Special Operations News Update 20171026

Soldiers from GSB 10th SFGA Conduct Sling Load Training during battalion field training exercise at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. (Photo by CPT Benjamin F. Moe, Oct 20, 2017).
Soldiers from GSB 10th SFGA Conduct Sling Load Training during battalion field training exercise at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. (Photo by CPT Benjamin F. Moe, Oct 20, 2017).

SOF News Update – McChrystal interview, Bolduc on SOF in Niger, US Navy SEAL rape case unjust, SOF tests new airborne navigation system, AAF gets more A-29s, Extortion 17, Afghan commandos doubling in size, countering Russian disinformation, Marine and SOCOM integration, SEAL testifies abou Bergdahl, ‘burn-out’ of SOF, GB helps ‘Save the Montegnard People’, controversial book about Aussie SF, and more.

Interview – Gen (Ret) McChrystal. Now retired, Stan McChrystal was once in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. He spent years in Iraq heading up the JSOC fight against the insurgency and then moved on to command the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. After an unfortunate episode in Paris where a left-wing periodically caught his staff in a vulnerable state he was fired by President Obama. Today he runs the McChrystal Group – a firm that helps companies become faster and more flexible. Read a recent interview with McChyrstal in Forbes.com, October 3, 2017.

Gen (Ret) Bolduc on Niger Opns. A former commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAfrica) Donald Bolduc provides insight into past special operations missions in Niger and his perspective on the Washington establishment just now recognizing what is really going on in northern and western Africa. Read “Former special ops commander: US troops engaged in Niger firefights for years”Stars and Stripes, October 25, 2017.

Extortion 17. In August 2011 a U.S. Chinook helicopter was downed by the Taliban in the Tangi valley of Afghanistan. 30 Americans lost their lives along with a number of Afghan military personnel. The mission was a SEAL attempt to capture or kill a high value target. Read “SEAL Team 6, Extortion 17, and what happened on America’s deadliest day in Afghanistan”Stars & Stripes, October 25, 2017.

GB Helps ‘Save the Montagnard People’. A Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam War talks about his time working with the hill tribesmen during his wartime deployment and the work he does now assisting those now in the U.S. “Veteran’s Stories: Former Special Forces medic still helps indigenous people”Herald-Tribune, October 26, 2017.

Controversial Book on Aussie SF. The release of a book by an investigative reporter about Australian special forces in Afghanistan has sparked an intense debate within the Australian defense community. (ABC News, Oct 26, 2017).

Countering Russian Disinformation. The Soviets had a long history of using propaganda to soften the image of its repressive regime and to spread the ideology of communism around the world. Even though the Soviet Union has disappeared the habits of the Russians have not changed. Read how the U.S. countered Soviet propaganda and how we could formulate potential solutions for today’s disinformation challenges posed by the Russians. “Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda Efforts”Lawfare, October 25, 2017.

SEAL Testifies about Bergdahl. A Navy SEAL testified about a career-ending injury that occurred while on a mission to find and recover Beau Bergdahl in Afghanistan. See “Ex-Navy SEAL tears up recalling dog killed on Bergdahl hunt”New York Post, October 25, 2017.

Marine and SOCOM Integration. The Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command Board met to discuss how to improve joint training before deployment to conflict zones. Discussions included topics such as the SOF Liaison Element (part of the Amphibious Ready Group / Marine Expeditionary Unit), integration of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and developing joint concept across the range of military operations. (Inside Defense, Oct 25, 2017).

Afghan Commandos to Double in Size. Over 800 new Afghan Commandos graduated on Wednesday, October 25th from the 14-week Commando qualification and training course at Camp Morehead (Camp Commando). The Afghan government is trying to increase the size of the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) in an attempt to defeat the Taliban on the battlefield. Read “Hundreds of new commandos join Afghan military in US-backed security push”Stars and Stripes, October 25, 2017.

Burn-Out’ of SOF? Is the United States stretching its special operations forces too far? The fallout from the Niger mission has once again shown how widely deployed U.S. SOF units are engaged around the world. One editorial thinks we need to have a ‘significant discussion by our leaders in Washington’. Omaha World-Herald, October 25, 2017.

Why Are We in Niger? There is a plethora of articles that are either asking ‘why are we in Niger’ or explaining ‘why we are in Niger‘. Here is one more – “Why Is the United States in Niger, Anyway?“, Foreign Policy, October 25, 2017.

Why We Are in Niger? An attack in the Sahel region of Africa has focused the world’s attention on the terrorist problem in that region of the world and the U.S. response. But some folks are wondering why we have special operations forces there? Should we increase our funding of the G5 Sahel force through the United Nations? Read “The Case for the U.S. Mission in Niger”Bloomberg.com, October 26, 2017.

Navy SEAL Rape Case. Reports from West Coast newspapers indicate that a top Navy lawyer might have used unlawful influence to send an innocent Navy SEAL to prison. (San Diego Tribune, Oct 24, 2017).

AAF Gets More A-29s. The U.S. Air Force is going to get more A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan Air Force (AAF). The A-29s are a close air support aircraft ideally suited for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. Read more in a news report by DoD Buzz, October 26, 2017.

New Parachute Nav System. The new Parachute Navigation System (PARANVSYS) is being tested by Soldiers from the United States Army Special Forces Command (USASFC). (Global Defense News, Oct 26, 2017).

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