Special Operations News Update 20180406

A Canine Explosive Detection Team of the U.S. Coast Guard conducts hoist training with MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and CG boat crew. (Photo PO 3rd Class Ryan Dickinson, USCG, March 29, 2018).
A Canine Explosive Detection Team of the U.S. Coast Guard conducts hoist training with MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and CG boat crew. (Photo PO 3rd Class Ryan Dickinson, USCG, March 29, 2018).

SOF News Update 20180406 – An explanation of Iraq’s PMF, 2018 SOF imperatives, in or out in Syria, Germany ends Somalia training mission, U.S. SOF trains with Serbian SAJ, 10th SFGA hosts JROTC cadets, HALO jumps, building African infrastructure, SOF armored pickups, USSOCOM conference on disinformation and social media, profile of CEO for Black Rifle Coffee, SOCOMs STAMP aircraft fleet, SOF officer news, and more.

Explanation of Iraq’s PMFs. The Popular Mobilization Forces or PMF is an umbrella organization of some 50 paramilitary groups in Iraq. The PMF has evolved from being a temporary militia to a permanent organization with a legitimate institutional presence that plays a role in politics, the economy, as well as internal security. Renad Mansour, a research fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani provides us with a detailed update on the PMF in “More Than Militias: Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Are Here to Stay”War on the Rocks, April 3, 2018.

2018 SOF Imperatives. The Global SOF Foundation has outlined the Special Operations Forces Imperatives for 2018. The foundation provides a document (4-page PDF) outlining the recommended priorities and actions needed to ensure that U.S. and partner SOF are capable and affordable instruments in safeguarding our security.

USSOCOM Conference on Disinformation and Social Media. The United States Special Operations Command held a conference in New York City in March 2018. The agenda of the conference was to understand how disinformation can spread quickly through exponentially expanding media platforms. The “Sovereign Challenge Conference” was attended by over 100 individuals from 43 countries. Read more in “USSOCOM hosts 16th Sovereign Challenge Conference”, April 2, 2018.

Profile of CEO for Black Rifle Coffee. Former Green Beret Evan Hafer is now a coffee brew master and head of a firm that grosses over $30 million annually. Learn more about this SOF entrepreneur. (Forbes.com, Apr 5, 2018).

In or Out in Syria? President Trump has indicated our mission in Syria is over; but others (senior military leaders and other government officials) say the hard work of ‘stabilization’ has just begun. Apparently Trump has agreed to keep troops in Syria long enough ‘to finish the job’ but they will leave once the mission is complete. Read an analysis of the situation in “In or Out? Mixed Signals from Trump Administration on Syria”The Cipher Brief, April 4, 2018.

SOF Officer Moves and News. Jeremy Bartel (SF) of SOCEUR has pinned on an eagle with his recent promotion. MG James Jarrard, currently commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force – OIR will soon be director of operations at USSOCOM. MG James Linder, currently commander of the SOJTF-A/NSOCC-A (Afghanistan) is going to be the chief of staff at USSOCOM. BG Richard Angle, currently deputy commanding general at 1st Special Forces Command, will be the deputy commanding general (operations) for the U.S. Army Cyber Command. BG Jonathan Braga, currently director, CJ3, CJTF-OIR is heading to the 82nd Airborne Division. BG Christopher Donahue, currently commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School, is going to be deputy director for special operations and counter-terrorism, J-3, Joint Staff. See “General Officer Assignments”DoD News Release, April 4, 2018.

SOF Armored Pickups. When deployed to third world countries U.S. special operations forces sometimes use locally procured vehicles or vehicles that are common to the region. Generally these vehicles will see a major refit to customize it for SOF operations. Read “How U.S. Special Forces Get Their Armored Pickups”Popular Mechanics, April 5, 2018.

SOCOM’s STAMP Aircraft. United States Special Operations Command has a fleet of aircraft that offer an organic ISR capability directly to special operators. Read “These Secretive US SpecOps Spy Planes Are Getting New Sensors and Anti-GPS Jamming Gear”The WarZone, April 5, 2018.

Right and Wrong Steps in Syria (and Iraq). Anthony Cordesman, a veteran observer of conflicts and international affairs, has penned some commentary on the correct way forward in the Middle East. He warns that ISIS and terrorism are not defeated and that it is a dangerous mistake to assume that withdrawal from Syria can come soon. Read “Taking All the Wrong Steps in Syria, Iraq, and the Fight Against Terrorism”Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 4, 2018.

What Does the U.S. Want in Syria? If you are perplexed as to what the United States wants in Syria then you are not alone. The White House says troops will stay to defeat ISIS (please explain defeat to me) and not one day longer. Senior government officials and military officers are talking about the importance of ‘stabilization’. Hmmm. Read “It’s Really Hard to Say What the U.S. Wants in Syria” The Atlantic, April 4, 2018.

Rationale for HALO Jumps. If you don’t know anything about High Altitude Low Opening parachutes jumps then this very short explainer will help out. “The Risks of Making Combat HALO Jumps”We are the Mighty, April 4, 2018.

10th SFGA Hosts JROTC Cadets. Members of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps spent a day touring 10th Group facilities and received some interesting hands on instruction on weapons systems, the MC-6 parachute trainer, and the daily work routine of SF Soldiers. Read “JROTC Cadets spend a day in the life of Active Duty Soldiers”10th SFGA (DVIDS), April 3, 2018.

U.S. SOF Trains with Serbian SAJ. Special Operations Units (U.S.) recently conducted a training mission with the Serbian Special Antiterrorist Unit (SAJ) during a JCET in March 2018. The Joint Combined Exchange Training was designed to give U.S. SOF an opportunity to conduct combined training with the Serbian SAJ in order to sharpen and enhance both the U.S. SOF and host-nation skills. Read “U.S. Special Operations Forces bring elite training to Serbia”Special Operations Command Europe (DVIDS), March 15, 2018.

Germany Ends Somalia Training Mission. The armed forces of Germany have completed the withdrawal of military personnel and equipment from Somalia according to a post on the Bundeswehr website. The increased security risks (are things not going well?) in Somalia played a role in Berlin’s decision not to extend the deployment of soldiers in the EU-led training mission. Germany had about a dozen military personnel within the European Union Training Mission.

Building African Infrastructure. One writer believes that helping American companies invest in Africa’s infrastructure and promoting development will go a long ways towards aiding the security and development missions of United States government. Read Rathna Muralidharan’s piece “To Support Africa, Build Infrastructure”Real Clear Defense, April 5, 2018.


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