Directors of a long-standing bulwark of military writing about counterinsurgency strategies, tactics, and techniques have publicly resolved to continue operations, after the May 2, 2020 death of its founding editor.
David Dilegge, 63, was a U.S. Marine and Gulf War veteran, and the founding editor of Small Wars Journal. Launched in 2005, the on-line publication and forum represented a consolidation and evolution of venues previously established by Dilegge, including the brands MOUT Homepage, Urban Operations Journal, and urbanoperations.com. The name "Small Wars Journal" evokes the title of a 1940 U.S. Marine Corps manual regarding counterinsurgency ("COIN") methods. The publication is financially underwritten by the Virginia-based 501(c)3 non-profit Small Wars Foundation.
The publication has been a constant platform (and sanctuary) for military and civilian voices, regarding the applications of military knowledge and force in situations other than war. Even during long-running "small" engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, discourse in military circles often centers on whether armies, plans, doctrines, and strategies should solely focus on "force-on-force" scenarios, or include less-intensive missions.
As the "about" page at Small Wars Journal helps define the term further:
The term “Small War” either encompasses or overlaps with a number of familiar terms such as counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense, support and stability operations, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and many flavors of intervention. Operations such as noncombatant evacuation, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance will often either be a part of a Small War, or have a Small Wars feel to them. Small Wars involve a wide spectrum of specialized tactical, technical, social, and cultural skills and expertise, requiring great ingenuity from their practitioners.
In a post that followed Dilegge's death, directors noted that discussions of small wars are again falling out of military fashion, but resolved to help continue the fight:
We are now in the era of Great Power Competition as described in the U.S. National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy. We seem to be moving from a population centric focus to platform centric concepts. […]
We do not reject the focus on capabilities for major theater warfare and open state-on-state conflict. We do, however, still maintain that competency in small wars is not automatically a lesser included capability of a highly capable military force. Small wars thinking remains vital to studying the full spectrum of conflict. Practical small wars capabilities must remain available tools in the toolbox for international engagement. […]
For writers' guidelines, visit Small Wars Journal here.
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