Special Operations News Update – 20160811

Leapfest 2016. Photo by SSG Quentin Davis, Army NG
Leapfest 2016. Photo by SSG Quentin Davis, Army NG.

SOF News Update: Kidnappings in Kabul, DoDIG report on SOCAfrica, new Intel manual, Afghanistan, Libya, and . . . of course, SEALs.

Two Westerners Kidnapped in Kabul. Two American University of Afghanistan faculty members were kidnapped at gunpoint. The American and Australian were traveling from the university to their residence when their car was stopped by armed men. Read more in “American University of Afghanistan Faculty Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Kabul”The Diplomat, August 10, 2016.

DoD IG Report on SOCAfrica. The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General has published Whistleblower Reprisal Investigation, DoDIG-2016-121, August 9, 2016. It explores allegations of retribution against a whistleblower at Special Operations Command Africa based in Stuttgart, Germany.

New DoD Manual on Intelligence Collection. The DoD released revised procedures for the conduct of its intelligence activities. DoD Manual 5240.01 complies with other directives and executive orders which authorize Defense components to collect information on U.S. citizens and other intelligence activities. Read a synopsis of the new manual in “Pentagon Releases New Procedures for Intelligence Collection”Lawfare Blog, August 10, 2016. Read a DoD press release on this topic (Aug 10, 2016).

PokemonGO App for SEALs. It appears that there is an app for PokemonGo made for the U.S. Navy SEALs. It puts them on the path to search for book publishers and movie agents.

Libyan Endgame? There probably is none at the moment. Currently U.S. SOF are on the ground and airstrikes are hitting ISIS fighters in Sirte. However, beyond that there probably isn’t a long-term strategic view of what to do in Libya. Read more in “How Not to Plan for ‘The Day After’ in Libya”Defense One, August 9, 2016.

Brit SAS Troops to Syria? According to the Daily Express (UK) the Special Air Service will be advising groups in Syria in an effort to wipe out the Islamic State.

New Minature Sub for SEALs? The new small subs used by SEALs to conduct maritime infiltration (and other types of missions) will be designed to ‘keep the SEALs dry’. Don’t want our Navy guys to get wet – do we! But . . .  the new sub may not be as good as the one we already have. Read more in “Will the New Special Ops Mini-Submarine Sink or Swim?”Popular Mechanics, August 10, 2016.

Congress Bickers While Afghan Translators Try to Survive. Afghans who worked for the U.S. military in Afghanistan as interpreters – at great risk to their own lives – are now seeking Visas to the United States. But while the U.S. has opened its doors to Syrian refugees fleeing their war it has closed the doors to Afghans who risked their lives for our Soldiers and Marines. Read more in “Fearing for their lives, Afghan translators for US plead for visas”The Boston Globe, August 9, 2016. See also “They Will Kill Us: Afghan Translators Plead for Delayed U.S. Visas”The New York Times, August 9, 2016.

Was Navy SEAL – Now Scientist. Morgan Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL and the twin brother of “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell is studying how to treat veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more in a news report by Dallas News, August 10, 2016.

Green Beret – Spotting Stars for the NFL. Brian Decker was a career Special Forces Soldier. He retired and then worked for the National Football League scouting for prospects to play in the NFL. Read more in “Man On A Mission” ABC News, August 10, 2016.

ISIS Video Depicts U.S. SOF Training Syrians. A video released by the Islamic State supposedly depicts U.S. special operations troops training up Syrian fighters. Read the news report by CBS News, August 10, 2016.

Afghanistan – It is Just Getting Worse. “After providing nearly $70 billion in security assistance, Washington is still looking at an Afghanistan that cannot sustain itself, defend itself, and whose national economy is so weak that it depends on the international community to pay for its army and police . . .” Read “Afghanistan: It’s Only Getting Worse”Defense One, August 9, 2016.

So How Goes the War in Iraq Against ISIS? LTG MacFarland, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, recently held a press conference where he mixes hard facts with a good dose of optimism. Read “Iraqi Troops Not Ready for Mosul Or What Comes Next, Says Top US Commander“, Defense One, August 10, 2016.

Photo Credit: Every year the Rhode Island Army National Guard hosts an international parachute competition during August. The Leapfest event promotes technical training and esprit de corps within the international airborne community. Photo by SSG Quentin Davis.

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