SOF News Update 20170802 – Nigerian rescue attempt goes bad, behind the cancellation of the CIA covert program in Syria, SOF and civic action programs, B-52s and leaflet bombs, Gen Selva reconfirmed, video MoH ceremony, Afghan CRU in action, USSOCOM’s LASSO plan, SOF and drug use, Mattis to nix unnecessary training, BG Jarrard assigned to SOJTF-OIR, and more.
Nigerian Rescue Attempt Goes Bad. There are at least 30 dead after an attempted rescue of an abducted oil survey team in northeast Nigeria. A rescue effort failed to gain the release of hostages of Boko Harem. (Reuters, July 27, 2017).
SOF and Civic Action Programs. When conducting unconventional warfare or counterinsurgency civic action programs can be helpful in the accomplishment of the overall mission. Read “Civic Action Projects Very Important in Special Operations Missions”, Special Operations.com, August 1, 2017.
Vice Chairman Reconfirmed. The Senate has confirmed by a voice vote (Monday) General Paul Selva for a second two-year term as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Defense News, August 1, 2017).
Video – MoH Ceremony. SPC 5 James C. McCloughan was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony at the White House on July 31, 2017. Watch a 21-minute long video of the ceremony.
B-52s and Leaflet Bombs. Read up on how the Air Force is testing B-52s for the air drop of psychological products – leaflets. See “B-52 testers complete leaflet bomb drops”, U.S. Air Force, July 26, 2017.
Afghan CRU in Action. On Tuesday, August 1st, at approximately 1200 hours (Kabul time) insurgents conducted a complex attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. There at least 5 attackers with one of them initiating the attack at the main gate with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). The attackers penetrated the perimeter and gained access to the first floor. The Islamic State in Khorsan (IS-K) claimed credit for the attack. The Afghan Crisis Response Unit (CRU) – an Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) SOF unit – responded to the attack.
USSOCOM’s LASSO Program. The U.S. Special Operations Command has been actively pushing the Air Force for a light attack aircraft to support special operations forces. SOCOM wants to explore combining the capability of a light attack aircraft married up with advanced technology. The SOCOM program has been called the Light Attack Support for Special Operations or LASSO. There are several airframes under consideration – one being the A-29 Super Tucano currently being fielded to the Afghan Air Force. Read more in an article by Joseph Trevithick entitled “U.S. Special Operations Forces Want Their Own Light Attack Aircraft”, The War Zone, July 31, 2017.
SOF and Drug Use. The unprecedented pace and tempo that U.S. SOF has had over the past 16 years has been taking a toll. The stress caused by multiple combat tours year after year have pushed many to seek relief through drugs. Congressional lawmakers are calling for an accountability review of the ‘culture’ inside special operations units. Read more in “Special Ops troops’ drug, alcohol abuse prompts call for congressional review of ‘culture'”, The Washington Times, July 30, 2017.
BG Jarrard going to SOJTF-OIR. Brigadier General James B. Jarrard – currently director of the Pakistan and Afghanistan Coordination Cell (J-5, Joint Staff) – is being assigned to be the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait.
Mattis to Nix Unnecessary Training. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has requested a review of all training that impedes the ability of infantrymen and pilots to conduct their war-fighting tasks. See “Mattis: Get unnecessary training off warfighter’s backs”, Military Times, July 25, 2017.
Behind the Scenes – CIA’s Covert Syria Program. President Trump cancelled a failing Central Intelligence Agency program to aid ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels in their fight against the Assad regime (and the Russians, and the Iranians, and the Hezbollah). Two college professors (and political commentators) look at the background of the program and the implications of its demise in “Trump and Covert Operations in Syria: A Not-So-Artful Deal?”, War on the Rocks, August 1, 2017.