Special Operations News Update 20180803

U.S. Navy and Egyptian divers conduct a familiarization dive during Eagle Response 18. U.S. Navy photo 24 July 2018.

SOF News Update 20180803 – Tim Kennedy interview (20 min video), US CT airstrikes, Seth Jones on CT, Global SOF Symposium in Madrid, podcast – combat sidestroke, future Army deployments, SOCOM’s M4A1 upgrade, gray zone activities, and more.

SOF News

Podcast: Combat Sidestroke. The official Naval Special Warfare website has published a podcast about how Navy SEAL and SWCC candidates train up to be good swimmers and how to use the ‘combat sidestroke’ effectively.

Global SOF Symposium in Madrid. The third Global SOF Symposium will take place in Madrid, Spain in September 2018. The three-day event will focus on the European, North African, and Latin American special operations communities and the shared issues they face.

USASOC Conducts Water Jump at Beach Resort. Two Black Hawks provided lift from United States Army Special Operations Command personnel to practice their daytime, Hollywood, maritime infiltration skills on North Myrtle Beach. According to the news report:

“Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina came to the beach to train in realistic scenarios, which helps to prepare them for missions outside of country.”

Purple Shovel, a Death in Bulgaria, Syrian Rebels, and more. A lawsuit in Tampa, Florida is bringing to light a USSOCOM program that provided weapons to Syrian rebels a few years back. Read more in “Lawsuits open window on shadowy network SOCom used to arm Syrian rebels”, Tampa Bay Times, July 28, 2018.

Ranger Turned Journalist Tells His Story – Return to Afghanistan. Marty Skovlund informs us on his time in a combat zone but in a different role. (The Havok Journal, July 31, 2018).

SOCOM’s M4A1 Upgrade. A recently signed contract has Sig Sauer working a $48-million contract to provide an indefinate number of Suppressed Upper Receiver Group (SURG) components. (Defence-Blog.com, July 28, 2018).

‘Through, With, and By’ Goes Mainstream. Read how phrase that was in the SOF domain went mainstream, became ‘by, with, and through’, and lost meaning. Read “Shifting Landscape: The Evolution of By, With, and Through”Strategy Bridge, August 1, 2018.

Denver Evening of Tribute. The Navy SEAL Foundation provides programs designed to improve the health, welfare, and resiliency of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community. A fund raiser by the foundation will be held in Denver, Colorado on August 16, 2018.

War on Terror

US CT Airstrikes Update. For the last ten years the United States has conducted airstrikes not only in recognized war zones such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan – but in other regions of the world as well. Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya have seen frequent airstrikes against insurgent / terrorist groups as part of the overall air campaign waged by the U.S. Learn more in “US Counterterrorism strikes: Tempo remains high in Somalia and Yemen, transparency improves”, FDD’s Long War Journal, July 27, 2018.

Paper – Seth Jones on CT. In a shift in national security strategy the United States is moving away from terrorism as its primary threat to competing with strong adversaries like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. However there is danger of having counterterrorism taking a backseat to other national security interests. Seth Jones, an observer of national security issues and special operations activities, has penned a paper explaining why he feels this shift in priorities is an unnecessary risk. Read his 9-page paper entitled America’s Counterterrorism Gamble, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), July 26, 2018.

Military News – General Topics

Army Unit Deployments Announced. The Army announced on Thursday (Jul 26) major deployments for several units going to Afghanistan and South Korea. (Army Times, July 26, 2018).

  • 4th Infantry Division HQ to Afghanistan
  • 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division to Afghanistan
  • 3rd BCT, 1st Armored Division to South Korea

Political Warfare? Tom Ricks provides a little of his perspective on creating a governmental entity to conduct political warfare in “Time For A ‘National Political Warfare Center’ To Run US Action Overseas?”Task and Purpose, July 27, 2018.

Arctic Warfare – Is the US Ready? A detailed article provides some good reading on the territorial claims, preparedness of some nations to wage war, and a map of the Arctic region. The U.S. lags behind Russia, Norway, and Canada. Even China is getting into the fray. Read “A new cold war: How the Army is preparing for a fight in the Arctic”Army Times, July 31, 2018.

Is PKSOI Going Away? Let us hope not. A news report indicates that the new DoD emphasis on near-peer conflict is doing away with organizations and doctrine that deal with COIN, stability, and other related fields. And what about the Army War College’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute? Is that not sacred? Read “Tool of Peace and War: Save the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute”Council on Foreign Relations, July 31, 2018.

Hunters on the Battlefield. One Army officer provides some gist for conversation by providing thought for future conflicts. Read “Hunters Aim to Win: Small Units Would Roam, Skirmish on Modern Battlefield”, Association of the United States Army, July 26, 2018.

Q & A on Gray Zone Activities. Nathan Freier, a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) provides some questions and answers about the increased threat the U.S. faces from gray zone activities in “The Darker Shade of Gray: A New War Unlike Any Other”CSIS, July 27, 2018.

Political Warfare. Alexander Grinberg writes about “Controlling the Narrative: How Political Warfare Can Influence Policy”The Strategy Bridge, July 31, 2018.

Not Military News – But Interesting

Filming the Tom Cruise HALO Jump. Abu Dhabi was the location where Tom Cruise did 94 parachute jumps so that he was prepared to be filmed jumping at 25,000 feet. Many of the jumps required enormous support – provided by the UAE military. The jump is part of the upcoming film Mission Impossible – Fallout. Read more about the support provided by UAE (Hollywood Reporter, July 27, 2018). Watch the movie trailer posted by Paramount Pictures.

Videos and Podcasts

Video – Tim Kennedy Interview. Green Beret, MMA fighter, and TV personality Tim Kennedy is interviewed on several topics to include having a healthy relationship with fear, his time as a Special Forces sniper, and the value of teamwork. Read “Use This Green Beret’s Inspiring Strategy to Make Friends With Fear”, Entrepreneur, July 26, 2018.

Another Tim Kennedy Video. Tim explains how to survive a pilots worst nightmare. He jumps from 20K on oxogen in simulated aircraft mishap. A trailer for Hard to Kill. (Monsters and Critics, July 24, 2018).

USAJFKSWCS Video. The Forge is a short video depicting scenes of Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) training. (July 2018?)

Movie Trailer – Hunter Killer. Deep under the Arctic Ocean a U.S. sub has to sneak through enemy waters to infiltrate a Navy SEAL unit to rescue the kidnapped Russian president. Coming in theaters October 2018. Editor prediction: President Trump watches the film, decides the SEALs were not gentle enough in the handling of the Russian president, disestablishes the U.S. Navy SEAL teams, and says the next USSOCOM commander will be a Green Beret. Wait for it.

Rapid Intervention Battalion Training, DoD, July 29, 2018. A Texas National Guard unit is training up the Djiboutian Armed Forces Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB). (2 minutes).

Podcast – Desert Storm. Col  Bill Ostlund (now at West Point) was a lieutenant when the first Gulf War took place. Listen to how he got his platoon ready for the war and his experiences as a junior leader . . . and his reflections on a number of lessons he learned. “Desert Storm Air Assault”Podcast: The Spear (USMA), April 18, 2018.


Photo: U.S. Navy and Egyptian divers conduct a familiarization dive during Eagle Response 18. U.S. Navy photo 24 July 2018. The exericse took place at the Red Sea Naval Base in Egypt in July. Some of the events in the exercise included underwater detonation drills, unmanned underwater operations, and antiterrorism/force protection dives. Eagle Response 18 is an explosive ordnance disposal and diving exercise.

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