SOF News Weekly Update for 20160925 – SOF tactical drones, Marine’s Raider insignia, 352nd SOW, ‘offroad aircraft’ for SOF, Norway’s all-female SOF unit, the revamped AC-130J Gunship (Ghostrider), SF out of Philippines, battlefield technology shop for USSOCOM, US Special Forces out of Philippines, papers on hybrid warfare and UW PSYOP, and more.
Marine’s Raider Insignia. A retired Marine Corps general comes out in favor of the MARSOC insignia – saying it gives Marine SOF ‘street cred’. (Marines Corps Times, Sep 19, 2016).
SOF Microdrone. It is something out of the movies but will soon become part of the SOF toolkit. An autonomous drone that can fly without a GPS and which requires little human interaction. Read more in “Special Operators Are Getting a New Autonomous Tactical Drone”, Defense One Technology, September 11, 2016.
352nd SOW Training in UK. Some CV-22’s have been conducting low-level and terrain-following missions in the UK. Read more in The Press and Journal, September 20, 2016.
US SOF’s ALP. The good, the bad and the ugly. Read an extensive report about how one of US special operations forces programs – the Afghan Local Police or ALP – worked very well or went very wrong. See “How to replace a bad ALP commander: in Shajoy, success and now calamity”, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), September 1, 2016.
Off-Road Aircraft for SOF? An interesting concept has the attention of the SOF community. A vehicle that can travel on the ground (70 mph) and fly (up to 10,000 ft). Read more in a news report by The Washington Times, September 20, 2016.
Airborne Laser Designators for SOF Contract Air? One former SOF aviator thinks we should consider putting a more robust support system on SOF contract aviation assets that support SOF ground elements around the world. An interesting read on SOF contract aviation. Read more in “Supporting SOF Teams With Airborne ISR”, LinkedIn Pulse, September 13, 2016.
Norway’s All-Female SOF Unit. In 2014, Norway created the world’s first all-female special operations unit. Call “Hunter Troop”, or Jegertroppen, its members undergo a year-long training program. In 2014 the course had a 96% attrition rate. Read more in a news report by Task & Purpose, September 14, 2016.
10th SFGA and Colorado State University – A Healthy Combination. USSOCOM is sponsoring a to promote the psychological health of SOF members. Read more in “CSU promotes groundbreaking study of program for returning military”, CSU Source, September 23, 2016.
7th SFGA DCO Interview. The DCO of 7th SFGA chats about the Florida community and post-Army plans in “A conversation with Col. Robert Kirila”, NWF Daily News, September 23, 2016.
Female Marine Falls Short in MARSOC training. A female Maine finished Phase I (Assessment & Selection) of the Marines Special Operations training course but did not advance to the next phase. (Marine Corps Times, Sep 23, 2016).
Interesting Article on SF Selection and the Private Sector. Read “Special Forces, Entrepreneurship, and Selecting for Intangibles”, The Havok Journal, September 21, 2016.
AC-130J Gunship. New armament makes the gunship a formidable weapon. Watch a video on the improvements made to this airplane – referred to as a ‘bomb truck with guns’. (Defense News, Sep 19, 2016).
Book Review of SAS Rogue Heroes. A new book provides fresh insight into the Special Air Service activities during World War II and also on its more unofficial goings-on after the war. (Daily Mail, Sep 22, 2016).
SF Out of Southern Philippines. For years one of the quiet success stories of U.S. Army Special Forces has been the SOF task force operating in the Philippines helping the Philippine military keep the Islamist insurgents at bay. SF has been deployed on an almost continuous basis since 2002 in that country conducting an advise and assist mission. Things are about to change with the election of Rodrigo Duterte as the President of that nation. He has called for the U.S. Special Forces to leave the southern Philippines. At the height of the mission over 1,000 participants were deployed; currently there are about 200 U.S. military involved in the mission. Read more in “Duterte Wants U.S. Special Forces Out of the Southern Philppines”, Foreign Policy Passport, September 12, 2016.
Interesting Video of SOF on Ground in Syria. A short video clip seems to show a demonstration against American special operators in Syria as they leave a Syrian town. (Task & Purpose, Sep 19, 2016).
SF as Observers in Foreign Wars? One author suggests the reintroduction of American military observers accompanying foreign armies into battle as ‘military observers’. He believes that Special Forces officers and NCO’s are ideally suited for this job. Read more in “Special Forces as Military Observers in Modern Combat”, Real Clear Defense, September 21, 2016.
USSOCOM Cdr Comes Out Against Publicity. Army General “Tony” Thomas, Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), has come out strongly against the the many books and movies about SOF that seem to be to revealing. Read more in “Top U.S. Special Operations general: “We’re hurting ourselves’ with all these movies and books”, The Washington Post, September 15, 2016.
Paralyzed Green Beret to be Forced out of Army without Medical Benefits? It appears that Human Resources Command is about to commit a huge blunder in its adverse discharge of a Special Forces Soldier from the Army. SFC Tim Brumit was paralyzed from the chest down after he jumped from a boat into shallow water in Florida attempting to assist a distressed swimmer in the summer of 2015. The multiple combat veteran with 12-years service dove at the wrong time – between waves when the water was extremely shallow. The Army decided to find “No” on the Line of Duty investigation means that he will receive an other than honorable discharge which will cost him a huge amount of money in future medical costs. The Army’s reasoning is that they found traces of drugs and alcohol in his system. Read more in a story by Army Times, September 17, 2016.
Challenge Coins? Not just SF. See “CIA challenge coins: Secret symbolism, dark humor can be had for a price on eBay”, The Washington Post, September 21, 2016.
SOF in the Future. Read an article by LTG Charles Cleveland (Ret) and Col David Maxwell (Ret) on where SOF needs to go in the future. “U.S. Special Operations Forces at 9-11, Today, and for the Future”, The Cipher Brief, September 11, 2016.
14 Firms funded by CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency has been pumping money into innovative Silicon Valley firms for a few years. Read more in “14 cutting edge firms funded by the CIA”, Business Insider, September 21, 2016.
Paper: UW PSYOP. Read “Unconventional Warfare Psychological Operations: An ODA’s Experience at JRTC”, Small Wars Journal, September 11, 2016.
Paper: Hybrid Warfare and SOF. “Hybrid warfare: How to shape special operations forces”, by Norbert Vaczi, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, June 2016.
Paper: SOF and Somalia. Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Somalia: Assessing the Campaign Against al Shabaab, by Seth G. Jones et al, RAND Corporation, September 2016. “This study finds that a tailored engagement strategy – which involved deploying a small number of U.S. special operations forces . . . ”
Paper: Governance and COIN in Afghanistan. An AfPak Hand who worked for the Combined Joint Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) in 2011 writes on his experience working at the district level along the Pakistan border. Read The Illusion of Governance: The Challenges of Providing Effective Governance as a Tool of Counterinsurgency in Eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika Province, by Jorge J. Mendoza, 2011, 119 pages.