not supportive of the necessary changes that will mark the future of warfare and thus the warriors who will be participating in those wars...

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    Default SWJ model the future of academic literature

    Huge props to you guys from Kent's Imperative:

    The new generation of virtual institutions we hope will also be a catalyst for the greater involvement of intelligence professions in the development of the literature in a form that can be shared more widely with the academia as a whole. We firmly believe that publication models such as Small Wars Journal will be the future of the literature. We have also already seen the impact of the virtual on the traditional, as the editorship of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence passed to Richard Valcourt of American Military University. No doubt we shall see other similar effects in the near future, and look forward to the improvement of the literature.

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    Default Actually...

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Huge props to you guys from Kent's Imperative:
    ... the props belong to the Council and its members in many cases where SWJ is mentioned in stories and posts.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    First,

    Nothing but props for SWJ - performs a valuable service very, very, well.

    Calling it a model the future of academic publishing is a stretch - unless we put some real rigorous peer review standards in place beyond the current forums. The key with academic journals is that submissions get reviewed by vetted experts in the field prior to publishing for accuracy of content and method.

    For freewheeling, thought provoking, interactive discussion and debate, it's the right place.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    I think there are a combination of things that point to SWJ (not sure I think there are any like it) as a strong candidate for the future:

    1) Its appeal to a multi-discipline audience that is generally literate on the topic they choose to read and discuss (or at least interested in learning). With respect to the SWJ's chosen topic - this wide audience is particularly relevant.

    2) Its primary accessibility by those with an ISP + the ability to copy, paste, print or send posts, articles, etc. around. While "hardcopy" is a wonderful thing, if that is a sole medium of distribution its more limited to choices made about what content it will have, who it will publish, and where it will be distributed (and as such a slower circulation of ideas).

    3) Its ability as a forum to build around points 1 & 2 and create additional knowledge around new and existing content. This is done quickly while the issue is still relevant. This is huge - it flattens the learning curve in ways that are often hard to account for. It is the assimilation of ideas in ways that are user friendly to the tasks at hand. It is a combination of answering the "so what" and "how can I". The participants care little about being credited, only that the service is rendered. Generally I've seen the authors of pieces more then willing to interact with the community.

    I could add that it has a pretty inclusive feel - meaning newcomers are welcomed until they demonstrate a reason why they should not be - even then they are usually given several chances.

    Neil brings up an interesting point about academic standards, that may depend on who sets the academic standards. What I mean is how involved is the reader in setting the standard vs. the publisher? If the reader is more literate on the subject - meaning in this case the SWC being the "body" that judges vs. just an academic editor who might be well educated to look for errors IAW one of the style manuals - then whose standards are higher in terms of judging value?

    While the editor of a publication must use some decision criteria to decide what goes in a defined volume from month to month or quarter to quarter - how is that different from the way an online pub like SWJ is set to take advantage of new information quickly?

    I still see a place for hard copy only publications (to include those with an online version), but I prefer to view the relationship as complimentary - not competitive. If I had to choose just one though - I'd go with SWJ - or its future cousins.

    Best, Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Calling it a model the future of academic publishing is a stretch - unless we put some real rigorous peer review standards in place beyond the current forums. The key with academic journals is that submissions get reviewed by vetted experts in the field prior to publishing for accuracy of content and method.
    In addition, it will depend on whether academic institutions will decide to allocate any professional value to online publishing, blogging, forum moderation, etc. At the moment, they usually count for somewhere between "very little" and "nothing" for salary and promotion purposes.

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Right now, I'm working on a historical perspective and qualitative discussion of forecasting outcomes for a bunch of computer folks. I'm citing SWC as an example of the emerging model of decentralized, collaborative approaches to anticipating outcomes. The speed and adaptiblity of this framework (with the right participants) is mind-boggling.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    First,

    Nothing but props for SWJ - performs a valuable service very, very, well.

    Calling it a model the future of academic publishing is a stretch - unless we put some real rigorous peer review standards in place beyond the current forums. The key with academic journals is that submissions get reviewed by vetted experts in the field prior to publishing for accuracy of content and method.

    For freewheeling, thought provoking, interactive discussion and debate, it's the right place.
    We do have a peer review system for journal articles, although it's more on the line of what academic history journals use vice the scientific ones. Having had a couple of things published in the academic line (history), I can say that our process is at least as good as the one I dealt with. Not saying we can't always get better, mind, but I also didn't want folks to think that we don't have a peer review process in place.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    First,

    Nothing but props for SWJ - performs a valuable service very, very, well.

