Special Operations News Update 20171002

173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper descending under canopy at Rivolto Italian Air Force Base, Udine, Italy. (Photo by Specialist Paolo Bovo, U.S. Army, Sep 26, 2017).
173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper descending under canopy at Rivolto Italian Air Force Base, Udine, Italy. (Photo by Specialist Paolo Bovo, U.S. Army, Sep 26, 2017).

SOF News Update 20171002 – 10th SFGA trains up GSB, Canada’s reserve forces under strength, Air Force SOFWERX, new sniper rifle, SEAL hides vaping habit, questions on Jan 2017 SEAL mission in Yemen, India’s SOF, AFSOC assists in hurricane, Dunford approved for 2nd term, 4th Annual SOF Symposium, Canadians off to Tunisia, Navy PBRs in Vietnam (and the occasional Green Beret), U.S. Embassy in Cuba, UK’s SOE – truth or fiction?, 85th CA Bde inactivated, retired GB officer on social media, and more.

10th SFGA GSB Soldiers Train Up. Members of the Group Support Battalion of the 10th Special Forces recently went through some complex joint fires and maneuver exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in late August and early September. The Soldiers trained on various skills to include airborne opns, comms, casualty evacution, convoys, live fire stress shoots, and aerial fires. See “SF trains support soldiers in complex fires and maneuvers”U.S. Army, September 29, 2017.

Departure of Personnel from U.S. Embassy in Cuba. The Secretary of State has issued a statement about the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Seems the employees have been suffering from a variety of injuries from attacks of an unknown nature. Read the statement (DoS, Sep 29, 2017).

Canada’s Reserve Forces Recruiting. Canada’s reserve forces are severely undermanned – with many western Canada military units at less than 50% strength. The military is embarking on a huge recruiting drive to bring more Canadian’s into the reserves. See “Canada’s army looks to recruit reservists in face of dwindling numbers”CBC News, September 30, 2017.

Navy PBRs in Vietnam (and SF). A Navy vet recounts stories from his time serving in Vietnam on a Patrol Boat, River (PBR). Of interest is his account of one Green Beret that he inserted by PBR on missions. Read “Mark Woods: 50 years later, renewed effort to tell Vietnam’s stories”The Florida Times-Union, September 29, 2017.

85th Civil Affairs Brigade Inactivated. On October 1, 2017 the Army’s only conventional brigade (based at Fort Hood, Texas) was inactivated. Only one of its CA battalions survived. The 83rd CA Battalion, stationed on Fort Bragg, NC, will be realigned under the 16th Military Police Brigade. The 85th CA Bde supported U.S. Army conventional units while the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade and its five battalions support Special Forces missions. See “Civil Affairs battalion to remain at Fort Bragg”The Fayetteville Observer, October 1, 2017.

SOE and Posers. The US Army Special Forces and the US Navy SEAL have for many years seen ‘posers’ claiming they were members of elite special operations units. The United Kingdom sees some of this happening as well – in particular, people claiming to have belonged to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) formed by Winston Churchill during World War II. The SOE was created to carry out sabotage and assist resistance groups in Nazi-occupied Europe. Read “Set Europe Ablaze: Let’s dare to tell the truth about the SOE”The Australian, October 2, 2017.

Canadians to Advise Tunisians. The Canadian Army will be sending a small contingent to Tunisia to provide counter-terrorism training. (Ottawa Citizen, Sep 29, 2017).

Questions on Jan 2017 Yemen SOF Mission. The father of a Navy SEAL who died on a special operations mission in Yemen is speaking out. The Dad, a former Green Beret, wants to know more about what happened during the preparation and execution of the mission. Read “How the Trump Team’s First Military Raid Went Wrong”NBC News, October 1, 2017.

New Sniper Rifle. There were concerns that the Army might cancel the M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program. However, the fears are misplaced. See “The Army’s Lethal New Sniper Rifle is Still in the Works Despite Cancellation Fears” Task and Purpose, September 28, 2017.

Understanding Adversaries use of Social Media. Retired Green Beret officer David Maxwell has some ideas about how to deal with the challenge of social media used by our adversaries. He informs us that social media is just a tool that can be understood in the context of the strategy that exploits it. Read more in an article posted on Lawfire, Sep 30, 2017.

India’s SOF Needs Change. Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja believes that India’s special operations forces need more attention and resources to do its mission. He also points out needed changes to the intelligence agencies that provide India’s SOF with actionable intelligence. Read “Special Operations and Intelligence Agencies: India’s Incapability”Indian Defence Review, September 27, 2017.

SEAL Hides Vaping Habit. A Navy SEAL stays in shape, plays video games, and hides his ‘vaping’ habit. (caution – humor zone). Read “Atheist, CrossFitting Navy SEAL hasn’t told anyone he vapes”Duffel Blog, October 1, 2017.

4th Annual SOF Symposium. The Defense Strategies Institute is presenting the “Special Operations & Irregular Warfare Symposium” on December 5-6, 2017 at the Mary M. Gates Learning Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The event allows members of the SOF community and others to take part in a town-hall forum to discuss a number of topics relating to SOF and irregular warfare.

Gen Dunford Gets 2nd Term. The Senate confirmed Joe Dunford for a second term as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Real Clear Defense, Sep 27, 2017).

Air Force and SOFWERX. USSOCOM launched a technology accelerator program to find cutting-edge and affordable solutions to SOF problems and challenges. SOFWERX was established in 2016 to engage entrepreneurs in an attempt to take advantage of new and innovative technologies. The Air Force is following SOCOM’s example by establishing its own technology center. Read more in “Air Force Opens SOFWERX-like Facility Near Las Vegas”National Defense Magazine, September 28, 2017.

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