Special Operations News Update 20180316

Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) await extraction at helicopter PZ (photo SORB, Jan 2017).
Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) await extraction at helicopter PZ (photo SORB, Jan 2017).

SOF News Update 20180316 – training for some NG units increases, helmet cams – under review, books about British generals, “Fortress Sweden”, Special Forces Charitable Trust YouTube.com, pseudo aid workers in Syria, war on terror in the Philippines, more resources for SOCEUR, Niger SF mission, “Close Combat Lethality Task Force”, MARSOC growth, and more.

NG Units Get More Training. The Army National Guard has developed a refined training program that will require more training days for some NG units. See “Some Soldiers may not be able to handle new pace of training, Guard chief says”Army Times, March 14, 2018.

Books About British Generals. Two new books about British generals in command over the past two decades are reviewed by Major General Chris Field of the Australian Army. He is currently Vice Director of Operations at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida. He reviews British Generals in Blair’s War and High Command – British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. (The Cove, March 14, 2018).

Special Forces Charitable Trust – YouTube.com. The SFCT has a YouTube channel where it features videos about its work on behalf of Green Berets and their families.

Niger SF Mission – Vehicle & Wpns Recovered. Initial news reports say that a Toyota vehicle, sniper rifle, and small machine gun were recovered by authorities in Mali. The equipment was captured by insurgents in the fall of 2017 when it ambushed a joint Nigerien and U.S. Special Forces patrol; killing four Americans and five Nigeriens. Read “Tuareg alliance claims recovery of US Special Forces vehicle from Niger ambush”Threat Matrix, March 14, 2018.

Dec 2017 Niger Firefight. In December Green Berets, alongside Nigerien counterparts, engaged in a firefight with Islamic State militants – killing 11 of them. No Americans or Nigeriens were killed in the clash. See “U.S. Kept Silent About Its Role in Another Firefight in Niger”The New York Times, March 14, 2018.

MARSOC Growth. The Marines want to increase the number of combat support and combat service support personnel in its ranks. Read about the training these support personnel go through to become a member of the “Marine Raider” organization. “Faced with MARSOC shortages, the Corps boosts budget request”Marine Times, March 14, 2018.

“Fortress Sweden”. Sweden has been known for its neutrality for decades; going back to WW II. During the Cold War Sweden took the middle course – declining to take part in the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations. However, lately the country has been stepping up. It has played a role in the NATO response to the Afghan conflict – providing troops for a number of years (usually to northern Afghanistan). Now, with an ever increasing aggressive Russia threatening Eastern and Northern Europe, Sweden is taking steps to up its defensive posture. Read more in “Fortress Sweden: Inside the Plan to Mobilize Swedish Society Against Russia”Defense News, March 14, 2018.

Close Combat Lethality Task Force. The DoD has a task force that is laser-focused on capabilities, policies, and doctrine that will allow close-combat squads to overmatch any opposing foe. Aspects of this study include new technology, lightening the combat load for the individual infantryman, and more. Read “Infantry Task Force Looks to Overmatch Potential Foes”DoD Media Activity, March 14, 2018.

More Resources for SOCEUR. About $15 million will be spent to improve working conditions and training facilities for special operations forces conducting missions in the Baltic States. The Pentagon’s 2019 budget calls for establishing facilities in Estonia. Since 2014 SOCEUR has been working with the Baltics to improve local militaries. Read more in “US special ops to get a boost for Baltic mission”Stars and Stripes, March 14, 2018.

War on Terror in the Philippines. For years the U.S. military (principally through it’s SOF personnel from SOCPAC, 1st SFGA, and 19th SFGA) provided assistance to the Philippine military in its fight against insurgent groups. In 2015 this counterterrorism mission was down-sized significantly. The insurgents picked up the pace – seizing the Muslim-majority city of Marawi and holding it for five months. In September 2017 the U.S. resumed its counterterrorism mission in that country. Read more in “What to Expect in the New American ‘War on Terror’ in the Philippines”Small Wars Journal, March 14, 2018.

Pseudo Aid Workers in Syria. Jihadist have been using humanitarian aid organizations and convoys to bring money and personnel into Syria. Read “The trouble telling aid workers and foreign fighters apart”BBC News, March 15, 2018.

Helmet Cams – Under Review. Military leaders are now considering new guidelines for the use of helmet cams on the battlefield. The deadly ambush of a Special Forces patrol in Niger that resulted in a video falling into the hands of ISIS has prompted the review. “Military Reviews Rules for Helmet Cams after Niger Attack”Military Times, March 13, 2018.


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