SOF News Update 20180502 – CJFLCC deactivated, map of African militant groups, Western Balkans, NATO and the High Seas, USMC’s M38 rifle, Lake Chad and ISWA, NATO air power strategy, Niger investigation, Navy SEAL mini-sub, Allied Spirit VIII, Jade Helm, NATO, Balkans, Yemen, Syria, 19th SFG, Perspectives on Terrorism, Building Partner Capacity, book review, Video – “TAA”, reducing ‘queep’ at 1st SOW, Army SOF communicator honored, and more.
Niger Investigation. A family of a 3rd Special Forces Group soldier who died during an ambush in Niger in late 2017 has been briefed on the report from the investigation of the incident. (WSAV3 TV, Apr 30, 2018).
New SEAL Minisub? The U.S. Navy SEALs use the Mk 8 Mod 1 SEAL Delivery Vehicle – which is known as a ‘wet submersible’. However the Naval Special Warfare community is on the lookout for a ‘dry submersible’. Read more in a story by We Are The Mighty, April 30, 2018.
Allied Spirit VIII. An exercise that involved over 4,000 participants from 10 nations recently took place early in 2018 at the Hohenfels training area in Germany. Members of the 19th Special Forces Group worked with Albanian SOF and Lithuanian National Defence Force Volunteers (KASP) during the event. (SOCEUR DVIDS, May 1, 2018).
Review of Book By Green Beret. Greg Stube’s book Conquer Anything: A Green Beret’s Guide to Building Your A-Team is reviewed by Blake Stilwell. (We Are The Mighty, May 1, 2018).
Jade Helm. The Special Operations unconventional warfare exercise periodically held in Texas that has aroused concerns among the civilian population may continue in the future. Read “Operation Jade Helm is Coming to San Angelo Again?”, San Angelo LIve.com, Apr 30, 2018).
Army SOF Communicator Recognized. Maj Ryan Collins, a 1st Special Forces Group signal officer, has been recognized as the Army Special Operations Forces Communicator of the Year (2018). (1st SFGA DVIDS, May 1, 2018).
Caribbean Special Tactics Center Opens. SOF units from across the Caribbean Sea and Central and South America regions will receive benefit from a dedicated training facility in Jamaica. (Sherphard Media, May 1, 2018).
Reducing ‘Queep’ at 1st SOW. The commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida is eliminating unnecessary pre-deployment training requirements. “Special operations wing gives commanders leeway to target ‘queep'”, Air Force Times, May 1, 2018.
Middle East News
CJFLCC Deactivated. Central Command announced the deactivation of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command (CJFLCC) on April 30, 2018. CJFLCC, a two-star command, was responsible for Coalition conventional land force operations ins support of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) during the fight against ISIS. The nature of the Coalition’s support to the ISF is evolving from supporting and enabling combat operations to the training and development of self-sufficient Iraqi security-related capabilities. The CJFLCC functions and responsibilities has been transferred to the CJTF-OIR. (DoD, Apr 30, 2018).
SDF Announce New Offensive against ISIS. The Syrian Democratic Forces are attempting to clear the final Islamic State of Iraq and Syria territories in northeastern Syria. The operations will take place in the middle Euphrates River Valley. The commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – OIR said that “This is a key milestone in bringing lasting stability to both Iraq and Syria”, DoD, May 1, 2018.
Israeli Rockets Rain on Iranians. It appears that Israel is stepping up its Middle East game. A number of rockets (was it surface-to-surface missiles or an airstrike?) hit several Iranian bases in Syria. The targets are said to be Iranian surface-to-surface rockets. Read “AP Analysis: Iran has few options to avenge Syria strikes”, AP – Washington Post, May 1, 2018.
Containing Iran – via Yemen. The US needs a strategy to contain Iran’s ambitions in the Middle East and to ensure stability in the region. Yemen is the first stop to mitigate the Iran threat to its neighbors and also in preventing an escalation of the Saudi – Iran conflict. Carlos Pascual, a former State Department employee, thinks that a peace agreement in Yemen would go a long way to ensuring stability in the Middle East. (Reuters, Apr 30, 2018).
Map of Syrian Conflict. Air Force Magazine has posted a map / infographic on the Syrian conflict. Good good pictorial view of the long war.
