Special Operations News Update 20180614

A MA NG SF soldier of 20th SFG practices stalking and surveillance techniques on June 9, 2018 at Joint Base Cape Cod, Ma.

SOF News Update 20180614 – Hybrid threats in a maritime environment, Google and SOF, is drone ‘blowback’ a myth, utility of war gaming, a warrior class, Blackbeard’s Ride, U.S. Army’s vision, and more.

SOF News

Google and SOF. Employees of Google balked at the notion that the firm they worked for would participate in work for the U.S. military. Guess that’s a bad thing. However, Google has been actively pitching its artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to the SOF community – most recently at the Special Operations Force Industry Conference held in Tampa, Florida. Read more in “Here’s How Google Pitched AI Tools to Special Operators Last Month”Defense One, June 10, 2018.

8th Annual Blackbeard’s Ride. In November 2009 SSG Matt Pucino of ODA 2223 lost his life in Afghanistan. The SSG Mattew A. Pucino Memorial Foundation, Ltd. was created to assist military heroes. The 8th Annual Blackbeard’s Ride will take place on Saturday, July 14th, 2018 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Warrior Class. The very long Global War on Terror (GWOT) is exhibiting very little signs of subsiding. It appears to be spreading beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, etc. to other regions of the world. To combat the spread and growth of terrorist organizations the U.S. has relied on drones and SOF. Some observers worry that we have created a warrior class. Read more in “Have We Created a Small Class of Killers?”Task and Purpose, June 11, 2018.

Military News Update

Hybrid Threats in a Maritime Environment. A hybrid approach to conflict lowers the political price for aggression – making regime change, territorial annexation, and achievement of political goals possible ‘on the cheap’. This approach applies to conflict in the maritime environment as well. There are many aspects of the maritime world vulnerable to hybrid threats – commercial, cyber, energy, communications, and more. Read up on this topic in “Countering Hybrid Threats in the Maritime Environment”Center for International Security, June 11, 2018.

Drone ‘Blowback’ – Is it a Real Thing? A primary tool of the United States in the fight against terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan is the use of armed drones. Aqil Shah of the University of Oklahoma has done some research on this topic and presents an alternative narrative in “Drone Blowback: Much Ado about Nothing?”Lawfare, June 10, 2018.

Utility of War Gaming. Decades ago, during the Cold War, a firm called Strategy & Tactics offered a monthly magazine (subscription) about war gaming and the history of warfare. Included in the monthly magazine was a war game – using a folded paper map and cutout game pieces. It was great stuff. Read up on “The Utility of War Gaming” Wavell Room,  November 21, 2017.


Army Vision. The U.S. Army has published a two-minute video about the Army’s guidance for building a lethal army to meet the nation’s needs over the next ten years. “The Army of 2028 will be ready to deploy, fight, and win decisively, against any adversary, in a joint, multi-domain, high-intensity conflict”.


Photo: A soldier of the 20th Special Forces Group of the Massachusetts National Guard practices stalking and surveillance techniques on June 9, 2018 at Joint Base Cape Cod, Ma. Photo by SPC Samuel Keenan, MA NG Public Affairs, June 8, 2018.

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