Special Operations News Update 20180420

Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service CTS

SOF News Update 20180420 – Aussie SAS now Chief of the Defence Force, Niger suspect detained, 7th SFGA Soldier arrested for murder, Adm James Stavridis on Syria, CSOR in Africa, Jamaica’s CSTC, COL (Ret) Dnny McKnight, Eager Lion 2018, SF Vietnam veteran shares his story, NYPD’s CT unit trains with GCPSU NMUs, 10th SFGA trains with 4th CAB, CT in North Africa, Central Asian militants, Nigeria and Boko Haram, Niger investigation, Commando Hall of Honor, Russian PMCs, and more.

International SOF

Aussie SAS Member gets Promotion.  Lieutenant General Angus Campbell is announced as Australia’s next Chief of the Defence Force. He was a Troop Leader and Squadron OC with the SAS.  Read “Angus Campbell: soldier, public servant . . . and survivor” The Sunday Morning Herald, April 16, 2018.

Jamaica’s CSTC. The Caribbean Special Tactics Center was officially opened at the Jamaica Defence Force Moneague Training Camp. Canada financed the project to the tune of $2.5 million. The main focus of the CSTC will be on special tactics and operational readiness. The Canadian CSOR is involved in the training. (Ottawa Citizen, Apr 16, 2018).

India’s Female Commando Trainer. Dr. Seema Ray is a commando trainer, an instructor in martial arts, specializes in CQB, target shoots, SCUBA dives, free falls, and mountain climbs. (Gulf News, April 18, 2018).

Combat Boat Mk.1 for Italian SOF. The Italian Navy may be acquiring the FSD 150 Combat Boat for it’s special operations forces. See “DSA 2108: FSD Unveils its Combat Boat for Special Forces” Navy Recognition, April 16, 2018.

NYPD’s CT Unit Trains with Afghan GCPSU NMUs. The New York Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism Unit spent some time with the Afghan Ministry of Interior’s General Command Police Special Unit. The policemen from NYC shared their expertise and experiences in homeland city operations with the Critical Response Unit 222 in Kabul. Read more in “NYPD Shares Best Practices in the Fight Against Terrorism”RS HQs DVIDS, April 11, 2018.


Commando Hall of Honor Inductees. The United Special Operations Command inducted six new members to the Commando Hall of Honor. USSOCOM Cdr Tony Thomas presided over the ceremony honoring Maj Ambrozak, Gen Brown, Capt Heron, Col Kornitzer, Gen McChrystal,and MG Rudder.  (USSOCOM, Apr 19, 2018).

10th SFGA Trains with 4th CAB. The Green Berets of the 10th SFGA recently conducted MEDEVAC training with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson, CO. (10th SFGA DVIDS, Apr 2, 2018).

7th Group Soldier Arrested for Murder. Derek McKinney has been charged with the murder after he allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife. (News Herald, Apr 16, 2018).

Best Ranger Competition. Two NCOs from Fort Benning took first place in competition held at Fort Benning. The two Ranger instructors beat out 50 other 2-man teams. (Army Times, April 17, 2018).

U.S. SOF and ASSF hit IS-K in Northern Afghanistan. Afghan Special Security Forces working with U.S. SOF have been inflicting some damage on Islamic State fighters in northern Afghanistan. Read “Afghan and U.S. Special Operations Decimate IS-K in Northern Afghanistan” NSOCC-A DVIDS, April 15, 2018.

SF Vietnam Vet Shares His Story. William “Bill” Albracht was awarded three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, and five Bronze Stars for his service in Vietnam. Read “Vietnam War commander shares heroic story of resilience”DVIDS, April 16, 2018.

Middle East


3rd Cav Heading to Iraq. The Department of the Army announced that the 3rd Cavalry Regiment – the Brave Rifles – based at Fort Hood, Texas will be deploying to Iraq this spring. (Army.mil, Apr 18, 2018).

Adm James Stavridis on Syria. The retired admiral weighs in on possible options for the U.S. if Assad continues to use chemical weapons. Read “James Stavridis: Mission Accomplished is possible in Syria” The Fayetteville Observer, April 17, 2018.

