SOF News Update 20180330 – video on top five SOF units, At War blog returns, dangers of ‘proxy wars’, UK’s ‘no comment’ policy on SOF, 3/3rd SFG cdr on Africa, TV documentary on ‘Operation Hot Pursuit’, Vietnam SF Vet recounts 3 tours, U.S. SOF in 149 countries, SEAL canines, throwing out the BS flag on Gen Dunford, Australian BPC seminar, all about the MC-130J, 1st SFG wins sniper competition, columnist laments DoD’s policy of keeping SOF missions secret, SOCOM’s STAMP ISR aircraft, SOFWERX and drones, and more.
Video – Top 5 SOF Units. Watch a 7-minute long video (published in 2015) about the top five special operations units in the world. The Polish Grom comes in at number 5. See “Top 5 Most Feared Special Forces in the World”, Armed Forces Weekly, March 26, 2018.
Dangers of Proxy Wars. C. Anthony Pfaff (research professor for at the U.S. Army War College) and Patrick Granfield (lecturer at Georgetown University) collaborate on an article about the U.S. support to proxy groups engaged in conflict and the possible negative outcomes of that support in “How (Not) to Fight Proxy Wars”, The National Interest, March 27, 2018.
SEAL Canines on Exhibit. The Navy SEAL Museum has a special program called the Frogman Foundry that showcases the U.S. Navy SEALs. From time to time they showcase SEAL canine capabilities in action. (TC Palm.com, Mar 23, 2018).
SOFWERX and Drones. A Tampa, Florida-based organization is calling on drone experts to take part in rapid prototyping events. One such event is ThunderDrone. Recently 246 participants representing 91 companies showcased their capabilities and technologies. Read “U.S. Special Ops Look to Drone Racers for Next Battlefield Advantage”, Real Clear Life, March 30, 2018.
All About the MC-130J. Read an account of airmen working on board a MC-130J Commando II. The work routine, mission set, and more from a crew of the 353rd Special Operations Group based at Kadena Air Base in Japan. (Defense News, Mar 29, 2018).
SOF Demo in Tampa. There will be a demonstration of SOF equipment and capabilities held in conjunction with the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) scheduled in May 2018. Read “International commandos to show off capabilities in Tampa again in May”, Tampa Bay Times, March 30, 2018.
Columnist Not Happy with SOF Secrets. Bonnie Kristian, a fellow at Defense Priorities and journalist, isn’t happy that the DoD is keeping secrets about SOF activities in Niger. See “The Pentagon’s Secret, Permanent Wars”, Real Clear Defense, March 30, 2018.
SOCOM’s STAMP ISR Aircraft. The United States Special Operations Command is upgrading its fleet of aerial intelligence collection aircraft. The aircraft are used as ISR SOCOM Tactical Airborne Multi-Sensor Platforms (STAMP). Read more in “Special Operations: STAMP of Secrecy”, Strategy Page, March 30, 2018.
1st SFG wins Sniper Competition. A sniper team from the 1st Special Forces Group won the United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition held at FBNC. More than 40 SOF teams competed from around the world. The competition consisted of 22 events over five days and four nights. The event was physically and mentally challenging. The USAJFKSWCS hosted the competition. International SOF teams from Germany, Netherlands, France, Singapore, Ireland, and Italy also competed. (1st SFGA DVIDS, Mar 29, 2018).
Throwing Out the BS Flag on Gen Dunford. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently returned from Afghanistan where he says he is ‘encouraged’ by what he has seen during his trip and where he talks up the “fundamentally different” strategy of advising and assisting the Afghan security forces. One Marine veteran familiar with the advise and assist mission takes issue with his statements – saying things are not getting better in Afghanistan and that we have done the SFA mission for a few years now. Nothing is different. Read Paul Szoldra’s column in “Does Gen. Dunford Actually Believe His Own Bullsh-t?”, Task & Purpose, March 29, 2018.
U.S. SOF in 149 Countries. Is military intervention taking the place of diplomacy in the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs? Quite possibly. Monica Duffy Toft of the Center for Strategic Studies, Fletcher School, Tufts University seems to think so. Read “U.S. Has Special Forces in 149 Countries and Ambassadors in 144”, AllGov.com, March 27, 2018.
3/3rd SFG Cdr on Africa. LTC Kent Solheim, the commander of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group is interviewed by the CTC Sentinel (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point) about his time in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. (CTC, March 2018).
Vietnam Vet Remembers His Three Tours. A SF vet from the 1950s and 1960s recounts his time in Vietnam. The first two tours was working for the CIA training Montagnards. His third tour was working with Chinese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese mercenaries. (Blue Ridge Now, Mar 28, 2018).
UK’s ‘No Comment’ Policy on SOF. The United Kingdom is very closed-mouthed about the activities of its special operations forces. In light of the Niger investigation some think that the Brits need to have a re-look at this policy. Abigail Watson, a research officer at the Oxford Research Group’s Remote Warfare Programme, is one who believes that the UK no-comment policy is not risk free and presents a number of dangers to the effectiveness of the U.K. military engagements abroad. Of course she would – just have a look at the website of the organization she works for! Read her article in “Special Forces Opacity: Dangers for the U.K.”, Real Clear Defense, March 28, 2018.
TV Documentary on ‘Operation Hot Pursuit’. In 2015 the Indian Army sent in a Paratrooper Special Forces in to trace attackers along the India Myanmar Border after an attack on an Indian convoy where 18 Indian soldiers died. History TV 18 will present the true story of the attack and resulting ‘secret’ SOF operation that followed. Read “Paraolon ambush story to be told on HISTORY TV18”, The Sangi Express, March 27, 2018.
At War Blog Returns. The New York Times has brought back a military blog that introduced some of today’s national security correspondents to the art of writing. At War was around for several years before it died off; but now it is back again. Read “The ‘Renegade’ Blog That Brought More Veterans Into the Media Is Back”, Task & Purpose, March 27, 2018.
Australian BPC Seminar. A Building Partner Capacity seminar will be held on Tuesday, April 17th in Australia. (The Cove).
Photo Credit: USAF pararescueman parachutes over Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan after exiting in MFF from a C-130J Super Hercules. (photo Tech Sgt Gregory Brook, AFCENT PA, March 23, 2018).