    Calling it a model the future of academic publishing is a stretch - unless we put some real rigorous peer review standards in place beyond the current forums. The key with academic journals is that submissions get reviewed by vetted experts in the field prior to publishing for accuracy of content and method.

    For freewheeling, thought provoking, interactive discussion and debate, it's the right place.
    Could not agree more strongly. I find SWJ a constant source of inspiration and the gold standard of informed scepticism to run ideas around in. Most of the progress my thinking has made in the last year is directly attributable to SWJ.

    ...but it's not the equivalent, or substitute for a peer reviewed academic or professional journal, and should not be regarded as such.

    SWJ is the mule I took on 27 campaigns, not the fine horse I ride in parades to impress chicks.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Cool Creating an IW Education Pgm at SOCOM

    I've read this blog with interest because I've been tasked to develop an IW education pgm for the Joint Special Operations University at USSOCOM. Our primary audience will be our SOF Community (Operators / Staff / Enablers), but we also must include the spectrum of IW actors to make this thing worthwhile and holistic (IA, Academia, NGO, IO, Multinational, Business, etc...). As a former instructor at West Point and CGSC, I understand the value of brick & mortar classes...but...we're in an age where technology and OPTEMPO requires us to have persistent education through the internet (IMO)(online classes, portals for info / issues updates, blogs, wikipedias, etc). My going in idea is to :

    1) Create dynamic brick and mortar courses that combine progressive adult learning techniques, use of internet resources, films-documentaries, subject matter experts to facilitate maximum learning (JSOU's format is usually 1 & 2 week courses), panels, debates, etc...

    2) Dedicate a portion of the in-class and out-of-class design to teach students how to learn in this current educational/technological environment (Improving memory techniques, speed reading, critical thinking, internet research skills, etc...) With only a week or two, we can only scratch the surface of the intracacies of IW subjects - important to guide students and enable them for self-learning due to optempo issues and preference (younger students are learning more on their own nowadays)

    3) TOUGH ONE: Provide students a concise reach-back, online resource so they can continue to learn after the brick & mortar class. As mentioned in this blog, there are tons of IW Ctrs of Excellence, programs and projects in and out of DOD and internationally - you all know what I'm talking about. I literally run across a new program, website, DOD project every day that needs to be included in our effort. The SWJ definitely will be an integral resource ...but...how do we manage these random "1000 Points of Educational Light" to give our students a focused reachback point of continued learning?

    I sent out an email request two weeks ago to mainly the (US) Prof Military Education folks for assistance in starting yet another IW Educational COI: sharing ideas, curriculums, briefs, articles, etc... I've received good responses so I know there's an interest in supporting this initiative.

    My question or request from the SWJ community is to provide suggestions in the best way to create and maintain this focused, IW learning portal. Going in position is "Don't care who gets credit for this - would love to have a consortium of sponsors / participants all considered equals in this endeavor. I'll be working with folks like JFCOM, Services, DOS, USAID, Brits, Canadians, Aussies, IA (SOCOM has LNOs within most major interagency orgs now), pvt security firms, select NGOs, and the UN for starters.

    If anyone knows someone who is conducting research in this area (Modern Collaboration Techniques), please let me know.

    [B]I'm also looking for participants that have Subject Matter Expertise in the IW areas listed in the IW JOC (Insurgency/COIN, Terrorism/CT, Unconventional Warfare, Foreign Internal Defense, Stability and Support Operations, and "Understanding People" + the other areas to:
    1) Join the cause
    2) Provide access to their materials for the IW educational community
    3) Be willing to be a guest instructor
    4) Be willing to keep the community updated in their particular areas of expertise

    If interested, please contact me via PM for additional details

    De Oppresso Liber!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-27-2009 at 10:26 PM. Reason: Contact details amended to via PM.

  12. #12
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Yes I have been involved with "modern collaboration techniques". I am NOT a military instructor though and I may be missing elements of your culture. Go to my blog and look up the category scholarship of teaching and learning. I've got a few academic papers published on Web 2.0 tools for learning, and curriculum topics. To say as specific as your previous statements, the universe of the implications is vast, well is a simplification.
    Sam Liles
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    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

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    ISTM a lot will depend on what classification(s) you plan for your portal.

