Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world. Topics: US infantry MOSs, Montagnard field medic, Russian military, new sniper rifle, AFSOC Cdr, Iraq war lessons, influence operations, and more.
Story about Montagnard Field Medic. Combat medic K Ben was a Montagnard medic attached to U.S. Special Forces. She was wounded twice and after the war found her way to North Carolina. Read more in “Montagnard field medic cared for U.S. soldiers during Vietnam War”, Greensboro News & Record, June 21, 2019.
LTG Webb – ‘Humble Competence’. Lt Gen Brad Webb is moving on from his assignment as the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). He leaves with some parting comments in “AFSOC in two words: Humble Competence”, AFSOC News, June 21, 2019.
A Family Affair. Two brothers are serving in the same company in the 3rd Special Forces Group. Read “Brothers in Fort Bragg Special Forces unit carry on tradition of service”,The Fayetteville Observer, June 22, 2019.
UK’s ‘Special Operations Concept’. Britain is giving its elite special operations units a new job – countering the hybrid warfare strategy of Russia. Read “Britain Is Sending Its Special Forces to Fight Russian Little Green Men”, The National Interest, June 22, 2019.
Aussie SOF Woes. The Australian special operations community has been in the news lately. Some critics say they are receiving too much attention. Read “Defence Leaker Says Special Forces Were Too Heavily Investigated in Afghanistan”, Newsline.com.au, June 22, 2019.
Maj Golsteyn Case Update. An arraignment date has been set for Thursday, June 27th in the case against Major Mathew Golsteyn. He is accused of killing an unarmed Afghan bomb maker.
Bolduc Running for Senate. BG (Ret) Don Bolduc, former Special Forces officer, announced on Monday, June 24th that he is seeking the nomination to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate.
Ukrainian SOF Gets Certification. For the first time in history, a unit from a country which is not a member of the North Atlantic Alliance was able to pass certification as an SOF unit. The 140th Special Operations Forces Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was certified as a SOF unit and has the right to be involved in NATO Response Force, the NRF. (UNIAN News Agency, June 24, 2019).
Dutch J-35s Support NLD SOF. In a recent exercise Dutch F-35s demonstrated support to JTACs of a NLD SOF unit in a contested environment via a trans-oceanic flight from 9,000 klics away. (The Aviationist, June 23, 2019.
Bolduc on U.S. Mistakes in Afghanistan. Retired general Don Bolduc (SF) provides his thoughts on what the United States did wrong in Afghanistan. Read “Opinion: America’s three big mistakes in Afghanistan”, Military Times, June 23, 2019.
ST Training Building Dedicated to LTC Schroeder. A Special Tactics Training Squadron building was dedicated to an Air Force officer who was killed while protecting members of his squadron from an armed assailant in 2016 at Lackland Air Force Base. Read “Special Tactics Training Squadron dedicates building to selfless hero“, DVIDS 24th SOW, June 21, 2019.
Test of New CSASS Rifle. Paratroopers are evaluating the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System or CSASS. Read “82nd Airborne snipers jump, testing new Compact Sniper rifle system”, Army.mil, June 20, 2019.
Broad Infantry MOS Not Ideal. Beginning in 2000, the U.S. Army infantry branch decided to merge the 11-series MOS into 11B – combining 11Bs, 11Ms, and 11Hs into one ‘broader’ MOS. It may not have been a good move.
“When multiple components are combined, they become averages of the whole. By combining roles with clear delineations into one MOS and spreading that watered-down MOS across different and unique types formations led by officers with often only partially relevant experiences, modern-day infantrymen are unable to refine their subject-matter expertise. By abolishing the broadening initiative, the Army will produce infantryman can excel at one job, rather than just being “good enough” at many. ““Highly specialized, highly lethal: Why the Army should replace its one-size-fits-all infantry model”, Modern War Institute at West Point, June 21, 2019.
Controlling the IE Narrative. Mario Hoffman, a retired intelligence officer and current career civil servant within TRADOC G2, writes on the importance of effectively managing the information environment. Read “Control the Information Environment Narrative . . . or the Threat Will”, Small Wars Journal, June 21, 2019.
POW / MIA Advocacy Group. The National League of POW / MIA Families is entering its 50th year. Read more in “DOD Commemorates Founding of POW / MIA Advocacy Group”, US Dept of Defense, June 22, 2019.
USAF Needs Light Aircraft. A pair of U.S. Air Force officers make the case that the U.S. Air force needs to have a responsive light airlift capability for small cargo loads to austere locations. Read “Featherweight Airlift: for want of a nail”, War on the Rocks, June 21, 2019.
NATO and the Neighbor to the East
Paper – Russian Military Capabilities. A research paper provides information on Russian ground capabilities (over next 20 years), factors that shape the development of Russia’s military, and how the U.S. can prepare for these developments to protect and pursue U.S. interests. Russian SOF is mentioned from time to time in the report. Read The Future of the Russian Military, RAND Corporation, June 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Iraq War Lessons. The history of the Iraq War (2003-?) is used by politicians of all kinds to reinforce their viewpoints. Those who opposed and supported the war selectively use ‘facts’ to bolster their political stances and positions. However, this has a dampening effect on the rational exploration of foreign policy issues of the day. Read “Lessons from the Iraq War”, National Review, June 20, 2019.
Coup in Ethiopia? News reports say that the Ethiopian army chief of staff has been shot (killed?) trying to stop an attempted military coup on Saturday. (Yahoo News, June 22, 2019). Some reports say he was shot by his bodyguard. (Deutsche Welle, June 23, 2019).
Alone At Dawn. The author of a new book about MSgt John Chapman is profiled in “This is a war book like no other”, Deseret News, June 21, 2019.
Photo: CANSOF, Belize Special Assignments Group practice SR DA and PR in Exercise Tropical Dagger. Nov 14, 2017 photo by 1LT Kristine Racicot, JTF Bravo.