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Bring back branch magazines
A proto-Harding Project article
In Aprilpublished “Bring Back Branch Magazines” at West Point’s Modern War Institute. This article garnered interest in military publications that led to the Harding Project’s launch.
I don’t fully know why Special Warfare seems to have died. Published out of the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Special Warfare has been the branch magazine of the United States Army’s Special Forces—a formerly thriving place for discourse, disagreement, and discussion of the issues on the minds of the Army’s special operations professionals. The fact that it is no longer such a place is a loss for both Army special operations forces and the entire special operations community.
However, just as Special Warfare seemed to be nearing its end, the Irregular Warfare Initiative launched, bringing together practitioners and academics to discuss irregular warfare. The overlap between these audiences is not a perfect circle, but it is close. How could Special Warfare die and the Irregular Warfare Initiative thrive? Special Warfare benefitted from institutional support, a professional editing team, and a print shop. But Special Warfare’s most recent publication was a 7,168-word issue in March 2022. Three military officers found free time during their graduate studies to build the Irregular Warfare Initiative into an outlet that published 21,775 words last month alone. Dispassionate analysis would have favored Special Warfare, but the dedication of those professionals built the Irregular Warfare Initiative into a modern, multiplatform outlet.
The tale of these two outlets is reflected across the Army’s professional publishing landscape today. Like Special Warfare, other branch magazines are in decline, publishing fewer pages, less often, and to smaller audiences. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By either reforming the Army’s professional journals into modern multiplatform outlets powered by constantly renewing volunteers, or merging with an existing modern platform, branch magazines can again engage their specialist audiences, drive debate about emerging concepts and doctrine, and ready the Army for the next war.
Check out the full article over at MWI: https://mwi.usma.edu/bring-back-branch-magazines/
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