    As for the format, I would seriously consider the wiki model for a few reasons:

    1. As an established, standardized tool, almost everyone understands it. One of my biggest complaints about DoD "portals" of all kinds is that they are all different and many are poorly designed and confusing to navigate. A known standard interface and simplicity should be a priority.

    2. Allows for collaboration among all your stakeholders.

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    Not sure how active this thread is any more, but I thought I'd add my two cents worth anyway. A couple of the posters have suggested that it might be a stretch to consider the SWJ community of platforms a model for future academic work. Rex rightly points out that at least for academics, blogging, forum moderation, etc., count for next to nothing towards the ticket punching that needs to be done for academics to progress.

    Where this sort of thing can be better sold to academia is it's value as an extended seminar or workshop platform, a way of extending influence into the public domain, as "conversation" and "discussion" rather than as "publication". I think where some new media can easily fail is in trying to function as an alternative to peer-reviewed publication, or trying to replicate it in accelerated form, or trying to revolutionize how peer-review is done.

    Why compete? Blogs, discussion fora, online magazines, all offer opportunities to extend debate and enable new and non-traditional voices to be heard - many of them non-academic practitioners with plenty to say. The can also enable academics, who might never be read or hear by any but their own narrow realm of academic peers, to become members of broader communities of interests, to have their work and ideas introduced to previously estranged communities.

    If the management side of things remains focused, and keeps the content focused - as with SWJ/SWC - then the model works, and can be applied in innovative ways.
    --
    Michael A. Innes, Editor & Publisher
    Current Intelligence Magazine

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    Default SWJ is Hot? Yep. So Says Rolling Stone...

    What do Lady Gaga and Small Wars Journal have in common? One is on the cover of the Rolling Stone and one isn’t – but sure enough both made the Rolling Stone 2009 “Hot List” – go figure.

    Stocks may tumble and fortunes may fall, but hotness, it seems, is eternal.

    There was some concern about compiling our latest Rolling Stone Hot List during an ice-cold era. But it seems that in these uncertain, gray days, we need what our Managing Editor Will Dana called "the sparkly and the sexy, the perfectly shaped diversions America leads the world in creating."

    ... Since we launched the Hot List in 1986, we've had our share of hits and misses (check our cover gallery to revisit all out past Hot Issues, from Angelina to Giselle to Britney). In 1988, we profiled "Hot Character Actor" Kevin Spacey, and we're particularly proud that in 1990, we introduced readers to a 23-year-old screenwriter named Jeffrey Abrams (you might know him now as Lost and Star Trek visionary J.J. Abrams). Of course, we've also missed the mark — in 1990, we thought Renny Harlin's hot streak would last, and the same issue that featured Abrams also declared Tevin Campbell "Hot Prodigy."

    This time, we're banking on an assortment of movers, shakers and muckrakers that runs the gamut from the warfare digest "Small Wars Journal" to Hot Issue cover girl Lady Gaga…
    Rolling Stone’s 2009 Hot List - as soon as we grab a hard copy of RS we'll post the SWJ entry - anyone seen it yet and care to share below? This issue has not hit the news stands as yet.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Really?

    So does that mean we, the community are hot?

    I know the Post modern COIN avant-garde want to be "hot" as any group pushing an agenda does, but I no longer see them here on SWJ?

    What I see, and why I am still here 2 years later, is a mostly a bunch of hard nosed pragmatists, pretty un-interested in silly "new war" ideas or much of the silly language that goes with it.

    In fact, I am far from the only Clausewitian here and you don't get less "hot" than CvC.

    Happy being "cool" though.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Wilf, it was the Conspiracy thread that did it....nobody noticed us before

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    So does that mean we, the community are hot?
    ... Happy being "cool" though.
    Of course "we" - as I said - go figure .

  19. #19
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    So is Lady Gaga gonna join SWJ? Maybe host a non-virtual?

    Maybe a centerfold in the Journal?

  20. #20
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default A Poet's view of life applies to us, too.

    The Scottish Poet Robert (Bobby) Burns said it in plain simple English: "It takes no brains, no genius to criticize."

    "Pedants will be able to cite exceptions, and thus undermine useful (insightful) theory. Their depredations must be firmly resisted by one simple test: does the theory generally aid understanding of useful military problems? If so, then exceptions are permissible."
    J.P. Storr “Human Aspects of Command”

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