Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world. Update on Gallagher trial, SOCAFRICA, Yemen, ISIS, ‘Gray Zone’, and more.
Eddie Gallagher – Not Guilty. Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was found not guilty of 6 of 7 counts on Tuesday, June 2, 2019- to include not guilty of murder. Witnesses that contradicted the prosecutions charges or were inconsistent in testimony and a lack of physical evidence made it difficult to convict Gallagher of murder. He was found guilty for an inappropriate photo with a corpse. The max sentence for this conviction could be four months but he may get credited with time served – having already been confined for nine months. He will likely retire soon. See “Navy SEAL found not guilty of murder, most other charges”, Stars and Stripes, July 2, 2019.
SEALs ‘Sewing Circle’ and Gallagher Trial. A secret sect of Navy SEALs had a chat forum (WhatsApp) to discuss the alleged war crimes that Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher. Read “A ‘Sewing Circle’ of SEALs and a chief fighting to clear his name”, Navy Times, July 1, 2019.
SOCAFRICA CoC. Major General Marcus Hicks (USAF) relinquished command of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa on June 28, 2019 during a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany. He is replaced by Brigadier General Dag Anderson (USAF). Read more in “Outgoing US special operations general warns of growing threat in Africa”, Stars and Stripes, June 28, 2019. See also “Special Operations Command Africa receives new commander”, DVIDS, June 28, 2019.
McChrystal on National Service. Retired Army General Stan McChrystal believes that young Americans need the opportunity to perform a year of paid full-time service to the country. (CBS This Morning, July 1, 2019).
New SOF Osprey Squadrons. The Air Force has activated two new special operations squadrons in Japan that will operate and maintain the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotar aircraft. (Air Force Times, July 1, 2019).
Smartphone App for SOCOM. The United States Special Operations Command is looking for an application that would allow its operators to collect biometric information with their smartphones. Read “SOCOM Seeks Smartphone App for Fingerprint Data”,National Defense Magazine, June 28, 2019.
SITREP – Navy SEAL Foundation. The July 2019 SITREP is now available for reading online. News about support from Reebok, the June 2019 Inaugural Boston Frogman Swim, family support efforts, National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, warrior transition, upcoming races “Jogging for Frogmen”, and a full listing of Navy SEAL Foundation events.
No Beer and Pizza for SOF Combat Divers? US SOCOM may be rolling out a new diet that would help combat divers perform their missions. The keto diet could be introduced in the future to enhance military performance. (Military Times, June 1, 2019.
Elite Unit Selection and Training. Read a short article about the training and selection process for elite special operations units. “In Your Dreams: Could You Make It Through SAS or Delta Force Training”, War History Online, April 8, 2019.
European SOF and Items of Interest. The folks at the Global SOF Foundation, headed by former U.S. Special Forces officer Stu Bradin, conduct a series of conferences in the U.S. and around the world. They have published a recent article that lists some of the equipment and capabilities that European special operations forces are looking to purchase or acquire in the future. Read More Essential Items of Interest for European SOF, July 1, 2019.
Singapore SOF. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is increasing its efforts to confront terrorism with a new centre for counter-terrorism operations. (Today Singapore, June 30, 2019).
Paper on Yemen Conflict. Steven Kleeman, of the University of Potsdam, has penned a 22-page paper about the conflict in Yemen. He examines a conflict that started as a war between the Houthi- and Hadi-factions and has escalated into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia (and it allies) and Iran. See The Forgotten War: Yemen, June 27, 2019.
Paper – ISIS: Down but not Out. The Islamic State, anticipating the territorial loss of its caliphate in Iraq and Syria, took steps in 2018 to ensure that it could resume insurgent warfare in unstable areas of those two countries. Jennifer Cafarella, Brandon Wallace, and Jason Zhou have taken a close look at the future of ISIS in the Middle East. Read their 76-page paper entitled ISIS’s Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency, Institute for the Study of War (ISW), June 2019.
Essay on Maritime Order in the Pacific. Dr. Patrick M. Cronin the U.S. seapower posture in the Pacific region in Maritime Order and America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, Center for International Maritime Security, July 1, 2019.
Russia’s Propaganda in the ‘Gray Zone’. Zak Doffman, a writer on security and surveillance, discusses a recent report by the DoD on dealing with Russia’s growing influence around the world. Read “Pentagon Report Warns on Threat to U.S. From Russia’s Dangerous Global Influence”, Forbes.com, July 1, 2019.
Russian Sub Accident. A fire killed 14 Russian sailors on one of the Russian Navy’s ‘special project‘ spy subs on July 1st. (The Diplomat, July 3, 2019).
Afghanistan Update. More than 100 Afghans were wounded and some were killed in a Taliban attack on a security compound in the heart of Kabul. Peace talks between the Taliban and the U.S. continue . . . but no real progress is being made.
Security Force Assistance in Burkina Faso. The DoD is providing assistance to Burkina Faso’s Counter Terrorism Company to enhance its ability to conduct CT operations and degrade violent extremist organizations. Read more in an article by Security Assistance Monitor, June 28, 2019.
Sniper Rifle for Airborne Units. The 82nd Airborne Division will soon be using the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System or CSASS. Read “This unit’s going airborne wit the Army’s newest sniper rifle”, Army Times, June 2,2 2019.
OSS in WWII. The Office of Strategic Services deployed teams into France for months before D-Day. Read more in “A single map shows how crazy successful the OSS was in France”, We are the Mighty, June 2, 2019.
Static Line – Spring 2019. The 9-page pub for 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn Division is now posted online.
SOF and MOOTW Options. Greg Olsen, a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester (concentrating on peacekeeping and civil wars), has penned an article that examines which forces (SOF, USMC, or Army Reserves) are best suited for maintaining the capability of executing military operations other than war given the U.S. DoD strategic shift to ‘near peer’ competition. Read “Options for the U.S. Department of Defense to Balance Peer Competition With Military Operations Other Than War”, Divergent Options,, July 1, 2019.
Working with Indigenous Forces. A freelance soldier who has fought with the Kurdish YPG and Kachin Independence Army provides his thoughts on how to work with resistance groups. Read “Lessons in Working with Indigenous Forces”, Small Wars Journal, July 1, 2019.
Photo: Osprey aircraft, photo from USSOCOM Twitter, November 4, 2017.