SOF News Update 20161002 – Counter-Terrorism, Australian SAS to train NATO troops, India’s communist rebels, museum for Navy SEALs, airstrikes in Somalia, article about UW in Gray Zones, Son Tay Raiders reunion, Soldier’s Medal for Green Beret, Turkey Special Forces in northern Syria, female attempting TACP training falls short, and more.
Maoists of India. Almost 90 percent of terrorism related deaths worldwide are caused by Islamic terrorists – the remaining terrorist related deaths are by the remnants of leftist (communist) rebel groups. One such group is the Maoists of India (sometimes referred to as Naxalites). Read more in “Counter-Terrorism: Distant Second and Fading”, Strategy Page, September 28, 2016.
Endstate Fallacy: How Do Wars End? Anthony H. Cordsman of the Center for Stategic & International Studies (CSIS) has penned a paper that discusses how wars and conflicts will result in endstates that are hard to control or pre-determine. He looks at the five conflicts (wars) the U.S. is currently involved in (with either conventional or special operations forces) – Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Read The “End State” Fallacy: Setting the Wrong Goals for War Fighting, CSIS, September 26, 2016.
Green Beret Recognized for Boston Marathon Heroism. An Army Special Forces officer, LTC David Diamond, had just completed the 2013 Boston Marathon when he heard a loud blast. A veteran of five tours in Iraq, he immediately ran to the scene of the explosion and began providing life-saving first aid. Read “Green Beret awarded for heroism during ‘pandemonium’ of Boston bombing”, The Hill Defense Blog, September 27, 2016.
Australian SAS to Train NATO Troops. Australian special operations troops are training up Iraqi government forces as part of a larger NATO-led effort. In addition, it appears that Australia’s relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will continue to grow. Read more in “Australia’s SAS elite set to train elite European troops”, The West Australian, September 28, 2016.
41-Year-Old Chaplain Earns Ranger Tab. An Army officer with zero tactical knowledge has passed Ranger school. Read his story in Task & Purpose, September 28, 2016.
Son Tay Raiders Reunion. In November 1970 a group of Special Forces Soldiers boarded helicopters and landed at a North Vietnamese prisoner of war (POW) camp thought to house a number of American POWs. The camp was empty but it prompted better treatment of the POWs by the North Vietnamese. The SF Soldiers recently held a reunion. Read “Son Tay raiders reunite at Fort Bragg”, Fayetteville Observer, October 1, 2016.
Female Attempting TACP Training Injured. The first woman to enter Tactical Air Control Party training has left the program due to an injury. She was in the TACP Preparatory Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Read more in “First woman to attempt TACP training left after injury”, Air Force Times, September 28, 2016.
Paralyzed Green Beret Can Remain in Army. The Special Forces Soldier who suffered a serious injury trying to rescue a drowning victim can be honorably discharged and receive medical care for his injury after discharge. The Army has overturned a decision to discharge him with a less than honorable record which would have cost him thousands in medical expenses for the rest of his life. Sanity prevails! The current leadership in 7th Special Forces is viewed by some as ‘toxic’; which may have contributed to this case getting so out of hand – and requiring the intervention of a U.S. Congressman and the commander of USASOC. Read more in “Army Overturns Decision to Kick Out Paralyzed Hero”, The Daily Beast, September 29, 2016.
“Defensive” Airstrikes in Somalia. The U.S. has had SOF operating in Somalia for a few years – working with Somalian counter-terrorist forces. Part of the assistance the U.S. SOF provides are enablers – such as ISR and airstrikes. The United States African Command (AFRICOM) has been releasing news reports about ‘self defense air strikes’ in Somalia. There is a little more to the story. Read “AFRICOM masks military operations in Somalia as ‘self defense strikes'”, The Long War Journal, October 1, 2016.
Turkish SF in northern Syria. Turkey has deployed hundreds of its Special Forces into northern Syria. Not to fight the Syrian regime troops; not to wage war against ISIS; but to stop the advance of the Kurdish forces that have been doing the heavy lifting against the Islamic State. Read more in a news report by The Independent, October 1, 2016.
More on northern Syria. A week ago the press was reporting that U.S. Special Forces were ‘run out’ of a northern Syrian town by a militia group. Seems it didn’t quite go down that way; it was a propaganda ploy by one of the many factions involved in the fighting. The situation in northern Syria is confusing at best. One recent news report tries to shed light on the whole mess. Read “Syrian Rebels Taunt U.S. Troops”, The Daily Beast, September 30, 2016.
Article – UW in Gray Zones. Two writers, currently working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, explore the similarities between covert action and unconventional warfare that have led to a negative perception of UW and lengthy delays in its use. The authors offer three actions to overcome these perceptions and enable the use of UW as a timely foreign policy option. Read “Enabling Unconventional Warfare to Address Grey Zone Conflicts“, Small Wars Journal, September 28, 2016.
Museum for SEALs. A museum is being planned in suburban New York to honor U.S. Navy SEALs. It is expected to be built by 2018 at a county park on eastern Long Island. Read more in a news report by Stars & Stripes, September 30, 2016.