Special Operations News Update 20171211

SOF operators assigned to Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) conduct parachute training in Europe. (SOCEUR photo 16 October 2017).
SOF operators assigned to Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) conduct parachute training in Europe. (SOCEUR photo 16 October 2017).

SOF News Update 20171211 – Taliban Special Force Unit, mission in Niger, SF THOR3 program, Irish Army Ranger Wing, MARSOC’s ‘robot dogs’, Syria troop levels, SF general now book author, Silver Star for combat controller, Army Sniper School, STS in Exercise TEAK NAIL, Afghan Commando MSK, maritime hybrid warfare, SOCOM and cyber connectivity, Afghan Border Force, new Canadian SOF compound, Australia’s SF exhibit, Boko Haram, new 24th MEU cdr, another SFAB, and more.

U.S. SOF

New CSM for 1st SF Command. The current Command Sergeant Major of the 10th Special Forces Group, CSM Tomas Sandoval, is getting promoted to be the CSM for the 1st Special Forces Command. Seems there is a vacancy for the head SF CSM position at FBNC. Hmmmm. (DVIDS, Dec 8, 2017).

Two Green Berets running for VA Senate Seat? At least one SF vet has filed papers and another is thinking about it. (The Roanoke Times, 6 Dec 2017).

SF Captain Reviews Book about Boko Haram. A new book recently published about the Nigerian insurgent group has been reviewed by a Special Forces Captain who served in Nigeria in 2017. Really nice article about Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa (ISIS-WA). Read “From Security to Reconciliation: How Nigeria Can Win Its Bloody With Boko Haram”, by Sam Wilkins, War on the Rocks, December 8, 2017.

SOCOM Seeks Greater Cyber Connectivity. The SOF command in Tampa is seeking to gain greater mobility in data access for its SOF teams. New threats are posing significant challenges in communications and cyber security. SOCOM intends to provide SOF operators in the field untethered access to communications and data. Read “SOCOM Seeks to Unleash Connectivity”SIGNAL, December 1, 2017.

MARSOC’s Robot Dogs. Marine special operations personnel can now practice medical treatment for wounds to their canines with a new ‘robot dog’ that provides for realistic training scenarios. Read “Robot Dog Improves SOF Medical Practices”Marines.mil, December 6, 2017.

Silver Star for Combat Controller. An Airman with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron will be presented with the military’s third-highest valor award in January for actions during the Mosul offensive. (Military.com, Dec 6, 2017).

SF and Cost of War. When specialized units do the dirty work and sustain casualties the normal political constraints on military power are lost. Read “How Special Forces Bury the True Cost of America’s Wars”Vice, December 11, 2017.

STS in Nepal for Exercise TEAK NAIL. 60 Nepalese Mahabir Rangers and 16 U.S. Special Tactics operators trained up on Search and Rescue missions for one month in rugged mountainous terrain. (DVIDS, Nov 15, 2017).

Niger and Zone Defense. A retired Special Forces officer with experience in Africa provides us with the reasons we need to have special operations forces engaged in countries like Niger. Read “Playing Zone Defense: Niger and the Risk Versus Reward of Remote Operations”War on the Rocks, December 5, 2017.

Special Forces THOR3 Program. U.S. Army Special Forces has a “. . . performance training program designed to increase physical performance and emotional well-being, prevent injuries, and improve mental skills necessary to perform optimally in training and combat operations.” Read “Special Forces hone strength and agility skills with help from THOR3 program”DVIDS, December 5, 2017. See also “Program Boosts Special Forces Members’ Physical, Mental Capabilities”DoD, Dec 6, 2017.

U.S. SOF Beating IS-KP. SOF teams working with elite Afghan units have been taking the fight to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province in southern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan for the past couple of years. It appears, based on news reports, that significant progress is being made. Read “In One Corner of Afghanistan, America is Beating Islamic State” The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2017.

Retired SF General Authors Book on Civil War. BG (Ret) John Scales, a career Special Forces officer, has wrote his third book. Scales is a military historian and his most recent book is on Civil War era General Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Cannon Courier, Dec 6, 2017).

SOF spends time in WV. U.S. special operations forces conduct a variety of exercises around the U.S. and the world. Some high profile while others happen in small communities far from the public’s eye. Read “Military elite invasion brings cool new vibe to Bluefield”Bluefield Daily Telegraphy, December 10, 2017.

