Special Operations News Update 20171009

CV-22 Osprey aircraft in flight over Sweden during Aurora 2017 exercise. (Photo by SGT Aaron Duncan, SOCEUR, Sep 14, 2017)
CV-22 Osprey aircraft in flight over Sweden during Aurora 2017 exercise. (Photo by SGT Aaron Duncan, SOCEUR, Sep 14, 2017)

SOF News Update 20171009 – AFSOC’s MQ-9, expansion of Afghan SOF, Gulf War games halted, CBS’s SEAL Team drama, Iraq after glow, hacking phones in Eastern Europe, FM 3-0 update, senior mil ldrs as advisors, Kurdish independence vote, Hawija liberated, SF of Indian Army, and more.

Expansion of Afghan SOF. The Afghan conflict is not going well. The Taliban control or contest about 40% of the territory of Afghanistan. The Afghan National Army has difficulty in holding onto territory that the Afghan Commandos recapture from the Taliban. Resolute Support HQs (the NATO command in Afghanistan) and the Afghan government have decided that the route to defeating the Taliban is to double the size of the Afghan special operations forces. Read more in Expansion of Afghan Special Operations ForcesAfghan War Blog, October 8, 2017.

Paper on AFSOC’s MQ-9 RPAs. A recent report examines the changes that will (could) enhance current and future RPA support to special operations ground teams. Jordan Kowlaski, a Captain in the United States Air Force, has penned a 49-page paper entitled The Future of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Special Operations: Methods to Improve AFSOC MQ-9 Effectiveness for Supporting Special Operations, Air Command and Staff College, Wright Flyer Paper No. 60, September, 2017.
www.au.af.mil/au/aupress/bookinfo.asp?bid=619&type=papers

Gulf Exercises Halted. The U.S. has postponed or cancelled a couple of exercises that normally take place in the Gulf region of the Middle East. A few of these have SOF play – for instance Exercise Eagle Resolve. The war games have been affected by the ongoing crisis in Qatar. (The Hill, Oct 6, 2017).

Senior Military Leaders as Advisors. Security Force Assistance (SFA) is a complex animal – part of which is the Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) mission. Advisors can serve at many levels from tactical, operational, institutional, and strategic (with ministries of host nations). Many of the senior military leaders assigned as advisors to the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) have been ill-prepared for their assignment. Read more on this topic in “Training for Senior Leaders Going Into an Advisory Role – Is there a Training and Education Gap?”Peace and Stability Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 22-25, PKSOI, October 2017.

SF of Indian Army Get Training Base. Air Force Station Arjan Singh in Panagarh, India will soon be a training base for Indian special forces and paratroopers. See “Panagarh base to turn into Special Forces training hub”The Times of India, October 7, 2017.

FM 3-0 Updated. Army Field Manual 3-0, Operations has been updated with an increased emphasis on large-scale ground combat and a greater focus on cybersecurity during combat operations. See “Revised doctrine prepares Soldiers for changing global threats”Army.mil, October 6, 2017.

Iraq, COIN, and Inclusivity. Robert Tollast provides an update on the military and political situation in Iraq since the re-capture of Mosul by government forces. He says the central government seems to be on the right path (including Sunni’s in the business of government). He presents Iraq as a glass half-full (instead of half empty). Read more in “Inclusivity and Counterinsurgency”Iraq in Context, October 2, 2017.

Hawija Liberated. The Iraqi security forces have liberated the a city located south of Kirkuk from the Islamic State. The 14-day operation was hard-fought and over 1,000 ISIS fighters surrendered. (DoD, Oct 5, 2017).

Russia Hacking Phones of U.S. Soldiers. The Russians are at it again. Apparently they are hacking into the private cell phones of U.S. Soldiers who are deployed in the Baltic States or in Poland. Read “Russia hacking phones, mining info from US Troops on cruise tours”, Stars & Stripes, October 5, 2017.

CBS’s SEAL Team. It appears that of the three military dramas to hit the television screens this fall the best is CBS’s SEAL Team. Sometimes simple works. Read a recent review. (USA Today, Oct 5, 2017).

Kurdish Independence Vote. The regional powers in the Middle East with the most to lose with an independent Kurdistan have begun to work closely together on a number of issues. Read “Cascading Crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan”Institute for the Study of War, October 6, 2017.