Special Operations News Update 20170803

1st SFGA Soldier ascends a ladder to board helicopter while conducting water operations training. (Photo by SGT Codie Mendenhall, July 25, 2017).
1st SFGA Soldier ascends a ladder to board helicopter while conducting water operations training. (Photo by SGT Codie Mendenhall, July 25, 2017).

SOF News Update 20170803 – US SOF trains with Ukrainian counterparts, MC-130Js conduct FARP, JSOC is overused, CBS’ SEAL Team, CT strategy lacking, new WH CoS, Erik Prince and his Air Force, new GI Bill, USOCOM’s Technical Experimentation activities, losing Afghanistan, and more.

US SOF works with Ukraine SOF. US special operations forces recently concluded Exercise Sea Breeze 2017 where they worked with Ukrianian special operations forces. See “US Special Forces train with Ukrainian counterparts”UK Defence Journal, August 1, 2017.

67th SOS MC-130Js Conduct FARP. Two aircraft from the 67th Special Operations Squadron recently conducted a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise in July on RAF Mildenhall, England. (DVIDS, July 26, 2017).

New White House CoS. So I am sure everyone is following the ongoing drama in the White House. Every week (or day) there is news about the dysfunction of the Trump administration. Fortunately there is a new White House Chief of Staff who has moved in. General (Ret) John Kelly will hopefully put the house in order. Read more about him in “The Boston Neighborhood That Made John Kelly”Daily Beast, August 2, 2017.

New GI Bill. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have passed legislation that changes education benefits for military veterans. It is now up to President Trump to sign it into law. Read “New GI Bill passes Senate”Army Times, August 2, 2017.

Losing Afghanistan. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) thinks that the Trump administration is letting the Afghan situation steadily deteriorate and is losing the war by negligence and default. Read more in “How the Trump Administration is Losing Afghanistan”CSIS, August 2, 2017.

UK SAS and New Helmet. A ‘Star Wars’ helmet is being tested by the British Special Air Service for suitability in the war against terror. Read more about the ‘Boba Fett helmet’ in “Special forces test out Boba Fett combat helmet”New York Post, August 2, 2017.

Erik Prince and His Air Force Ready for Hire. It seems that Prince thinks he can provide close air support and intelligence collection to the Afghan security institutions to fill the capability gap that currently exists. Read more in a news report by Business Insider, August 2, 2017.

CBS’s SEAL Team. A new TV show will hit the airwaves (or cable) come this fall. The series will follow the professional and personal lives of the most elite unit of Navy SEALs as they train for and execute dangerous missions around the world. Read SEAL Team Producers Say CBS Military Drama Transcends Partisan Politics”The Hollywood Reporter, August 1, 2017.

USSOCOM Technical Experimentation Activities. The United States Special Operations Command at Tampa, Florida conducts semi-annual TE events to engage with technology providers in industry and academia. Read more in “SOCOM identifies experimentation opportunities” Shepard Media, August 2, 2017.

Trump and His “Generals”. Everyone seems to think that President Trump is in love with his generals. There is one as SECDEF, another as the NSC advisor, yet another as his newly appointed White House Chief of Staff. But . . . the love affair may not be a lasting event. Read more in “Trump Says U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals”NBC News, August 2, 2017.

Trump Admin Overusing JSOC; Lacking CT Strategy. America has executed more counterterrorism raids under the Trump administration but it lacks a counterterrorism strategy. At least, that’s the view of Micah Zenko – a senior fellow with the Center for Preventive Action at the Council of Foreign Relations. Read his thoughts in “Donald Trump Is Pushing America’s Special Forces Past the Breaking Point”Foreign Policy, August 1, 2017.