SOF News Update 20180425 – WPS in Western Africa, CT mission in Yemen, Norwegian detained in Russia for espionage, Boko Haram, Somali army discord, Navy SEAL podcasts, JFQ – “By, With, and Through”, defense of the Baltic States, U.S. military in the 1990s, book review Marco Polo’s world, 26yh MEU Maritime Raid Force at KASOTC, SOCOM design way, SAS selection, SOF in Western Africa, and more.
Navy SEAL Podcasts. Want to know more about the Navy SEALs? Listen to some podcasts on earning a SEAL contract, mental toughness, how a mentor helps you train for NSW, how to train for NSW, and what a Navy SEAL or Navy SWCC is.
SAS Selection. A quick read on the selection process for the Special Air Service (UK). “This is what makes SAS selection the toughest in the world”, We Are the Mighty, April 24, 2018.
7th SFGA Soldier Shot in Home. Looks like 7th SFGA can’t catch a break. Another one of its members is in the news. Police shot 7th group member in the leg in his home. (WEARTV.com, April 24, 2018).
Maritime Raid Force at KASOTC. U.S. Marines assigned to the Maritime Raid Force, 26th MEU are taking part in training at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Jordan. (Marines.mil, Apr 24, 2018).
Paper – SOCOM Design Way. The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) has published a 138-page paper entitled Complexity, Organizational Blinders, and the SOCOM Design Way”,JSOU Report 18-3 , April 2018. Kind up high-brow stuff but someone out there might think it is interesting.
SOF Personnel Moves & Assignments
Officer Moves. Colonel Anthony Hale, Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command at FBNC has been promoted to BG (LTG Scottie Miller officiated) and will soon depart for Afghanistan where he will be the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the NATO RS mission. See “Hale promoted to Brigadier General”, Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, April 23, 2018.
Army Senior Enlisted Moves. CSM Abernathy of USASOC goes to US Army Europe, CSM Craig Bishop of 75th Ranger Regiment to CSM 1st ID, CSM Marc Eckard of SOCCENT to CSM USASOC, CSM Tom Sandoval of 10th SFGA to 1st SF Command, and CSM Billy Webb of 160th SOAR to CSM USASOAC. See “November 2017 Nominative Sergeants Major Assignments”, Army.mil, April 23, 2018.
LTG (Ret) Keith Kellogg. Vice President Mike Pence has a new national security advisor. He has been named to VP Pence’s team. Kellogg served as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces earlier in his army career. (Independent, Apr 24, 2018).
SOF in Western Africa. Special operators (like Col Brad Moses of 3rd SFGA) say that African terror groups could be future threat to the United States and we should assist the countries in North Africa and the Sahel increase their security capabilities. (Stars and Stripes, Apr 24, 2018).
WPS in Western Africa. A SOCAFRICA forum on women, peace, and security (WPS) is highlighted by Arnel David and Hilary Matfess in this article about integrating WPS into regional partnerships to increase the chances of success for CT operations in Western Africa. Read “Navigating Human Terrain with GPS (Gender, Peace, and Security) in Western Africa”, Real Clear Defense, April 23, 2018.
Somali Army Discord. So now we have reports of rival factions of the Somali army shooting at each other. The UAE has discontinued a training program in Somalia – and it seems the base where the training took place has some equipment desired by different elements of the Somali army. Read “Rival groups from Somali army clash at former UAE training facility”, Reuters, April 23, 2018.
Another Campaign Against Boko Haram. Nigeria is mounting yet another military operation to clear the remaining militants from its northeast region and around the Lake Chad area. The nine-year long insurgency has proven to be resilient. Six army brigades will deploy into the Borno state where the insurgents remain active. Operation LAST HOLD is designed to destroy Boko Haram terrorist camps and strongholds. Read “Nigeria announces military operation to rout Boko Haram”, Anadolu Agency (Turkey), April 21, 2018.
CT Mission in Yemen. Alexandra Gutowski, a senior military affairs analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes about the complexities of the U.S. counterterrorism mission in Yemen. Read “The Senate’s Blind Spot on Terrorism in Yemen”, Real Clear Defense, April 23, 2018.
ME and CT. The Islamc State, al; Qaeda, and other jihadist groups are reorganizing, changing TTPs, and will remain a challenge for years or decades to come. Read more in “Counterterrorism Yearbook 2018: the Middle East”, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, April 24, 2018.
IS in New Phase. The Islamic State has released a message that states the organization is in a ‘new phase’ of its struggle. It says that the US will be withdrawing from Syria and Iraq after ‘being exhausted’ and that the new enemy will be Russia and Iran. (FDD’s Long War Journal, Apr 24, 2018).
NATO (and the Russian Bear)
Shades of “Occupied”. The use of hybrid warfare by Russia against northern and east European countries is depicted in a Norwegian TV series called occupied. Season 2 is currently running on Netflix. It is well worth watching. A recent example of the intrigue taking place in this region is the detention of a Norwegian in Russia suspected of espionage. Read more in “Norwegian detainee in Russia was courier for spy service”, Reuters, April 22, 2018.
Baltic States, Russian Threat, and . . . Trump. Since the annexation of Crimea by Russia Eastern and Northern Europe has an increased level of concern of their big neighbor. The Baltic States have all picked up the pace of modernizing and restructuring their military forces. Read more in “Developments in Baltic Defense since Trump Took Office”, Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 17, 2018.
Australia – a Close NATO Ally. The NATO Secretary General and Prime Minister of Australia recently met to discuss how the Alliance and Australia can further strengthen their close partnership. (NATO, Apr 24, 2018).
Security Force Assistance (SFA)
Joint SFA Command? A former rule of law advisor to the Afghan security institutions writes on the need for a joint effort in the SFA world. Read “Why Not a Joint Security Force Assistance Command?”, Joint Force Quarterly 89, April 2018.
Not SOF News – But Still of Interest
Book Review – The Return of Marco Polo’s World. According to Robert D. Kaplan, author of a new book, Eurasia will become the pivot point of geopolitical power in the coming decades. The U.S. needs to have a less interventionist posture yet still remain a world leader. Read a review of Kaplan’s book in “Searching for Scythians on the New Silk Road: Robert Kaplan’s Moder-Day Realism”, War on the Rocks, April 23, 2018.
New Airborne Ruck. A new rucksack has been designed for airborne operations. It incorporates features from the ALICE and MOLLE systems. The Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment 4000 is designed for airborne troops but can be used by other infantry units as well. Read more in “New Airborne ruck for paratroopers goes to the 82nd this year”, Army Times, April 23, 2018.
“By, With, and Through” – The 2nd Quarter, April 2018 edition of Joint Force Quarterly published by the National Defense University Press has a series of articles about how the US military must work with greater efficiency and effectiveness with partners utilizing a BWT approach.
Mandatory Training – Going Away. In an effort to cut the administrative burden on Army troops some of the mandatory training is being cut. These include “Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS)”, “Media Awareness Training”, and “Combating Trafficking in Persons Training”. (Army Times, Apr 24, 2018).
History of U.S. Military Operations in the 1990s. Fresh off the quick victory in Iraq with DESERT STORM the U.S. quickly found itself engaging in another type of military operation – a humanitarian assistance mission called PROVIDE COMFORT. The remainder of the 1990s would see the U.S. engage in a number of operations that could be classified as peacekeeping, peace enforcement, or humanitarian. Read more in “The Military as Peacemakers and Enforcers: Military Operations Other Than War in the 1990s”, Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 23, 2018.
Photo Credit. Navy Special Warfare, 2018.