Special Operations News Update 20171010

3rd SFGA Training Botswana Troops (Photo U.S. Africa Command, September 21, 2017)
3rd SFGA Training Botswana Troops (Photo U.S. Africa Command, September 21, 2017)

SOF News Update 20171010 – Military – media interaction, NATO in the Black Sea, podcast on drones and JSOC, U.S. military in Lake Chad Basin area, Erik Prince entering politics, CANSOF in Iraq, Russia and the disinformation war in the Baltic states, Green Berets in Niger, review of ‘Valor’ on the CW, Mattis and ‘Chaos”, fall of Hawija, and more.

Mattis Says Talk to the Press. The DoD has sent out the message that generals and admirals should engage with the press more frequently. The senior military leaders have been reluctant to talk to the media for a number of reasons. One reason is the unpredictable behavior of the President – one never knows when you are contradicting the White House. Another reason is that some of the press crowd seems to be constantly putting the Trump administration in a bad light and are not adverse to using the military to get their bad news message out. And, of course, the senior military officers are taking their lead from SECDEF Mattis – who has a different (and smart) approach to the press. However, Mattis feels the military needs to get the message out about how the military works and the importance of passing a defense spending bill that meets the military’s needs. Read more in “Mattis to Generals: Start Talking to the Press”, Defense One, October 9, 2017.

Call Sign “Chaos”. How did SECDEF Mattis get his call sign? (DoDLive, Oct 10, 2017).

Podcast on Drones and CT. Listen to a 15-minute podcast on drones. Brett Velicovich, book author, is interviewed on his new book Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies. He is interviewed about the importance of the drone program in US military counterterrorism efforts. Listen to “Delving into the Drone Program with Brett Velicovich”The Cipher Brief, October 8, 2017.

NATO Expanding Force in Black Sea. Much to Russia’s dismay the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is expanding its presence in Eastern Europe. Romania is the latest country to see a small multi-national defense force setup to deter possible Russian aggression. Read “NATO launches Black Sea force as latest counter to Russia”, Reuters, October 9, 2017.

U.S. Military in Lake Chad Basin Area. The 3rd Special Forces Group recently lost four members due to a 30-minute hostile engagement in Niger. Their mission was part of a larger plan to stabilize and secure the Lake Chad Basin area of Africa. The head of U.S. Army Africa is interviewed about the importance of this region and what plans the command has for future training missions and exercises. (Defense News, Oct 9, 2017).

Army to Follow SOCOM Lead in Buying Weapons. General Milley told reporters that the Army will start buying weapons the way the US Special Operations Command acquires defense equipment. The process will become more streamlined. (Breaking Defense, Oct 9, 2017).

Baltic States and Russia’s Disinformation. The countries of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia have been on the front lines of the war with Russia in the digital world. Read “Baltics battle Russia in online disinformation war”Deutsche Welle, October 9, 2017.

Review of ‘Valor’. The military drama on the CW network is off to a weak start. Of the three special operations shows on TV this fall ‘Valor’ is likely the weakest. For starters,  the female star looks like she is 22 years old. The problem is she is playing the role of a Chief Warrant Officer 4 – and those guys have some years on them. Read a review “TV Review: ‘Valor’ on the CW”Variety, October 10, 2017.

Fall of Hawija and Future Implications. The ISIS fighters in Hawija have either died, surrendered or fled. The ISIS-held area was one of the last strongholds to fall (except the Anbar province area) but it was also a buffer between Kurdish and Iraqi government forces. Now that the buffer is gone . . .

CANSOF in Iraq. Canadian special forces have been hunting down, detecting, and dismantling scores of chemical weapons used by ISIS. Members of the elite JTF-2 and CJIRU are engaged in the operation. (Globe and Mail, Oct 10, 2017).

Why Green Berets are in Niger. Steve Balestrieri explains why we have Special Forces Soldiers in Africa. “What Were Green Berets Doing in Niger? Their Job”Special Operations.com, October 9, 2017.

Prince and Politics. The founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is considering a Republican primary challenge to a Wyoming Senator. (Military Times, Oct 9, 2017).

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