Special Operations News Update 20180308

Special Forces soldiers conducts HALO Jump during ExerciseEmerald Warrior 2018 from back of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (photo USAF Tech Sgt Ryan Labadens, March 2, 2018)
Special Forces soldier conducts HALO Jump during ExerciseEmerald Warrior 2018 from back of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (photo USAF Tech Sgt Ryan Labadens, March 2, 2018)

SOF News Update 20180308 – Emerald Warrior exercise, Niger investigation, PSYOP in urban warfare, 4K calories a day for SOF, German captured with Taliban’s SF unit, “Altered Carbon” movie review, AFRICOM cdr’s testimony, SOF in Afghanistan – facts and figures are elusive, CIA / SF team in northern Iraq before invasion, jihadists in Burkina Faso, U.S. air base in Niger, review of book about the battle of Algiers, urban future of COIN, female Marines in combat arms, 2nd SFAB, SOF and ‘protracted campaigns’, SOF general officer assignments, “The Future ODA 2035-2050”, and more.

Emerald Warrior. USSOCOM conducted an unconventional warfare exercise based at Hurlburt Field but conducted in other states as well. This is a joint SOF exercise that provides training in various methods of infiltration, exfiltration, air operations, and various ground scenarios as well. Air support to the exercise is key – “Flying Jennies support special forces Emerald Warrior training”Air Force Reserve Command, March 6, 2018.

Niger Investigation. The long-awaited DoD report that will be issued at the end of an intensive investigation into the death of four Soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces is being reviewed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford. Family members of the deceased Soldiers will be briefed first before the results are made public. (VOA, Mar 6, 2018).

SOF General Officer Assignments. BG John Evans, currently commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (SOAC) at Fort Bragg will be heading to be a commanding general at Fort Knox, Kentucky. BG Anthony Hale, currently director of intelligence at JSOC is going to be chief of staff for intelligence for NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

“The Future ODA 3035-2050”. Small Wars Journal has published an informative article that examines a single future ARSOF Unit of Action in the future. The article, published March 7, 2018, provides information important for the discussion of how ARSOF does its mission in the decades to come. The author, Howard R. Simkin, is a Senior Concept Developer in the DCS, G-9 Concepts, Experimentation and Analysis Directorate, U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

2nd SFAB Up and Running. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) is now in Afghanistan conducting its TA3E mission. The 2nd SFAB is now established – and as of early March – conducting advisor training at the Combat Advisor Training Course at the Military Advisor Training Academy (MATA) Fort Benning, Georgia. Read “2nd SFAB Training as Combat Advisors at Fort Benning”TRADOC News Center, March 1, 2018.

Nigerien Air Base 201. Niger has been in the news over the past few months. Most of the news concerns the death of four U.S. Army Soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group. Other new stories are on topics like drones, number of troops in Niger, and construction of military bases. One air base in the news is located in Agadez, Niger. (DVIDS, Mar 5, 2018).

Review of Book on Battle of Algiers. Zohra Drif-Bitat has written a book about her role in the National Liberation Front (NLF) – the insurgent group that worked to wrest Algeria from France. The book is entitled Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter (2017). The reviewer is Lincoln Krause – a recently retired career intelligence officer (Army, DIA, and CIA) and now an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Read his review “Rock the Casbah: Tales of a Female Bomber”War on the Rocks, March 7, 2018.

PSYOP in Urban Warfare. Todd South, a journalist with Military Times has written an article about the use of psychological operations when conducting urban warfare. He says PSYOP played an important role in the run up to the second battle of Falluja (Iraq) in 2004. (Military Times, Mar 6, 2018).

SOF and ‘Protracted Campaigns”. The author of this article, the Commandant of the Australian Special Operations Training and Education Centre, argues that “. . . SOF have their most profound effect against an adversary when employed in a protracted campaign”. For instance, the industrial-sized campaign waged by JSOC in Iraq against AQI. Read “Special Operations for Strategic Effect: Protracted Campaigns, rationale, and implications”The Cove, March 8, 2018.

CIA / SF Team in Northern Iraq Before 2003 Invasion. Read the story of a Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Forces team that was in northern Iraq months before the 2003 invasion. (Task and Purpose, March 6, 2018).

Urban Future of COIN. The world’s population is increasingly living in cities. Many of these cities are classified as megacities. Read more in “Preparing for the Urban Future of Counterinsurgency”The Cipher Brief, March 7, 2018.

Female Marines in Combat Arms? Not So Much. Two years after the Defense Department opened up the combat arms career field to women there have only been a few that have gone that way. Less than one hundred are in combat billets and only 11 enlisted are in the traditional “03” infantry career fields. Things that make you go “hmmm”. (Marine Times, Mar 5, 2018).

AFRICOM’s Cdr Testimony. General Thomas Waldhauser testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, March 6th. His says his command is going to continue the ‘by, with, and through’ strategy working with partner nations on the African continent. He spoke on the presence of various terrorist organizations as well as the humanitarian issues of Africa. Read “Africom continues Efforts for Stable, Secure Continent”DoD News, March 6, 2018.

Jihadists in Burkina Faso. Political and economic conditions in the West Africa country make for fertile ground for recruitment into terrorist groups. Jihadists are stepping up their activities. (Yahoo!, Mar 6, 2018).

SOF in Afghanistan – a Numbers Game? Resolute Support (RS) and United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) takes great pains to point out that Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF), while comprising a small fraction of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), conduct over 70% of the offensive operations. Additionally, the same two organizations continue to stress that the Afghans are in the lead and conduct these operations almost always unilaterally. But while the fact Afghan SOF is doing most of the hard fighting – the times that U.S. SOF is along for the mission seems a lot higher than we are led to believe. Read “Numbers on US counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan don’t add up”Stars and Stripes, March 6, 2018.

AFRICOM’s 2018 Posture Statement. U.S. Africa Command provided the U.S. Congress with a 24-page statement on the situation in Africa. Read “2018 Posture Statement to Congress”, U.S. Africa Command, March 6, 2018.

German Captured with Taliban’s Red Unit. The Taliban Red Unit – sometimes called the Taliban’s special forces – had a German national advising its leader. The German was recently captured by Afghan SOF on February 27th. Read “German captured while fighting with Taliban’s Red Unit”, The Long War Journal, March 6, 2018.

COIN, SF, and “Altered Carbon”. Matthew Gault reviews a Netflix movie about counterinsurgency in the future. He sees a lot of special forces doctrine incorporated into a galactic empires quest to keep the enterprise intact. Read “Altered Carbon is a Counterinsurgency Nightmare”War is Boring, March 6, 2018.

SOF and Special Diets. The USSOCOM Deployment Cell is working with the 720th Special Tactics Group to refine how ST Airmen should be fueled in a deployed environment. “Fueling the SOF human weapon system”DVIDS, March 6, 2018.

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