GB Running for Senate. A former Special Forces NCO is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine. Nick Freitis, age 38, served on active duty for 11 years. He currently is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. (The Washington Post, Dec 10, 2017).

Navy SEAL talks about the early Days. A retired Navy SEAL and now book author tells the story of the U.S. Navy SEALs beginning with the UDTs of WW II. (Village News, Dec 9, 2017).

USSOCOM Acquisition Executive to U.S. Navy. James Geurts, a former official at the United States Special Operations Command has officially assumed the role of assistant U.S. Navy secretary for research, development, and acquisition. (ExecutiveGov, Dec 6, 2017).

Det A and It’s Mission. The Berlin detachment had a difficult mission should the U.S. go to war with the Soviet Bloc. (National Interest, Dec 8, 2017).

New 24th MEU Cdr. The new commander for the 24th MEU is the former Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Deputy Director for Operations. (The Globe, Dec 7, 2017).

More on Niger Mission. Nick Turse, a news reporter who is successful at mixing fact with fiction, provides ‘more details’ on the Niger mission where four members of the 3rd SFGA died. (The Intercept, Dec 10, 2017).

International SOF

Australia’s SF Exhibit. The Australian War Memorial is showing a special exhibit honoring the nations special forces. Read “From the Shadows: Australia’s Special Forces Exhibition Tour”Australian War Memorial, Dec 2017.

New Canadian SOF Compound. A new facility for Canadian special operations forces will open in 2012 at Petawawa. It is estimated to cost about $319 million. The facilities will include working space, maintenance areas for vehicles, warehouses, training facilities, and medical clinic. (Ottawa Citizen, Dec 7, 2017).

Irish Army Ranger Wing in Exercise. Ireland staged a large military exercise which featured, in part, the Irish Army Ranger Wing. (The Irish Sun, Dec 6, 2017).

Syria Troop Level Took a Significant Jump. The Pentagon released new numbers for the amount of military personnel in Syria – and it was a lot higher (2,000) than folks thought. (The Hill, Dec 6, 2017).

Miscellaneous

Army Sniper School. The first several days of the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia are a bit of a challenge. (Army.mil, Dec 6, 2017).

Maritime Hybrid Warfare. As technology improves adversaries, especially those that cannot directly confront the U.S. seapower advantage, will look for alternative ways to hurt us. Hybrid warfare on the high seas is in the future and now is the time to develop countermeasures. (The Strategy Bridge, Dec 7, 2017).

Another SFAB. The Army announced that it will activate a second Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) in January 2018. It will be based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (Army.mil, 8 Dec 2017).

Finland and Russia. General Jarmo Lindberg, head of Finland’s Defense Forces, was recently interviewed about how Finland is increasing its defense expenditures and moving to be in a position to counter Russian aggression. (Defense News, Dec 6, 2017).

Afghanistan

Erik Prince and Afghanistan’s Minerals. Read about how the former Navy SEAL and founder of Blackwater wants to fix Afghanistan (and tap into its minerals). (BuzzFeed, Dec 7, 2017).

Afghan Border Force (ABF). The Afghan Border Police (ABP) is getting downsized in personnel and mission focus. A large part of the ABP is being transferred from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The MoD is standing up the Afghan Border Force (ABF). The ABP will continue to man border entry points at the airports and at the recognized international border crossings. The ABF will patrol the border away from the border crossing points and will serve to interdict insurgents, drug traffickers, smugglers, and other nefarious groups and individuals. The move is expected to allow the ABP and the MoI on rule of law and law enforcement activities. Learn more about the Afghan Border Force or ABF.

Seven More Afghan Commando MSK to be Formed. Over the next few years the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) intends to form up seven Commando Mobile Strike Kandaks (MSK). The first one is now formed up after a traditional Afghan kandak attended the Commando course at Camp Morehead. Over 1,000 students graduated from the latest Commando Course – hopefully the instructors are observing SOF Truth #2. Next stop for the MSK is to attend the Cobra Strike Military Mobility Course in January. Read more in “Game-changing Commando class graduates”DVIDS, December 6, 2017

Increasing Afghan SOF. The U.S. has a plan to create more of Afghanistan’s best troops. (Los Angeles Times, Dec 10, 2017).

Taliban Special Forces Unit. Analysts say a “Red Unit” is more experienced, better trained, and better equipped than most Taliban fighters. “Taliban ‘Special Forces Unit’ Bursts Into Spotlight With Deadly Attacks”Gandhara / RFE, December 5, 2017.

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