Special Operations News Update 20171130

African students conduct riverine boat training at NAVSCIATTS. (Photo by Michael Bottoms, USSOCOM, November 16, 2017).
African students conduct riverine boat training at NAVSCIATTS. (Photo by Michael Bottoms, USSOCOM, November 16, 2017 - see more details at bottom of article).

SOF News Update 20171130 – ASSF seize explosives, SOF in Africa, Erik Prince in the news, Larry Thorne, Afghan NMUs, Air Observer published, NAVSCIATTS, fun video on Special Forces training pipeline, Lake Chad Basin Initiative, “overextension” of U.S. SOF, former CIA official on U.S. missions in Africa, ALP to ATF, Special Forces cook convicted of fraud committed in Afghanistan, and more.

ASSF Seize Explosives. According to a short news release by the NATO Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) seized over 1,000 pounds of explosives during night raids in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in late November. (DVIDS, Nov 30, 2017).

Story of Larry Thorne. A native of Finland has quite a military past. He joined the Finnish Army in 1938 just before the Soviet Union invaded his country. He would later fight against the Soviets while in the German Army. After WWII he joined the U.S. Army Special Forces – and died in Vietnam. Read “The US Special Forces Major who fought in the SS”War History Online,  November 30, 2017.

Air Observer Published by 137th SOW. The biannual issue of Air Observer137th Special Operations Wing of the is now online.

Erik Prince in the News. The former Navy SEAL and founder of Blackwater has a plan for stemming the tide of migrants from North Africa into Southern Europe. Read “Blackwater founder pitches plan to quell Libya migrant crisis with private police”The Guardian, November 30, 2017.

Fun Video about SF Training Standards Slipping at FBNC. An NCO recently wrote a detailed email and broadcast it to lots of folks. The email criticized recent changes to the Special Forces training pipeline that allegedly lowers the bar for graduation. It seems the author of the email thinks that SOF Truth #2 no longer applies. A funny video has emerged on the topic in “Hitler changing SF standards”Caption Generator, Nov 2017.

ALP to ATF. U.S. Army Special Forces (and other SOF units) were instrumental in establishing and training the Afghan Local Police (ALP). A new initiative of the Afghan government is to establish an ALP-like force. The ALP is part of the Ministry of Interior (MoI); however, the new force – the Afghan Territorial Army – would fall under the Ministry of Defense (MoD). One retired U.S. Army Colonel has some thoughts on this topic. Read “Reinventing the Wheel in Afghanistan (To Keep the Cash Flowing)”The Daily Caller, November 29, 2017.

Afghan NMUs. The Afghan National Mission Units of the General Command of Special Police Units (GCSPU) has 48 new members. The recent graduates of the Special Police Training Wing – South in Logar province concluded their 8-week long course in late November. The three NMUs of the MoI are located in Kabul, Logar, and Kandahar provinces. Three additional NMUs will be established in Kunduz, Herat, and Nangarhar provinces by 2020. Read more in “National Mission Units grow the force”DVIDS, November 27, 2017.

SF Cook Committed Fraud in Afghanistan. A cook from the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group was convicted of fraud for activities in Afghanistan. He and another cook would over-order food at a dining facility at Camp Dyer, Afghanistan. The excess food would then be smuggled to a local bazaar off base for sale on the black market. (Stars and Stripes, Nov 30, 2017).

SOF in Africa. Nick Turse provides us with a glimpse of U.S. special operations forces in Africa. According to Turse SOF is currently operating in 33 different African countries. Read “The Next Niger”Vice News, November 29, 2017.

Former CIA Official on Africa Mission. Frank Archibald, a retired CIA senior official – he headed up the National Clandestine Service – gives us his perspective on the U.S. foreign policy goals in Africa as well as the mission to degrade violent extremist organizations in the Sahel Maghreb and containing instability in North Africa. Read “U.S. Follows Forever War to Niger”The Cipher Brief, November 30, 2017.

“Overextension” of US SOF. Time Magazine has published an article about the “. . . dangerous overextension of the nation’s Special Operations force . . .” by William J. Hennigan. Read The New American Way of War”Time, November 30, 2017.

Photo Credit. More info on the photo at top of the article is available here. The Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) is located on Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. NAVSCIATTS is working through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership to facilitate training for members of military units from countries in the Lake Chad Basin region of Africa. The training received by the international students at NAVSCIATTS will be followed with in-country training from mobile training teams from US AFRICOM and SOCAFRICA.

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