Number of Contractors in Syria. The Pentagon has reported for the first time the number of contractors that are employed in Syria. (Military Times, Apr 17, 2018).

Eager Lion 2018. A large exercise held in Jordan has commenced. The two-week event will test the training audience’s ability to plan and conduct CT and other SOF related operations. (CENTCOM DVIDS, Apr 15, 2018).


Flintlock 2018 - Senegal Soldiers

Photo: Senegal soldiers train during the Flintlock 2018 exercise in Tahoua, Niger (photo by SGT Heather Doppke, April 17, 2018).

Flintlock 2018 Video – Senegalese. Watch a 30-second video of Senegalese troops conducting a react to contact drill. (U.S. Africa Command, Apr 14, 2018).

Flintlock 2018 Video – Logistics. LTC Matthew Miller, a logistics planner with Special Operations Command Africa, talks about the importance of logistics during Flintlock 2018 in this two-minute long video. (U.S. Africa Command, Apr 14, 2018).

SOCAfrica Cdr “Growing African Terror Threat”. The new commander of Special Operations Command Africa MG Marcus Hicks (I remember him as an LtCol w/ 14th Wpns Sqdn) says that ISIS and al Qaeda represent major threats and are growing in strength in West Africa. (CNN Politics, Apr 19, 2018).

Col (Ret) Danny McKnight. An officer who participated in the 15-hour battle in Mogadishu, Somalia over 25 years ago stays active in veterans affairs. He recently spoke at a Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony. Read “The Battle of Mogadishu Still at Forefront of Retired Col. Danny McNight’s Mind” ERAU.edu, April 17, 2018.

Nigeria and Boko Haram and Tactics. The U.S. seems to think that the Nigerian military is approaching the problem of the insurgent / terrorist group with a ‘conventional mindset’. Read more in “US urges Nigeria to change tactics against Boko Haram” News 24, April 18, 2018.

CSOR (Canada) in Africa Exercise. The Canadian Special Operations Regiment or CSOR is participating in Flintlock 2018 – a U.S. SOF run exercise in Africa. Read “Canadian special forces from Petawawa in Africa to train troops”National Post, April 17, 2018.

Niger Suspect Detained. It is believed that a militant leader who was the subject of a search by an SF patrol in Niger in October has been detained by the Nigerien military. Four members of the patrol were killed in an ambush during the operation. Read “Niger may have arrested militant with ties to ambush that killed 4 US soldiers”Military Times, April 17, 2018.

Niger SF Mission Investigation Complete. In October 2017 four members of the 3rd Special Forces Group died in an ambush in Niger. SOCAfrica, AFRICOM, and DoD has completed an investigation. The results of the Article 15-6 will be briefed to the families of the deceased soldiers. (Military.com, Apr 19, 2018).

CT in North Africa. Peace and security across North Africa is being threatened by Salafi-jihadi terrorism, armed conflict, poor governance, and porous borders. Nations across the Maghreb continue to pursue independent counterterrorism (CT) efforts with much development of multilateral regional CT initiatives. Read more in “Counterterrorism Yearbook 2018: North Africa”The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), April 18, 2018.

Other International News

Central Asian Militants. There is no lack of news about jihadist organizations around the world. Central Asia is one area that doesn’t get much news on this front yet still has a simmering problem. Islamist extremism in this region is fueled by authoritarian leadership, corruption, and relative lack of economic opportunity. The countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan have seen about 4,000 of their citizens fight in Iraq and Syria on behalf of the Islamic State. Read more in “IntelBrief: Islamist Extremism in Central Asia”Soufan Center IntelBrief, April 18, 2018.

Russian PMCs. The death of about 200 Russian ‘contractors’ when they attacked and installation where a U.S SF detachment was located hit the news for a bit. So who are these guys? The ‘contractors’? Read “War, Business, and ‘Hybrid Warfare: The Case of the Wagner Private Military Company” Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 19, 2018.


Photo Credit: Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service CTS, photo by PFC Anthony Zendejas, CJTF-OIR, April 4, 2018.

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