Special Operations News Update 20180306

1st Special Operation Squadron (SOS) Airman Airman on a MC-130H Combat Talon II prepares for a jump with US Navy SEAL and Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare Operators (photo USSOCOM)
1st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) Airman on a MC-130H Combat Talon II prepares his aircraft for a parachute jump by US Navy SEAL and Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare Operators (photo USSOCOM)

SOF News Update 20180306 – Niger helmet cam video, Russian undersea cable warfare, Afghan update, MARSOC 2030, Soldier’s Medal for 3rd SFG troop, DoD IG report on disposition of bomb sniffing dogs, review of The Terminal List, SOCOM’s Dash-8s, Emerald Warrior, AFRICOM congressional testimony, profile of head enlisted of 193rd SOW, Green Beret medic training, and more.

Niger Mission – Helmet Cam Video. Islamic State militants have released a video that shows scenes from an October 2017 ambush of four 3rd SFGA Soldiers. The video actually surfaced a few months back but the main stream media never took it on as a story; now they seem to be running with it. The ISIS video incorporates a view from a U.S. Soldiers helmet – depicting the ambush in graphic detail.  Some news media are showing / posting the video as ISIS released it; while others have dropped the sound or eliminated the propaganda aspects. The video is very graphic and causing some controversy in the SOF community. Many in the SOF community find it disrespectful to air the video and an affront to the Soldier’s families. Africa Command released a statement on the video (in quotes below).

“The release of these materials demonstrates the depravity of the enemy we are fighting. We encourage the news media to deny ISIS a propaganda success by not purchasing, showing or bringing undue attention to these images as it re-victimizes the affected families, amplifies IS atrocities and aids in their recruiting.”

SOFREP, a media site providing news and stories about special operations, is taking some heat from the SOF community over posting the video on its website. SOFREP is a media entity separate and distinct from SOF News. See a story by Jeff Schogol of Task & Purpose about the disturbing helmet cam video.

Afghan Update. Chayanika Saxena provides some comments on the current situation in Afghanistan – see “Afghanistan’s Catch-22”Indian Defence Review, March 2, 2018.

“For Afghanistan, there is nothing different about the year that has just begun except that there is more violence, increasing political fragmentation, a slowing economy, and rising discontent amongst the domestic population.”

Soldier’s Medal for 3rd SFGA Soldier. A Fort Bragg soldier will receive the Army’s highest award for heroism outside of combat. SSG Adams saved the lives of two people involved in a deadly crash in October 2016. (The Fayetteville Observer, March 4, 2018).

AFRICOM Congressional Testimony – March 6th, 10:00 ET. General Thomas D. Waldhauser, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, will be providing testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services. The title of the event is National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activities in Africa.

MARSOC’s New Operating Concept. The Marine Corps Special Operations Command will soon release a new operating concept known as MARSOC 2030. This new approach will inform the force how the “Raiders” will fight twelve years into the future. Read more in an article by Yasmin Tadjdeh entitled “Special Ops Command to Release New Operating Concept”National Defense Magazine, March 5, 2018.

Green Beret Medic Training. 18Ds of the U.S. Army Special Forces get some specialty medical training that they wouldn’t normally see from one of the busiest trauma centers in the country. (American Security Today, Mar 5, 2018).

Emerald Warrior Exercise. One of SOCOM’s premier SOF exercises is taking place now in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and other locations. It is a 2-week joint operation with Army and Marine SOF and conventional units. (Jackson  Counter Floridian, Mar 5, 2018).

Profile of Head EM of 193rd SOW. The Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 193rd Special Operations Wing is interviewed about his 30 year-long career in the Pennsylvania Air Guard. (DVIDS, Mar 5, 2018).

SOCOM’s Dash-8s. U.S. Special Operations Command appears to be using newer, modified aircraft manufactured by de Havilland Canada for some overhead intelligence surveillance missions. According to the DoD’s latest budget request for 2019 USSOCOM operates two of the twin-engine aircraft as part of the SOCOM Tactical Airborne Multi-Sensor Platforms or STAMP. (The Warzone, Mar 5, 2018).

DoD IG Report on Disposition of Bomb-Sniffing Dogs. The Defense Department’s Inspector General has determined that over 200 bomb-sniffing dogs were miss-handled after serving in Afghanistan. Dog handlers were supposed to be able to adopt their dogs a special program failed to facilitate that. Some dogs ended up abandoned in kennels. Dog handlers were supposed to be given top priority in adopting their dogs but apparently there was some failures in the program. Read the 69-page report The Army’s Tactical Explosive Detection Dog Disposition Process from 2011 to 2014, DoD IG report No. DODIG-2018-081, March 1, 2018.

SF Wife Can Stay in U.S. For twelve years former (Ret) Bob Crawford, starting when he was on active duty, went through the legal process to keep his wife in the United States. See “Immigration court clears Army wife to stay in US”Army Times, March 5, 2018.

Book Review – The Terminal List. A retired Navy SEAL, Jack Carr (not his real name), has written a fiction book about a Navy SEAL who seeks revenge after his men are killed in an ambush in Afghanistan. Read an interview f the other in “Carr uses SEAL experience to pen first thriller”Military Press, March 5, 2018.

Russian Undersea Cable Warfare. Stories of secret missions by the U.S. Navy (and the Soviets) of tapping into undersea telephone lines in years gone by are an interesting read. But does this sort of thing still go on today? Apparently, this answer is “Yes”. Read “Evaluating the Russian Threat to Undersea Cables”, by Garrett Hinck, Lawfare Blog, March 5, 2018.

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