Special Operations News Update 20180827

10th SFGA Europe Shooting drills. Photo by SOCEUR 2018.

SOF News Update 20180827 – Canada to lead NATO training mission in Iraq, upcoming SOF events, ISKP head killed in Nangarhar, Pakistan’s female police commandos, BATS-D, signing the NDAA, Rohingya crisis, stabilization report, Constellis Holdings, recruiting SO airmen, Golden Knight team member dies, super soldier of the future, Rangers in SOF, and more.

SOF News

BATS-D. Visasat has developed a new device that is designed for use by Special Operations Forces and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) to call in close air support. The Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System – Dismounted can be used by the ‘Five Eyes’ (FVEY) nations – which certainly will improve interoperability between our closest of allies. Read “NSA approves tablet and communicator for Five Eyes special forces”, C4ISRNET, August 22, 2018.

Super Soldier of the Future. Performance enhancement drugs, exoskeletons (TALOS), gene manipulation, surgical implants, etc. will all contribute to enhanced warriors in the future. Read about the technological advances that will make this happen as well as the effects on warfare in the future in “Beyond Human: Rise of the Super-Soldiers – a Primer”, Small Wars Journal, August 26, 2018.

1st SFGA CW2 Becomes US Citizen. Gustavo Salvador was an officer in the Ecuador Army but chose to join the U.S. Army at age 27. Read “1st SFG(A) Soldier Achieves His American Dream”, 1st SFGA DVIDS, August 24, 2018.

Cripple Creek Memorial Ceremony and 10th SFGA. For the past 12 years Cripple Creek, Colorado has held a ceremony to honor fallen service members who were graduates of the Air Force Academy or served while living in the local area. Read “Local community honors 10th Special Forces Group fallen in memorial ceremony”, 10th SFGA DVIDS, August 24, 2018.

How Rangers Got into SOF. Keith Nightingale traces the early history of the Ranger Regiment as a special operations unit. The need for extra security for the Iran rescue mission in 1979 provided the opportunity for the Rangers to prove their worth to special operations. (Small Wars Journal, August 2018).

Golden Knight Team Member Dies. SSG Aliaksandr Bahrytsevich died in a small plane crash on Saturday. The Cessna 182A owned by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center in Statsboro, Georgia crashed shortly after takeoff. (The Fayetteville Observer, Aug 26, 2018).

Recruiting SOF Airmen. A new USAF squadron has been formed up that specializes in recruiting airmen for special operations. The 330th Recruiting Squadron has been organized to help out with addressing the attrition rate for airmen in the fields of pararescue, combat controller, tactical air control, and special operations weather technicians. (Stars and Stripes, August 24, 2018).

Middle East

Canada Leads New NATO Mission in Iraq. Canadian Major General Dany Fortin will lead the NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq. The mission will focus on countering improvised explosive devices, civil-military planning, armored vehicle maintenance, and military medicine. The mission will have 250 Canadian soldiers as part of a 580 NATO organization. Read “Canada general to lead new NATO mission in Iraq”, Daily Mail.com, August 22, 2018.


Reporter Embedded with SF during Ghazni Seige. William Hennigan, a national security correspondent for Time magazine, was embedded with U.S. Special Forces when they were sent to Ghazni city to help crush the Taliban attack. He is interviewed by Melissa Block of National Public Radio (NPR). Read “Inside a Battle for An Afghan City”, NPR, August 26, 2018.

Rohingya Crisis. Andrew Selth – book author, professor, and follower of Myanmar affairs – has wrote a 56-page report that explores the structure, training, and ethos of the Myanmar armed forces. The report is an attempt to “. . . clarify the implications and challenges of, and the prospects for, finding constructive ways forward as well as an accounting for the past . . .” for solving the Rohingya crisis. Read “Myanmar’s Armed Forces and the Rohingya Crisis”, United States Institute for Peace, August 17, 2018.

ISKP Head Killed. The head of the Islamic State Khorasan Province was killed in a coalition airstrike in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

Afghan Security Heads Step Down (Fired?). Some big changes are happening in Afghanistan. President Ghani has decided to replace the four major heads of the security institutions. The ministers for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI0 will be replaced. The head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) as well as the National Security Advisor will be replaced as well. Sounds like things are not going too well on the security front. To confuse things further; after asking for the resignations President Ghani has asked them to remain in the positions . . . . (Tolo News, Aug 25, 2018).

Privatization in Afghanistan? Erik Prince’s plan to use contractors to advise the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and provide air support has received little support. However, one retired Marine colonel thinks the concept merits some consideration. Read “A Test for Privatization in Afghanistan”, Small Wars Journal, August 2018.

National Security

NDAA and Trump. President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2019 into law on Monday, August 13, 2018. However, the act has several provisions that specifically identify concerns with Trump’s foreign policy (troop withdrawals from Korea, engagements with Russia, etc.). The White House released a ‘signing statement’ the same day providing ‘concern’ over these questionable provisions. A legal beagle delves deeply into the issue in a long article entitled “What to Make of Trump’s NDAA Signing Statement”, Lawfare, August 23, 2018.

Costellis Holdings – Big Changes. The firm once known as Blackwater (and then Xe Services, and then ACADEMI) has had some reorganization of its leadership. (Stars and Stripes, Aug 23, 2018).

Information Operations

Extremist Propaganda. Two scholars explore the role of historical narratives in extremist propaganda in a 25-page paper. The tract shows how and why the extremists use this method in order to enhance the impact f extremist propaganda. Read “The Role of Historical Narratives in Extremist Propaganda”Defence Strategic Communications, Volume 4, Spring 2018 posted on the website of NATO STRATCOM Centre of Excellence.

Upcoming Events

September 7, 2018. FBNC
Civil Affairs Centennial Lecture Series

October 21-25, 2018. Southhaven, MS
18th Annual International Breachers Symposium

October 24, 2018. Tampa, Florida
Special Operations Forces Warrior Industry Conference
Program Executive Office – SOF Warrior & JSOC

May 20-23, 2019. Tampa, Florida

See more SOF events


Pakistan’s Elite Female Commandos. A few women have chosen to serve as Commandos in Pakistan’s police force. Watch a 3-minute long video by Voice of America’s Urdu Service (August 23, 2018).


Photo: 10th SFGA Europe Shooting drills. Photo by SOCEUR 2018.

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