Special Operations News Update 20180905

SOF snipers take part in the International Special Training Centre's (ISTC) Basic Sniper Course. Photo by SOCEUR 2017.

SOF News Update – Burn pits and Gen Petraeus, SOF footprint in Africa, 100-year old GB skydives, SOCOM’s drones, back story to Tom Clancy’s ‘Jack Ryan’, history of SOF at FBNC, SOF GO assignments, fixing generals, Soft skills needed in SOF, MC-130 P Combat Shadow becomes a maintenance trainer, 1st Group’s annual Kid’s Q-Course, Air Base 201, TSCTP in Africa, Russia’s airdrop capable BTR-MDM, Miltary Review (Sep/Oct 2018), NSW IW CRS report, insider attack in Afghanistan, and more.

Bob Woodward’s Book on Trump

Should be an interesting read; even if the book is less than accurate! SECDEF Mattis came out quick with a denial.

Statement by Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, DoD News Release, September 4, 2018.

“The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence. While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

But then there is this:

“You know how you know Woodward is right
that Mattis defied Trump on killing Assad?
Because Assad is still alive.”
Rick Wilson, Twitter, Sep 4, 2018.

International SOF

Training Colombian SOF NCOs. Special Operations Command South is helping out Colombia in the establishment of a specialized course for its Army NCOs. Read “Colombia Designs Training for Special Operations NCOs”Dialogo Digital Military Magazine, September 4, 2018.

NZDF SAS. The New Zealand Defence Force has set a $2 million budget for the investigation of the Special Air Service (SAS) actions in Afghanistan. The focus of the investigation is on an SAS raid conducted in August 2010 in the Tirgiran Valley, Afghanistan. (National, Sep 3, 2018).

SOF News

SOF Africa Footprint to Shrink. It appears that the Pentagon is considering reducing the size of U.S. special operations in Africa by as much as 50%. Read more in “After Deadly Raid, Pentagon Weighs Withdrawing Almost All Commandos From Niger”, The New York Times, September 2, 2018.

Changes in SOF Footprint in Africa. Read “Niger ambush prompts training changes for special operations in Africa”, Stars and Stripes, August 29, 2018.

History of SOF at FBNC. Drew Brooks writes about the many different special operations units and organizations based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in “The Home of Special Operations”, The Fayetteville Observer, August 31, 2018.

MG Karmazin. The new director of J7/9, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) will be Major General Robert A. Karmazin (Special Forces, USAR).

BG Johnson. The new director of civil affairs and civilian operations, C9, U.S. Forces Korea will be Brigadier General Isaac Johnson Jr. (USAR).

CRS Report on Navy IW/CT. Ronald O’Rourke, a specialist in naval affairs, has written a 59-page report entitled Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, August 1, 2018. Posted on website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

1st Group’s Annual Kid’s Q Course. More than 260 children took part in the 1st Special Forces Group’s Annual Kid’s Q-Course. It is a way for Special Forces Soldiers to enjoy a day with their children and get them acquainted with their workplace. (1st SFGA DVIDS, Aug 29, 2018).

Life and Death of a Navy SEAL. Read “How an addict became a Navy SEAL and a nightmare for the Taliban”, We Are the Mighty, September 4, 2018.

MC-130P Now a Maintenance Trainer. An aircraft that saw combat in Vietnam and the Cold War is now at Sheppard Air Force Base in the role of a maintenance trainer for the 82nd Training Wing’s Special Missions Aircraft Armament Apprentice Course. (DVIDS, Aug 29, 2018).

Soft Skills Needed in SOF. Two Cold War special forces veterans are worried that special operations is relying too much on the ‘kill and capture’ mentality at the detriment of important ‘soft skills’. (We Are the Mighty, Aug 29, 2018).

SOCOM’s Drones. Howard Altman writes about how small drones will be integrated into the future of special operations warfare. The U.S. Special Operations Command based at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida is seeking help from the academic and industrial world. (Tampa Bay Times, Sep 4, 2018).

Navy SEAL Museum Event. A Muster and Music Festival will take place in November – two Medal of Honor recipients will be in attendance. (TCPalm, Aug 29, 2018).

JP 3-57. For all you Civil Affairs guys (and girls) out there. The newest edition of Joint Publication 3-57, Civil-Military Operations, 9 July 2018 is now available.

Former GB Skydives on 100th BD. A former Green Beret and veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam skydived on his 100th birthday. (Stars and Stripes, Aug 30, 2018).


Map of Afghanistan (CIA) - Afghanistan News

Insider Attack Casualty ID’d. An American Soldier was killed in an insider attack on Monday, September 3, 2018 in eastern Afghanistan. Command Sergeant Major Timothy Bolyard was deployed with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB).

