Special Operations News 20180713

USSOCOM Ground Vehicles

“Amateurs talk mission command, professionals
ask about the CONOP approval process.”

(All Berets Matter, Twitter, Jul 12, 2018)

SOF News Update 20180713 – Estonian SOF Cdr on Russia, Islamic State and urban warfare, reduced focus on Africa, 137th SOCES, Hezbollah in Nigeria, book signing by CSM (Ret) Bennie Adkins, need for a COIN aircraft, freeze-dried blood plasma, China and foreign direct investment (FDI), SF veterans running with the bulls, IS and drones, 9 Navy SEAL sayings, another KIA in Afghanistan, leaping from high school to SF, and more.

Another KIA in Afghanistan. US Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) announced in a press release that a U.S. service member died on Thursday, July 12, 2018 from wounds sustained during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan. In addition, an Afghan security force member was killed and several wounded. The New York Times reported that a U.S. special operations soldier was killed taking part in a predawn raid in Paktia province.

International SOF

Estonian SOF Cdr on Russia. The commander of Estonia’s special operations forces discusses the Russian threat and deterrence. Speaking of a Russian invasion he says, “They can get to Tallinn in two days. But they will die in Tallinn.” Article by Molly McKew of the New Media Frontier – see “They Will Die in Tallinn: Estonia Girds for War With Russia”, Politico Magazine, July 10, 2018.

King Air 350ER for Canada. Canada is moving forward to purchase three Beechcraft King Air 350ER turboprops to provide ISR to its special operations forces. (Skies Magazine, July 12, 2018).

Canadian SOF for Iraq. Canada will continue its mission to support the train, advise, and assist mission in Iraq. CANSOF will be part of a 250-man training element. (The London Free Press, July 11, 2018).


SF Veterans Running with the Bulls. In 1977 while on a months-long backpacking trip (autostop) in Europe I had the opportunity to do a little ‘running with the bulls’ in Pamplona, Spain. A great time – most of which I remember. Two Special Forces veterans spent some time with the bulls. Read about Ivan Castro and Fred Dumar’s great Spanish adventure in “Blind Army vet runs with the bulls at Pamplona”CBS News, July 9, 2018.

137th SOCES. Members of the 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron of the Air National Guard’s 137th SOW recently trained at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California in June 2018. (DVIDS 137th Special Operations Wing, June 30, 2018).

AFSOC Refining Training. New techniques in physical therapy and training are reducing the attrition rate for Air Force special operations training courses. Read “Attrition Rate Dropping for Battlefield Airmen with New Prep Course”Military.com. July 12, 2018.

7th SFGA Soldier in Best Warrior Competition. An NCO from 7th group is in the running for the Army wide competition. (NWF Daily News, Jul 12, 2018).

Interview w/ COMSOCAfrica. Major General Mark Hicks, commander of Special Operations Command Africa, is interviewed about his unit’s mission in Africa. (The Economist, July 12, 2018).

Interview w/ 7th SFGA Cdr. Colonel Patrick Colloton speaks about the groups mission and deployments. (NWF Daily News, July 11, 2018).

New 1st SFGA Cdr. Colonel Owen Ray took command of 1st group on July 11, 2018 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. (DVIDS 1st SFGA, July 11, 2018).

SOF Way of Dealing with NATO. European nations deployed to Afghanistan in support of the Resolute Support Mission have ‘national caveats’. This restricts their involvement in many aspects of the Afghan conflict – in some cases – combat. Read an article by a former SOF member who experienced this first hand. (The Washington Post, July 12, 2018).

New Cdr for 58th SOW. Col. Justin Hoffman will take command of the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirkland AFB. (LA Daily Post, July 12, 2018).

Leaping from High School to SOF. Steve Balestrieri, a retired Special Forces warrant officer, writes on things to know when making the transition from high school to a career in special operations. “Making the Big Leap, From High School to Special Operations”SpecialOperations.com, July 12, 2018.

9 Navy SEAL Sayings. A former Navy SEAL believes that some principles from Navy SEAL culture that can help business organizations improve growth, productivity, and profitability. Read “9 Navy SEAL Sayings That Will Improve Engagement and Accountability in Your Organization”Forbes.com, July 11, 2018.

Middle East

IS and Urban Warfare. Robert Postings reports on how the Islamic State used basic infantry and engineer skills to fight in the cities of Syria and Iraq. Read “A Guide to the Islamic State’s Way of Urban Warfare”Modern War Institute, July 9, 2018.

IS and Drones. Don Rassler has penned a paper that could be of interest to some. It is entitled The Islamic State and Drones: Supply, Scale, and Future Threats.33-page PDF file The dated July 2018 is posted on the website of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.


Reduced Focus on AFRICOM. The U.S. National Defense Strategy unveiled in early 2018 by the Department of Defense is concerned about ‘great power’ conflict with adversaries such as China and Russia. This new twist on national defense priorities will result in fewer troops and resources for African programs. Read more in “Africa Terror Fight to Suffer as China, Russia Take U.S. Focus”, by Daniel Flatley, Bloomberg, July 11, 2018.

Is Hezbollah Training Nigerian Shiites? Mona Alami, a French Lebanese journalist and researcher, writes that Hezbollah is providing ideological and military training to Nigerian Shiites inside Lebanon. There is speculation that Iran is prompting the establishment of a western African base for the further support and expansion of Iranian power and influence. The instruction offered in Lebanon is considered to be a ‘train-the-trainer’ course. (Middle East Institute, July 5, 2018).

TAA in Cameroon. An Army Reserve officer writes about the current security situation in Cameroon and wonders if the Train, Advise, and Assist programs in that country are helpful or counterproductive. Read “The Dark Side of America’s ‘Train, Advise, and Assist’ Missions”Task and Purpose, July 11, 2018.

Military News

Need for a COIN Aircraft. During various times over the past few decades the need for an inexpensive counterinsurgency aircraft has been demonstrated to the U.S. Air Force. It has finally decided to run some tests to find a COIN platform that is suitable for the mission. One possible contender is the Super Tucano A-29 currently being fielded to the Afghan Air Force. Read more in “How War Went Retro and the Pentagon Was Left Behind”, by Sharon Weinberger, Foreign Policy, July 6, 2018.

Freeze-Dried Blood Plasma. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved freeze-dried blood plasma for use to treat combat injuries for U.S. troops. (The Hill, July 10, 2018).

China and FDI. Since the 1980s foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown dramatically – surpassing traditional aid funding programs for developing countries. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a good example of how FDI has grown. The Chinese infrastructure projects associated with the initiative will be of great benefit to China – increasing regional connectivity, connecting Europe and Asia, and increasing economic development in target countries. In addition, the FDI will help China slowly expand its military footprint around the world. Jeff Goodson, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, explains in “How Development Finance Is Changing Geopolitics”STRATFOR Worldview, July 11, 2018.


Book Signing – CSM Adkins. Medal of Honor recipient Bennie G. Adkins has authored a book – A Tiger Among Us – about his experiences while serving as a Green Beret in Vietnam. Adkins deployed to Vietnam three times and retired with over 20 years in the U.S. Army. The Green Beret Foundation invites you to a book signing and author event at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. on July 18th.


Photo: SOF ground vehicles, USSOCOM, 2017.

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SOF News provides news, analysis, commentary, and information about special operations forces (SOF) from around the world.