Special Operations News Update 20180328

Marines from Force Recon company board a ship in Guam. (Photo by CPL Carl King, 3rd Marine Division, March 21, 2018).
Marines from Force Recon company board a ship in Guam. (Photo by CPL Carl King, 3rd Marine Division, March 21, 2018).

SOF News Update 20180328 – GB Foundation’s “Honey Badger Classic”, Army’s new CSASS rifle, understanding Iran’s Guard Corps, an assessment of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, VR training, reducing mandatory training requirements, Netherland’s MoD White Paper, increasing basic trainng for Army, gender neutral physical fitness tests, Afghan ANCOP moves to MoD, and more.

“Honey Badger Classic”. The Green Beret Foundation held a fund-raising event which featured teams of shooters competing at a rifle range. One of the shooters was Nate Weber – a Green Beret who recently participated in the bob sled event at the Winter Olympics held in Korea. The purpose of the “Honey Badger Classic” was to raise money for the foundation but also to bring both veteran and active duty service members together to commune and share stories while enjoying some cold beers and barbecue glazed ribs. (Loma Beat, Mar 25, 2018).

Assessment of 2008 Russia-Georgia War. While the world was glued to its television sets watching the Olympics in August 2008 Russia invaded the country of Georgia securing a good slice of its territory. An understanding of this conflict offers important insights into the motivations that underpinned Russian annexation of Crimea and the way in which the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine has unfolded. Read “Analyzing the Russian Way of War: Evidence From the 2008 Conflict With Georgia”Modern War Institute at West Point, March 20, 2018.

Army’s New CSASS Rifle. The U.S. Army will begin fielding about 6,000 new G28E rifles manufactured by Heckler & Koch. The new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle will be showing up in the ranks before 2018 closes out. The weapon – referred to as the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) will use the 7.62mm SDMR which will provide infantry squads with the capability of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges out to 600 meters. Read “Army to Begin Fielding Thousands of Squad Marksman Rifles by Oct. 1”Military.com, March 23, 2018.

Virtual Reality Training. Head-mounted virtual reality (VR) displays will soon be able to cut costs for Army trainers by creating tightly engineered virtual environments that replace live role players, full-scale shoot houses, and make training activities more accessible to troops. Read “Virtual Reality Games Fuel a Military Training Revolution”, GOVTECH Works, February 8, 2017.

Increasing Basic Training for Army. The initial training for some Army military occupational specialties may increase by 7 weeks to 21 weeks. The idea is that the additional training will prepare newly minted Soldiers for a near-peer battlefield as soon as they join their new unit. See “The Army is taking a look at extending initial training for infantrymen”Army Times, March 27, 2018.

Afghan ANCOP Moves to MoD. The Afghan National Civil Order Police is moving out from under the Ministry of Interior to be under the control of the Ministry of Defense. According to Resolute Support HQs this move allows the MoI to focus its attention on the rule of law and strengthens the ability of the Army to secure the population. In the earlier years of the Afghan conflict the ANCOP kandaks were trained, advised, and assisted by U.S. Army Special Forces teams. Read “Ministry of Defense Takes Command of Police Unit”RS, March 27, 2018.

Reducing Mandatory Training Requirements. Last summer SECDEF Mattis outlined his thoughts on reducing burdensome training requirements that took up too much time. Hopefully the military services are making progress in that endeavor. Read “Just Painful: Pentagon Mulls Overhaul of Mandatory Training Policies”Military.com, March 26, 2018.

Gender Neutral Physical Fitness Tests. The Army is taking a hard look at how it measures physical fitness. That is all fine and good; but does it mean lowering the standards so that women can pass it? Read more in “As the Army turns to functional fitness testing, is the end of gender standards near?”Army Times, March 26, 2018.

Netherland’s MoD White Paper. The Ministry of Defence has published a defence white paper that provides a look at what the defence forces of the Netherlands will look like in the future. Not much info on SOF but still informative. (Netherland’s MoD, Mar 26, 2018).

Understanding Iran’s Guard Corps. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its secretive external operation branch – the Qods Force – has been active in Syria and Iraq the past several years. Amir Toumaj, a research analyst at the Foundation of Democracies, writes on the IRGC, its activities in Iraq, and one of its founding members – Shaban Nasiri. Read “Death of a General: What Shaban Nasiri Reveals About Iran’s Secretive Qods Force”War on the Rocks, March 23, 2018.

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