Special Operation Forces News Update – 20170705

Tailgating HC-130J Combat King II
Tailgating HC-130J Combat King II (Photo by Tech Sgt Zachary Wolf, USAF, June 27, 2017 at Moody Air Force Base, GA).

SOF News Update 20170705 – SOF mission in Syria, women and the draft, SOF’s cultural failure in Philippines, B-54 SADM & SF, Jackie Chan’s next movie, ARNG sniper school at Fort McCoy, “Russian” brigade at NTC, French military in the Sahel, forward-basing in Europe vs. rotating units, recruiting women for the military, and more.

Bearded SOF in Syria. David Ignatius writes about the Special Forces mission in Syria – their daily routine, living conditions, dangers, and the fact that they are “winning”. Read “Meet These Brave Americans in Syria”The Washington Post, July 3, 2017.

Women and the Draft? With all the fuss about women’s equality in the military and Congressional push for including women in SOF and combat arms units one would think that there would be momentum for true equality. Not so much. Read “Congress Shelves Plan to Have Women Register for the Draft”Task and Purpose, July 1, 2017.

B-54 SADM (Backpack Nuke) and Special Forces. For a quarter of a century Special Forces A-teams trained on how to infiltrate behind enemy lines with the B-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition. MAROPs, HALO, and other specialty teams trained on ways to bring in the back pack nuke to hit highly sensitive and critical targets in case of a general war with the Soviet Union. Read “For 25 years, U.S. Special Forces Carried Miniature Nukes on Their Backs”, Smithsonian.com, February 10, 2014.

When the Going Gets Tough – A SEAL’s Advice. When faced with adversity or hardship it is tough to live a normal life. A person needs resilience to live a fulfilling life. Learn more in “A Navy SEAL’s Advice on Living a More Fulfilling Life”Task and Purpose, April 13, 2015.

French and U.S. Non-Cooperation in the Sahel. The French want to create a regional African security force in the Sahel region of Africa to fight extremist and terrorist groups. However, this move is opposed by the U.S. – for reasons not entirely clear to many observers. Read more in “The U.S.-France Dustup Over Counterterrorism in the Sahel”RAND Corporation, June 2017.

Transgender Policy On Hold. Military chiefs will get another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services will affect the readiness or lethality of the force. Read “Mattis delays new transgender policy for US military”Military Times, June 30, 2017.

SOF’s Cultural Failure in the Philippines. Cole Livieratos, an Army officer in Military Information Support Operations (MISO), has penned an article critical of U.S. Special Operations Forces past mission in the Philippines. He believes that USSOCOM, with its current priorities and organization, “. . . is not positioned to defeat the Islamic State because it does not prioritize operations to limit the Islamic State’s global appeal.” He cites as an example the resources and priorities to the SOF units involved in the fight against the Islamic State in the Philippines. A excellent read! See “A Cultural Failure: U.S. Special Operations in the Philippines and the Rise of the Islamic State”War on the Rocks, July 3, 2017.

NTC and It’s “Russian Brigade”. Many field exercises incorporate the use of Opposing Forces or OPFOR. At the National Training Center (NTC) located at Fort Irwin, California the OPFOR is the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (replicating the  60th Guards Motorized Rifle Division). Read more in “Russian Combat Brigade the U.S. Army Keeps for Training”Popular Mechanics, June 29, 2017.

Study – Forward Basing Cheaper than Rotating Units. The Army has finally figured out that forward basing a brigade in Germany is cheaper than constantly rotating units in and out of Europe. Read “Army War College report: Basing units overseas is cheaper than troop rotations”, Army Times, July 1, 2017.

RAND Report – Recruiting Women. The RAND Corporation has published a 94-page paper on recruiting women for the military. Specifically, the report looks at the recent recruits’ view on the policy change allowing women in combat and some recommendations on changes that would aid recruiting women for the military. See “Recruiting Policies and Practices for Women in the Military”RAND, June 2017.

Movie Trailer – The Foreigner. Jackie Chan, usually known for his great karate kicks and roles in comedies, plays a more serious part as a special ops guy after his daughter is killed in a terrorist incident. The Foreigner comes out this fall. Watch the trailer in “Jackie Chan Plays a Revenge-Fueled Ex-Military Super Spook in ‘The Foreigner'”Task and Purpose, July 3, 2017.

Army NG Sniper Course at Fort McCoy. The Army National Guard has an new 10-day sniper course that trains marksmen on sniping tactics, techniques, and procedures. Read “The Army’s Specialized New Training Course is Designed to Make Snipers Deadlier Than Ever”Task and Purpose, June 30, 2017.

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