Special Operations News Update 20180706

SOF operator fires M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper system in Grafenwoher, Germany.

SOF News Update 20180706 – SOF DEPTEMPO, secret SOF programs and operations in Africa, NATO’s cyberwarfare strategy, rule of law and the gray zone, Lake Chad water crisis, gender advisor capability, a low-intensity USMC, SBS pioneer, SOF Tax Cut Act, LTC Dave Clukey (SF officer) gives speech on leadership, police advising, fixing SOF by BG (Ret) Bolduc, and more.

SOF News

SOF DEPTEMPO. Stu Bradin, a retired Special Forces officer and president of the Global SOF Foundation, writes about the high deployment tempo of U.S. special operations forces around the world. Read “Special Operations DEPTEMPO and the National Security Risk”The Cipher Brief, July 2, 2018.

SBS Pioneer. Read about the life of Major Roger ‘Jumbo’ Courtney – one of the proponents of the UK’s Special Boat Section of World War II fame. It would later be the model for the Special Boat Service. See “Roger Courtney: SBS Pioneer”National Army Museum.

SOF Tax Cut Act. The Special Operations Forces Tax Cut Act could provide breaks to deployed military personnel who deploy overseas to dangerous regions but that are not recognized in the Internal Revenue Services’ Combat Zone Tax Exclusion regulations. A Congressman from North Carolina is the sponsor of the bill. See “Special Forces Troops Could Get Extra Tax Break”Military.com, July 3, 2018.

Fixing SOF by BG Bolduc. A retired Special Forces officer has some ideas on how to fix U.S. special operations forces. He identifies some problems that may not be too obvious to those outside the SOF community. Tension b/t SOCOM and ASD SO/LIC, SOCOM focus on CT instead of special warfare, senior SOF officer selection process, and more. Read “How to Fix Special Operations, According to a Former SOCAFRICA Commander”Task and Purpose, July 5, 2018.

Leadership – SF Style. LTC Dave Clukey, the Commander of the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion for the U.S. Army and a Special Forces officer, recently addressed the Arizona Youth Leadership Conference at Arizona State University in Phoenix. (DVIDS, July 2, 2018).

Belgian Army Has a SOF Regiment. On July 3, 2018 the Belgian ministry of defence established the Special Operations Regiment (SO Regt). A Light Brigade was transformed into the SO Regt. (Army Recognition, July 4, 2018).

German SOF Get New Laser Light. A light-weight, assault rifle-mounted laser light is going to be issued to German Army special operators. (Defence-Blog.com, July 5, 2018).

City Recognizes Fallen Green Beret. SFC Stephen Cribben died in Afghanistan in November 2017. He was a member of the 10th Special Forces Group. His hometown had a ceremony in remembrance. (Thousand Oaks Acorn, July 5, 2018).

Secret SOF Programs and Operations in Africa. American special operations teams are playing a direct role in military operations against extremists and terrorist on the Africa continent. The SOF teams are planning and participating in combat raids by African troops in the Somalia, Niger, Tunisia, Kenya, and others. Read an article by Wesley Morgan entitled “Behind the secret U.S. war in Africa”Politico.com, June 2, 2018.


Cyber Strategy and NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is beefing up its cyberspace capabilities and are adding cyberwarfare to their joint operations toolkit. This means more training and increased coordination among NATO members. This is a timely move given how Russia has become more aggressive in cyberspace with its disinformation strategy and hacking operations. But how strong is the alliance given Turkeys friendship with Russia and the message coming from the White House? Read “Can NATO’s new cyber strategy survive risky summits?”, Fifth Domain, July 1, 2018.

Finnish Female Soldiers – Second Thoughts? Finnish women have been doing voluntary service in Finland’s military since 1995. Cost saving costs may put a hold on more women joining the Finnish military. Read more in “Finland has second thoughts about its women soldiers”BBC News, July 3, 2018.

Middle East

Yemen. In the beginning of the week (July 1st) the United Arab Emirates said it was pausing its offensive to take the port city of Hodeidah from the Iranian-supported Houthis. The UAE is taking a pause to see if UN supported negotiations can have a positive effect. (Reuters, July 1, 2018).


Lake Chad Basin. Desertification, climate change, drought, refugees from Boko Haram, and other factors have put a strain on the water resources provided by Lake Chad. The lake’s area has shrunk from 20,000 square kilometers to 2,000 square kilometers. It appears that China may play a major role in the regeneration of Lake Chad which would alleviate the humanitarian issues caused by the water shortage. (GB Times, July 1, 2018).

Macron in Nigeria. The president of France visited Nigeria and met with that country’s president to discuss ways to intensify the battle against Islamist militants in West Africa. (Bloomberg, July 4, 2018).

Military News

Rule of Law and the Gray Zone. Rosa Brooks informs us on how technological changes and the growth on non-state actors in conflict has made it difficult “. . . to apply basic legal concepts relating to war and the use of force in a coherent way”. She writes that gray zone actors are exploiting the uncertainties now found in modern conflict to evade legal responsibility and to avoid military, political, and economic consequences. Read “Rule of Law in the Gray Zone”Modern War Institute, July 2, 2018.

Primer on Army Rank System. Are you a novice when it comes to recognizing ranks and positions in the U.S. Army? Here is a guide!

USMC, TAA, and COIN. Is regulating the Marine Corps to advising and counterinsurgency a good idea? Should the Army be the only ground combat force for near-peer adversaries? Maybe not; at least according to Gil Barndollar – a former US Marine infantry officer. Read more in “A Low-Intensity Marine Corps?”Real Clear Defense, July 2, 2018.

Gender Advisor Capability. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have kindled great interest in the implementing good gender practices in the conduct of warfare. The Iraq and Afghanistan conflict saw the establishment of Female Engagement Teams (FETs) and SOF’s Cultural Support Teams (CSTs). Learn about the WPS Act and DoD’s Operational Gender Advisor Course. Read more in “Mind the Gender Capability Gap”Defense One, July 3, 2018.

Money on the Battlefield. The U.S. military can harness the power of economics to win conflicts during future decisive action operations. Read more in “Buying Victory: Money as a Weapon on the Battlefields of Today and Tomorrow”Modern War Institute, July 3, 2018.

Book on Police Advising. A new book has been published (May 2018) that could be of interest to those advising police units around the world. Available on Amazon.com – Expeditionary Police Advising and Militarization: Building Security in a Fractured World.

Early History of the U.S. Army. The ‘Continental Army’ was established on June 14, 1775 by the Continental Congress. The next day George Washington was selected as the Commander in Chief. A year later Congress would declare independence. Learn more about the early history of the Army in The U.S. Army: America’s First National InstitutionArmy.mil, July 2018.


Photo: SOF operator fires M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper system in Grafenwoher, Germany. (Photo December 2017 courtesy of Special Operations Command Europe – SOCEUR).

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