Special Operations News Update 20180319

USAF pararescuemen conduct a HAHO MFF in Afghanistan. (photo by Tech Sgt Gregory Brook, March 4, 2018).
USAF pararescuemen conduct a HAHO MFF in Afghanistan. (photo by Tech Sgt Gregory Brook, March 4, 2018).

SOF News Update 20180319 – Kurds fighting Turkish forces (not ISIS), HH-60 crash in Iraq, building coalitions, 4th Recon Bn Cdr dies, USMC seeks RIAB for PSYOP, NATO’s annual report, ‘7 Days in Entebbe’, Singapore’s combat divers, SF field kitchen in Alaska, Lockheed Martin training for AFSOC, USASOC updating its chopper fleet, ‘Prospect Theory’ and COIN, Petraeus on Iraq War, 19th SFG valor awards, USS Colorado, and more.

Kurds Fighting Turkish Incursion. Syrian Kurds, who were busy applying the finishing touches to an offensive against ISIS in Syria, are being pulled away from that fight. Once the Turkish military entered Kurd-controlled areas of northwest Syria the Kurds focus shifted. This two-month old offensive by Turkey has pulled at least 1,000 Kurdish fighters from the ISIS battle. Read more in “The US could finish off ISIS if Turkey would stop fighting the Kurds, Pentagon say”Washington Examiner, March 15, 2018.

HH-60 Crash in Iraq. Central Command has announced on March 16th that all personnel aboard a U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter that crash on Thursday, March 15th have been killed. An accompanying U.S. helicopter immediately reported the crash and a QRF security the scene. Read more about the crash of the HH-60 helicopter in western Iraq.

4th Recon Bn Cdr Dies. A reserve reconnaissance commander was found dead in his California home earlier this month. The commanding officer of the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion based in San Antonio died on March 11th. LE officials have ruled the death a suicide. (Marine Corps Times, Mar 15, 2018).

USASOC Updating Chopper Fleet. The US Army is going to replace some of its SOF MH-47s with newer models. (Janes.com, Mar 14, 2018).

NATO’s Annual Report. The Secretary General’s Annual Report 2017 is now available online. Posted on March 15th it is about 120 pages. Not a lot of information about special operations but a good read in general about what NATO is doing in Europe and around the world.
www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_152797.htm

“Prospect Theory” and COIN. Sidharth Kaushal, a doctoral candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, writes about the application of “Prospect Theory” to counterinsurgency operations. Perhaps We Can Eat Soup With a Knife: Prospect Theory and the Use of Conventional Military Strategies in Counterinsurgency Operations, Small Wars Journal, March 2018.

Retired SEAL Writes on ‘Employee Engagement’. Brent Gleeson, a motivational leadership speaker (and more), writes What We Can Learn About Employee Engagement from the Navy SEALsForbes.com, March 16, 2018.

USS Colorado – SOF Capable. The Navy’s newest submarine has special features to support special operations forces – including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of personnel and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Read USS Colorado CommissionedMaritime Executive, March 17, 2018.

Singapore’s Combat Divers. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) combat diver training lasts five months. It ends in a ‘hell week’ and then the trainees can become elite frogmen in the Naval Diving Unit. Read “SAF’s combat diver course pushes even the fittest and strongest to breaking point”The Strait Times, March 15, 2018.

19th SFG Valor Awards. Soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group were honored for their valor during a 2017 deployment to Afghanistan. (The Seattle Times, Mar 17, 2018).

Lockheed Martin Training for AFSOC. The USAF awarded a contract to provide training support services for AFSOC. The contract includes support to the AF SOF schoolhouse and will last for several years. The Air Commando Training and Support (ACTS) contract has a overall value of over $200 million. (Florida Trend, Mar 16, 2018).

Review of ‘7 Days in Entebbe’. Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times reviews (Mar 15, 2018) a movie about the plane hijacking that occurred in June 1976 when two German and two Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris and directed it to Entebbe, Uganda. As we all know – Israeli commandos launched a successful rescue of the passengers.

Video – SF Field Kitchen in Alaska. Watch a 12-minute long video of a Special Forces field kitchen set up during the Arctic Edge field exercise in Alaska. The cooks are from the 19th Special Forces unit of the Colorado Army National Guard. These cooks are part of the shaft that supports the pointy end of the spear. Watch Colorado SF Kitchen in Arctic Training, DVIDS, March 1, 2018.

Petraeus on Iraq War (2003-2011). Jeff Schogol interviews retired a general most closely associates with the long war in Iraq. We Asked Gen. Petreaus Whether the Iraq War Was Really Worth It. Here’s What He SaidTask & Purpose, March 16, 2018.

Building Coalitions. Mike Nelson, a Special Forces officer, writes a commentary on how the U.S. should take steps to build regional militaries to confront aggressive regional actors that challenge U.S. interests. Read “Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario: Building Coalitions Left of Boom”War on the Rocks, March 16, 2018.

USMC Seeks RIAB for PSYOP. The Marines want a ‘radio in a box’ capability to enhance their ability to conduct information warfare. The hope is that a commercial off-the-shelf FM broadcast radio kit with FM band radio acquisition and equipment that can conduct live broadcast. Hmmm. Sounds very familiar to the radio in a box capability that was once deployed to Afghanistan. Read “Marines look to beef psychological ops with a radio station in a box”Marine Corps Times, March 15, 2018.

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