SOF News Update 20180404 – Newsletter changes, 1st SFG wins sniper competition, Manjib reinforced, USSOCOM’s extra gear, more CV-22s heading to Japan base, Votel speaks at USIP, airstrike in Somalia, 7 Days in Entebbe (the movie), trusting drones, defense acquisition the SOF way, and more.
Newsletter Changes. Some changes to announce about the SOF News newsletter. We are going to send out the newsletter 2 or 3 times a week. In the past we did ‘excerpts’ – you got the title, first paragraph, and a link to take you online to read the rest of the post. Now, you will usually get the entire read (unless it is an extremely long article). You also are going see some photos. This WordPress and MailChimp stuff is kind of complicated for old ground-focused SOF guys so bear with us. There are some format techniques that we are grappling with. If it doesn’t come out good this time then we will try and make it better. Next time. Fingers crossed.
1st SFG Wins Sniper Competition. A two-man Green Beret team from the 1st Special Forces Group won the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (USASOC) International Sniper Competition. Read more in a story by Jared Keller in Task & Purpose, April 2, 2018.
USSOCOM’s Extra Gear. It appears, according to a recent DoD IG report, that the United States Special Operations Command bought a little bit too much (26 million $) of some types of combat and communications equipment. The fault lies in sloppy accounting procedures of equipment on hand and equipment authorized. Read more in “SOCOM accidentally Bought Way, Way Too Much Combat Gear”, Task & Purpose, April 2, 2018.
Airstrike in Somalia. The U.S. military (especially SOF) continues to be engaged in a number of hot spots around the world. One of these is Somalia where SOF and CF troops are conducting an ‘advise and assist’ mission to help stand up the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) so they can degrade and defeat Al-Shabaab militants. Sometimes that ‘assist’ thing are SOF raids and airstrikes. The latest airstrike took place on April 1st, killing five terrorists and destroying one vehicle. (US AFRICA Command, Apr 2, 2018).
7 Days in Entebbe (the movie). A new movie about the hijacking of a commercial airliner to Uganda by four terrorists is now out. The end result is the saving of the airline passengers (almost all) and killing of the terrorists in a very successful Israeli commando raid. This is (according to some who keep count) the 5th movie about the terrorist event that took place in the 1970s. It would appear based on online reviews that it isn’t the best effort. Some movie reviews give it a “C”. In regards to historical accuracy it appears to have strayed a bit with a political bias – not in Israel’s favor (of course). You can watch some trailers at the official site at https://entebbefilm.co.uk
More CV-22s to be Based in Japan. The Air Force is sending 10 more SOF CV-22 Ospreys to Yokata. Five are going within the week with five more to follow. The Ospreys are capable of taking off like helicopters and then tilting their rotors to fly like fixed-wing aircraft. (Military.com, Apr 3, 2018).
Gen Votel Speaks at USIP. The United States Institute for Peace held a conference on Tuesday where administration officials, military leaders, and regional experts on Iraq and Syria discussed views. General Votel was one of the participants. Read his comments in “Centcom Commander Discusses Stabilization Posture in Iraq, Syria”, Defense Media Activity, April 3, 2018.
Trusting Drones. A recent article in Foreign Affairs entitled “Why Troops Don’t Trust Drones” argued that U.S. troops see drones as riskier and less trustworthy than manned aircraft. A group of writers (some with drone experience) have their own viewpoint to share with us in “Trust, Troops, and Reapers: Getting Drone Research Right”, War on the Rocks, April 3, 2018.
Defense Acquisition the SOF Way. The Department of Defense’s acquisition process is slow and bureaucratic (and lacking some imagination). The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has a more stream-lined acquisition process. Want to know more? Read “Failures of Imagination: The Military’s Biggest Acquisition Challenge”, War on the Rocks, April 3, 2018.
Manbij Reinforced? News reports say that the U.S. has sent more troops to the location in Syria where a British and U.S. soldier were recently killed by an IED. MSG Dunbar, a USASOC soldier, died on March 30th as a result of injuries from the blast. Manbij was taken from the Islamic State after a long siege by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters. in 2016. (Military.com, Apr 2, 2018).
Photo Credit: Members of 1st SFGA conduct a log carry drill during a battalion-level endurance event at Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan. Photo by SSG Kwadwo Frimpong, November 30, 2017.