Map of African Militant Groups. Violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in Africa rose by 38 percent over the past year. All of the major groups have increased their activity. View a map graphic depicting the various militant groups posted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 27, 2018.
Lake Chad and ISWA. An insurgent group is working to gain the support of civilians in the Lake Chad Basin area of northeastern Nigeria and Niger. The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) are attempting to establish a form of administration in the Lake Chad area. The ISWA is considered to be less extreme than Boko Haram. Read more in “Islamic State ally stakes out territory around Lake Chad”, Reuters, April 29, 2018.
The NATO Alliance, Europe, & Russia
Competition on the Seas. Russia is challenging NATO at sea as well as on the continent of Europe. Some observers feel that NATO has neglected the sea as a domain of competition; yielding the advantage to Russia. It appears that the NATO member states have differing versions of a maritime strategy and priorities. The northern states view the Russian naval forces as the principal maritime challenge while Mediterranean countries worry about illegal migration. Professor Peter Roberts of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies provides his input on this topic in “Will the Alliance discover navies again?”, NATO Review Magazine, April 30, 2018.
NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy. A new strategy adopted in early 2018 by NATO lays out long-term guidelines in the development of NATO air capabilities. Read more in “Inside NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy”, Airforce-Technology.com, April 25, 2018.
Shades of “Occupied“. In the Netflix TV series Occupied the Russians conduct a hybrid warfare invasion of Norway. While a fictional TV series it certainly has elements of real life depicted in the story line. Some intensive training by the Russian military in close proximity to the Norway – Russia border is creating communication problems for the Norwegians. Read more in “Norway requests Russia to halt GPS jamming in borderland”, The Barents Observer, April 27, 2018.
Trouble in the Western Balkans. Things are heating up in the Balkans after the area has been ignored for a number of years by the west. Attention has once again focused on the activities of Russia in this region. Observers have noticed a deterioration of political, economic, and social constructs. The failure of the U.S. and the European Union to pay attention to the Balkans has resulted in a political power vacuum that Russia, China, Turkey, and others have stepped into. Read more in “Dropping the ball in the Western Balkans: Can the West pick it up again?”, War on the Rocks, April 30, 2018.
Serbia and Russia. One of Russia’s only friends in Europe is Serbia. Probably has a lot to do with NATO and the U.S. bombing Serbia in the 1990s. In addition the Kosovo region was separated from Serbia and has been declared an independent nation. Read “Russia’s influence campaign in the Balkans has US military leaders on edge”, Stars and Stripes, May 1, 2018.
“Train, Advise, and Assist”
Video – BPC. Ms Deborah Jeppesen from the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO – Australia) is featured in this 30-minute long video about the personal attributes required to effectively advise national security forces in Train, Advise, Assist (TAA) roles. She reinforces the importance of emotional intelligence, the need for cultural sensitivity, and an understanding of the bigger picture. Watch “Building Partner Capacity: Attributes of Effective Advisors”, The Cove, May 1, 2018.
Paper -“Civilians and Mil Ops”. The Center for Strategic & International Studies has produced a report entitled Civilians and “By, With, and Through” (May 2018, 18-pages). It explores the issues and provides recommendations for those military units engaged in ‘partnership’ or security force assistance missions. www.csis.org/analysis/civilians-and-and-through
U.S. Soldier KIA in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who was supporting the Operation Freedom’s Sentinel mission in Afghanistan. Specialist Gabriel Conde, age 22, of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Alaska) was killed in action as a result of enemy small arms fire in Tagab district, Kapisa province, Afghanistan on Monday April 30, 2018. See “DoD Identifies Army Casualty”, DoD, May 1, 2018.
Marines M38 Rifle. The Marines are fielding the M38 Marksmanship Rifle; which is a marksman version of the M27 IAR produced by Heckler & Koch. Of course some members of Congress are not happy with that decision. All three of the Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) have been field the rifle. (Marine Corps Times, Apr 28, 2018).
Pub – Perspectives on Terrorism. The April 2018 edition of this pub by the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) and Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) has been posted online. Some interesting articles to include the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Turkey, Israel’s targeted assassinations, book reviews, conflict in Syria, Boko Haram, and more.
Photo: Chinook CH-47 Helicopter, DoD photo, November 2017.