Special Operations News Update 20171122

UAE Commando participating in US SOF and UAE exercise Eastern Eagel 2017 in UAE. (Photo by PFC James Harvey, 3rd MISB, Sep 26, 2017).

SOF News Update 20171122 – Strain on SOF forces, U.S. troop increase in Somalia, SEALs remember Christian Lambertsen, earning the beret, SPMAGTF-SC finishes deployment, Lockheed Martin’s C-130J-SOF, RISF assumes control from SDF, more remains of 3rd SFGA soldier found, fighting al-Shabaab for ten years, Afghan SOF, Erik Prince, SOF and CF missions in Africa lack logistic support, buildup in Jordan, Camp Morehead, and more.

Strain on SOF Forces. Todd South reports on the over use of special operations forces around the world. Congressional leaders that took part in the New America Special Operations Policy Forum on November 15th expressed concern the U.S. SOF may over-extended. Some of the conference speakers expressed the belief that a “whole of government” approach by using government, military, industry, and academia to tackle global problems would effectively complement the SOF effort and relieve the strain on SOF. Read more in “Strain on SOF troops prompts call for review of how they’re used”Military Times, November 18, 2017.

Troop Increase in Somalia. The number of U.S. troops in Somalia is reported to exceed 500. U.S. airstrikes are conducted more often than in the past. Read more in “The DoD is Quietly Turning Up the Heat on Al-Shabab in Somalia”Task and Purpose, November 18, 2017.

Additional Remains of 3rd SFGA Soldier Found. The Department of Defense has said that more remains of SGT La David Johnson’s body were recovered in Niger. This new development casts even more pressure on the U.S. military to get the narrative straight on the ill-fated mission in Africa that cost the lives of four members of the 3rd Special Forces Group.

Erik Prince to Testify. The founder of Blackwater and former Navy SEAL is due to testify to a House panel in the inquiry about Russia and ties to the election. (Politico, Nov 21, 2017).

Thinking of Holiday’s in Afghanistan? Are you searching for the perfect place to stay during your holiday trip to South Asia? NSOCC-A offers a wonderful vacation retreat with private rooms. Read “Vacation Rental: Private Room in Cozy Camp, Experience Authentic Afghanistan”Task and Purpose, November 21, 2017.

Logistic Support for Africa Missions Lacking. Africa is a huge continent and there are small conflicts raging across it as well as terrorist groups finding sanctuary in many of the ungoverned remote areas. U.S. SOF and conventional forces are working in many African countries on training engagements, exercises, and in pursuit of terrorist groups. However, the logistical support to some of these small teams is not as robust as needed. Read more in “US troops lack support despite expanding mission in Africa”Military Times, November 20, 2017.

Afghan SOF Target Taliban in Herat Province. The 4th and 9th Special Operations Kandaks (SOKs) along with Police Special Units partnered with the 207th Corps to conduct a number of offensive operations against insurgents. (DVIDS, Nov 22, 2017).

SEALs Remember Christian Lambertsen. The opening chapter of the history of the U.S. Navy SEALs centers around the famed Under Water Demolition Teams (UDTs), the OSS’s Maritime Unit, and a man named Christian Lambertsen who demonstrated the military applications of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) equipment. Read more in “Navy SEALs remember Christian Lambertsen, humble beginnings of swimmer-commandos”The Washington Times, November 20, 2017.

Exercise Double Eagle – Serbian SOF. US Army Airborne and Serbian Special Forces trained alongside each other during a recent exercise in Europe. (one-minute long video by AFN, Nov 20, 2017).

Buildup in Jordan. The Pentagon is looking to pump a lot of money into support bases in Jordan – with an eye to long-term strategic requirements in the region. See “Pentagon budget calls fro $143 million buildup at Jordan air base”Stars and Stripes, November 21, 2017.

Former Interpreter for US SF in Vietnam is Philanthropist. When the Vietnam War ended many refugees fled to America. One of them worked very hard (and smart) and hit it big. He is now a leading philanthropist. (VoA, Nov 21, 2017).

Fighting al-Shabaab for Ten Years. The multinational peacekeeping force known as AMISOM has been losing the momentum in its battle against al Shabaab in Somalia. While AMISOM has had tactical success on the ground the root cause that has given al-Shabaab popular support is a weak Somali central government that is still unable to provide services or security to its people. So says Bennett Seftel in “AMISOM: A Decade into the Fight Against Al Shabaab”The Cipher Brief, November 19, 2017.

Earning the Beret. The drama over what color beret the newly created Security Force Assistance Brigades will wear has prompted many to ponder the history of the many different types of headgear in the Army. Read “Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who’s allowed to wear them”, by Meghann Myers, Military Times, November 19, 2017.

RISF Assume Responsibility from SDF. The Raqqa Internal Security Force (RISF) is slowly assuming responsibility for Raqqa, Syria neighborhoods from the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF). The coalition’s Special Operations Joint Task Force (SOJTF-OIR) commander, MG James Jarrad, said that “With the RISF gradually assuming the security mission in Raqqa under the Raqqa Civil Council’s leadership, we continue to have Raqqawis securing and governing Raqqawis.” (DoD, Nov 21, 2017).

SPMAGTF-SC Finishes Deployment. The Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command has finished up its six-month deployment to South America. They visited several Central American and Caribbean nations during their tour. (DVIDS, Nov 15, 2017).

Lockheed Martin’s C-130J-SOF. The big aircraft manufacturer is positioning its C-130J-SOF export variant as the go-to aircraft for special operations forces helicopter and fixed-wing refueling needs. See “Dubai Airshow 2017: Not SOFt on C-130J“, Shepard Media, November 21, 2017.

Photo Credit: UAE Commando participating in US SOF and UAE exercise Eastern Eagle 2017 in UAE. (Photo by PFC James Harvey, 3rd MISB, Sep 26, 2017).

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