Special Operations News Update 20171030

10th Special Forces Group Soldiers riding a snowmobile during Winter Warfare training. (Photo from video by SSG William Reinier, 10th SFGA, Oct 25, 2017).
10th Special Forces Group Soldiers riding a snowmobile during Winter Warfare training. (Photo from video by SSG William Reinier, 10th SFGA, Oct 25, 2017).

SOF News Update 20171030 – USASFC honors JFK, JIDO fighting drones, Operation Barkhane (France), inside story on death of SEAL in Somalia, militant groups in Niger region, SOFWERX drone rodeo, Kurds vs. ISF, Bowe Bergdahl, hybrid war in Ukraine, Kenya’s insurgency, new spy museum, book about Extortion 17, new Army PT test, Afghan Commandos graduate hundreds, 2 SEALs suspected of murder of GB, Erick Prince’s plan for Afghanistan, SFABs and Green  Berets, and more.

Africa

Operation Barkhane. The media is full of reports about the recent deaths for four Special Forces Soldiers in Niger. This recent tragedy has highlighted the expansion of terrorist and insurgent groups in the trans-Sahel region of Africa and the U.S. response to that threat. Less well-known is how deeply involved the French are in the same region. Read more in “Operation Barkhane: France’s Counterterrorism Forces in Africa”The Atlantic, October 24, 2017. The French mission has been very active in recent weeks – “French army kills 15 Mali jihadists”News 24, Oct 26, 2017.

Two SEALs Under Suspicion of Murder of GB. Navy criminal authorities are investigating the death of an Army Green Beret in Mali who may have been strangled to death. Two Navy SEALs are “persons of interest”. See “2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali”The New York Times, October 29, 2017.

Money for Sahel Force – Not so Fast. The U.S. is reluctant to provide money to a United Nations fund for the Sahel force backed by the French. The troops come from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and Mauritania. Washington is asking what the Sahel force strategy is. France, with 4,000 troops in the region, is not happy with Washington. (Reuters, Oct 28, 2017).

Militant Groups in Niger Region. The Jamestown Foundation provides an analysis of the various militant groups that are operating in the Niger region. Read “The Attack on U.S. Special Forces in Niger: A Preliminary Assessment”, by Jacob Zenn, October 26, 2017.

Kenya’s Insurgency. Ever since Kenya took part in peacekeeping efforts in Somalia that nation has been targeted by al-Shabab. Now the terrorists have struck in the homeland and have ignited a low-level insurgency in the Muslim part of Kenya along the coast south of Somalia. It seems the Kenya military are having difficulty in the struggle. Read more in “How Kenya’s Failure to Contain an Islamist Insurgency is Threatening Regional Prosperity”Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, October 27, 2017.

Support Lacking for SOF in Africa. According to a recent news story 3rd Special Forces teams now operating in Africa have to adjust to a different environment than they got used to in Afghanistan. Read “Used to Afghanistan, Special Operators Suffer From Lack of Support in Africa”Foreign Policy, October 27, 2017.

The Death of Kyle Milliken (SEAL). Christina Golbaum writes a detailed account about the death of a Navy SEAL killed during an ‘advise and assist’ mission in Somalia. (The Daily Beast, Oct 26, 2017).

Afghanistan

Book on Extortion 17. A new book is coming out about the downing of Extortion 17 and loss of 30 Americans in August 2011. Extortion 17 was the call sign of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter downed by the Taliban in the Tangi Valley of Afghanistan by a rocket propelled grenade. Read a review of the book entitled The Final Mission of Extortion 17. (Shreveport News, Oct 26, 2017).

Afghan Commandos Graduate School. Over 800 Soldiers of the Afghan Army graduated from a 14-week Afghan-led special operations course held at Camp Morehead (Camp Commando) near Kabul. (DVIDS, Oct 25, 2017).

160th SOAR Crew Member Dies in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense identified CWO Jacob Sims as the crew member that died in a helicopter crash in Logar province, Afghanistan on Friday, October 27th. A Resolute Support HQs press releases stated that the crash was not due to enemy action and all other crew members and passengers are accounted for and receiving medical treatment.

Erik Prince’s Plan for Afghanistan. Prince, of Blackwater fame, says 2,000 Green Berets and 6,000 contractors could win the war in Afghanistan. “A Private Military”, The Ottawa Herald, October 26, 2017.

Middle East

Kurds vs ISF and PMU. The Iraqi Security Forces (with a little help from the PMU) are clashing with the Peshmerga in northern Iraq. The most recent location (as of Friday, Oct 27th) was northeast of Tal Afar and southeast of the Mosul Dam in the Zummar district of Ninewa governorate. See “Kurdish and Iraqi forces, militias clash in northern Iraq”Threat Matrix, October 26, 2017. On late Friday there were reports that a ceasefire may be in effect; but these later proved to be false. (VOA, Oct 27, 2017).

Miscellaneous

GB Wreath-Laying Ceremony. Each year the 1st Special Forces Command honors President John F. Kennedy in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington cemetery. This year’s event took place on Wednesday, October 25th. Read more in The Fayetteville Observer, October 26, 2017.

Drones Fighting Drones. The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Office (JIDO) is responding to the threat posed by drones employed by ISIS in Iraq (and possibly other places). Learn about their counter-drone programs currently under development in an article by Caroline Houck entitled “The Pentagon’s IED-Hunters Have a New Target: Drones”Defense One, October 26, 2017.

Hybrid War in Ukraine. A descriptive article about hybrid warfare in Ukraine is found in “The Poet Laureate of Hybrid War”Foreign Policy, October 26, 2017.

NY Spy Museum. A little cloak and dagger is coming up for New York City residents and visitors. SpyScape will soon open for business. Tickets are available now. https://spyscape.com

New Army PT Test. The Army has a possible replacement for the standard Physical Fitness Test – called the “Combat Readiness Test” or CRT. It isn’t a done deal yet. (Task & Purpose, Oct 25, 2017).

SOFWERX Drone Rodeo. The ThunderDrone Rapid Prototyping Rodeo will be starting on November 1st in Ybor City (Tampa, Florida). More than 20 teams of drone innovators will compete in the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) event. It is hoped that new technologies will emerge that can be integrated into USSOCOM’s drone program. Read “Drone rodeo showcases latest technology for SOCOM”, by Howard Altman, Tampa Bay Times, October 27, 2017.

 

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