DoD News Release, Sep 4, 2018

Newsweek, Sep 4, 2018

Stars and Stripes, Sep 4, 2018

U.S. Service Member Dies in Non-Combat Incident. On Tuesday, September 4, 2018 a member of the U.S. military died in eastern Afghanistan in a non-combat related incident. This is the 7th American killed while serving in Afghanistan this year and the second in just two days.

Gloomy Outlook. An editorial predicts that the next change of command in Afghanistan for Resolute Support will come around the 20-year mark of our presence there . . .  and things will likely be the same. Read “A Gloomy Outlook in Afghanistan”, The Fayetteville Observer, September 4, 2018.

The Return of Khalizad. A former ambassador to Afghanistan will soon join the State Department as an advisor on that country. He will be involved in the reconciliation effort. He is an experienced ‘Afghan Hand’ who worked with or advised four U.S. administrations in the past. Lot’s of pros and cons about this appointment.

CRS Report on Afghanistan. Clayton Thomas, an analyst on Middle Eastern Affairs, has written a 17-page report entitled Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy in Brief, Congressional Research Service (CRS), August 3, 2018. Posted on the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) website.

Middle East

Arab NATO? Owen Daniels takes a close look at the prospect of an Arab union that would be an obstacle to Iran’s aggression. Read “Four Key Questions about an Arab NATO”, Real Clear Defense, September 4, 2018.

NATO’s Iraq Training Mission. The Canadian general who will head up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s training mission in Iraq says the trainers will be working in a dangerous environment. Read “NATO’s Iraq Training Mission Dangerous, Canadian commander says”, iPolitics, August 29, 2018.


CP for G5 Sahel CT Force to Move. The Chadian military is moving the command post of the G5 Sahel force to the northwest of the country. (Janes.com, Aug 29, 2018).

CA and Air Base 201. A U.S. Army Civil Affairs team at Nigerien Air Base 201 is working projects that aim to reduce the Agadez area’s susceptibility to violent extremists. Read “Nigerien Air Base 201 Sharpens Community Ties”, DoD, August 22, 2018.

Drone Warfare in Africa. The deployment of armed drones in Niger coincides with new U.S. plan to draw down on the SOF presence in Niger and other nations in the region. Is this making sense? Read “Shadowy U.S. Drone War in Africa Set to Expand”, Foreign Policy, September 4, 2018.

TSCTP. Congressman Michael McCaul (R TX) has penned an article about supporting the Tran-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Read “Chairman Michael McCaul: Empower our Allies to Fight Terrorism in Africa”, National Interest, September 4, 2018.

Military & National Security News


New Reg for Combat-Zone Contractors. A new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation could benefit contract workers who live and work in combat zones. They could qualify for foreign earned income exclusion.

Burn Pits and Petraeus. General (Ret) David Petraeus has come out in support of the Burn Pits Accountability Act. Read more in an article entitled “Petraeus To Congress: It’s Time to Get Serious About Burn Pits”, Task & Purpose, September 3, 2018.

Fixing Army Generalship. Brigadier General (Retired) Don Bolduc, former SF group commander and SOCAFRICA commander has penned an article with recommendations on the training, educating, promotion, and assignment of general officers. Read “A 12 Step Program to Fix Army Generalship”Task & Purpose, September 4, 2018.

Russia’s Airdrop Capable BTR-MDM. The crew of this airdrop capable armored vehicle descends inside the APC. Interesting. Read “Parachuting With Your Armored Vehicle On”, Strategy Page, August 30, 2018.


Military Review. The September / October 2018 issue of Military Review has been published online. Lot’s of articles about large-scale combat operations. (not much in the way of SOF news but . . .)


Back Story to Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. There have been several movies out depicting Jack Ryan – the intelligence analyst who goes ‘operational’ accidentally. But sometimes the movies stray a bit off the historical background of the hero. Monday night I watched the first episode of Amazon’s Jack Ryan and was pleasantly entertained. I will probably watch the remainder of the series in the next few weeks. Sure . . . there are some things in the movie script that probably wouldn’t happen in real life . . . but . . . it’s entertainment. Of course, being a fan of Tom Clancy’s books (and the subsequent movies) I noticed that there are some inconsistencies in the story line of the movies. This article might help clear that up – “Uncovered Tom Clancy Notes Shed Light on the Untold Origin of Jack Ryan”, USNI News, August 31, 2018.


Photo: SOF snipers take part in the International Special Training Centre’s (ISTC) Basic Sniper Course. Photo by SOCEUR 2017.

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