Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction Services, Snell Library, Northeastern University
Dave Dilegge, founder and Editor in Chief of Small Wars Journal, is a retired USMCR Intelligence and Counterintelligence/HUMINT officer, and former USMC civilian intelligence analyst. He developed The MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) webpage on Geocities in the late nineties, which later became the Urban Operations Journal, an “open-to-anyone resource.” The latest iteration is the Small Wars Journal, named in deference to the USMC’s 1940 Small Wars Manual, which provided the definition and banner to the journal’s homepage: “Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation.”
The Small Wars Journal publishes “original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders,” such as active or retired military and law enforcement professionals, researchers and academics, as well as policymakers. The publication fills a need for serious, professional, unclassified information for a highly diverse community. Articles are reviewed and published as they are submitted, under a Creative Commons License. Shorter submissions may be considered for the SWJ Blog. Articles in the February 2015 issue included “Urban Siege in Paris: A Spectrum of Armed Assault,” “Colombian Peace Negotiations, A Critical Juncture for Positive Change?” “The ISIS Beheading Narrative,” and a book review for America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.
There’s also a page called “El Centro” (“downtown” in Spanish), which focuses on Latin America’s guerrilla wars and criminal insurgencies. “The elephant in the hemispheric room is clearly the epidemic criminal, cartel and gang threat, fueled by a drug and migration economy, rising to the level of local and national criminal insurgencies and a significant U.S. national security risk. “ A combination of articles and blog postings, “El Centro” also boasts a reading list and link to outside resources.
Additionally, Small Wars Journal has a News page with articles pulled from many respected publications, such as Foreign Policy, VOA (Voice of America), BBC and the New York Times. News items are arranged in subject categories, such as geographic regions, including Australia, South Asia and Africa, as well as Terrorism/Counterterrorism, IS/ISIS/ISIL, NATO, and U.S. Department of Defense. Content may be viewed by category, recent headlines or those with the most headlines.
The subject diversity and timeliness of the content, along with its open access, online publishing environment, makes Small Wars Journal a welcome addition to academic and public libraries and a viable alternative for those libraries unable to afford the similar journal, Small Wars and Insurgencies.