Special Operations News Update 20180917

Spanish Sniper at ISTC Desert Sniper Course at Chinchilla Training Area, Spain. Two-week course is designed to teach trained sniper teams the necessary skills t operate in a desert environment. July 2018 SOCEUR photo.

SOF News Update 20180917 – LTG LaCamera’s new job, a transparent UK SOF, UK’s PMCs influencing MoD strategy, the ‘Suwalki Gap’, ADP 2-0 Intelligence (Sep 18), 09L earns Ranger Tab, establishing an Arab NATO, CT funding and corruption report, SSA reform in Africa, $$$$ wasting away in Afghanistan, 560-acre Ranch for Navy SEALs and families, new ADP 2-0, and more.

“Twitter war is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different memes.” Carl von Clausewitz, 1829.

SOF News

LTG LaCamera’s New Job. The former Ranger Regiment commander will be the head man in Iraq in charge of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). He replaces LTG Funk. He commanded the Rgr Rgt in 2005-2007. During that time he headed up the JSOC TF in Afghanistan. Following that he was the JSOC J-3 and then the assistant commanding general. In his earlier years he commanded infantry and Ranger battalions during OEF and OIF. He has recent Iraq experience having served as the OSC-I Chief at the US Embassy in Baghdad. (DoD, Sep 13, 2018).

560-Acre Ranch for SEALs. The Charles Humphrey Keating IV Foundation has purchased a large ranch for use by Navy SEALs and their families. (Times of San Diego, Sep 13, 2018).

09L Earns Ranger Tab. An Afghan born member of the U.S. Army who speaks five languages (Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Tajik, and Urdu) plus English has earned his Ranger Tab. He is looking to go SF at some point in the future. Read “Army Linguist First to Earn Ranger Tab”DVIDS, September 13, 2018.

Teamwork and SF Selection. The importance of team work on an SF team is significant – and it also is important when going through training. Read “Teamwork and Perseverance Pay Off in the Long Haul”, Special Operations.com, September 14, 2018.

40 Commando. Watch as this elite UK unit conducts close quarter battle in the well deck of HMS Albion in the Far East. (UK Defence Journal, Sep 13, 2018).

HK416 Getting an Upgrade. A gun used by elite units around the world is getting better. (National Interest, Sep 14, 2018).

A Transparent UK SOF. Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen, a researcher with the Remote Warfare Programme (UK) argues that British Defence officials should become more ‘transparent’ about the activities of its special operations forces. “Hmmmm”. Read “The UK Should Learn from the Transgressions of Australian Special Forces”, Small Wars Journal, September 14, 2018.

SOF and IW Symposium Tampa, Florida Dec 2018

NATO, Europe, and ‘That Neighbor to the East’

Suwalki Gap. Decades ago when military commentators talked about where the first fight would be should the Soviet bloc begin their offensive the words ‘Fulda Gap’ was used. Now when military commentators talk about where the first fight US troops would engage in the ‘Suwalki Gap‘ is in the conversation. Where the heck is that? (Stars and Stripes, Sep 13, 2018).

Middle East

Arab NATO? Retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander of US Central Command, will be encouraging Arab nations to support the concept of a strategic coalition that opposes ISIS and to keep the aspirations of Iran and its regional proxies in check. A great idea; but not likely to succeed. Geoffrey Aronson, a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute provides his views in “Trump Enlists Gen. Zinni for Quixotic Arab NATO Campaign“, The American Conservative, September 14, 2018.

We Need a Strategy in Syria. Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of Congress, says the U.S. is still without a real strategy for the conflict in Syria. He recommends a course of action that precludes Assad using chemical weapons, reduces the humanitarian crisis, bolsters the de-escalation zones, checks the ambitions of Russia and China, enforces a no-fly zone in the region, and includes the end of the Assad regime. (Defense One, Sep 13, 2018).

The Enemy Gets a Vote. Kim Cragin writes about the counterterrorism challenge that the Trump administration is facing. (Lawfare, Sep 16, 2018).


Reforming SSA. A new 8-page report finds that U.S. security sector assistance has a mixed record in Africa. On the plus side – in peacekeeping contexts – SSA appears to have reduced the incidents of civil wars, terrorism, and state repression. On the minus side – in the post-Cold War era – SSA appears to have had little or no net effect on political violence. Read Reforming Security Sector Assistance for Africa, RAND Corporation, September 2018.


Wasting Money on Afghanistan. A USAID leadership program for Afghan women has spent about $90 million in three years with meager results. Only 55 women were placed in Afghan government jobs according to a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report issued in September 2018.

Switching Sides. What Kabul and RS HQs thinks is happening in the rural areas is not what is actually taking place on the ground. At ground level things get murky. Read more in “Switching Sides: Defection in Afghanistan’s Conflict”, by Franz J. Marty, The Epoch Times, September 16, 2018.

Civilian Casualties Soaring. Despite optimistic proclamations by Resolute Support HQs in Kabul things are not looking all that good for Afghanistan. “Afghan Conflict Could be Deadlier Than Syria in 2018: Analysts”, Yahoo! News, September 14, 2018.

Defense News

Influence of UK’s PMCs. The nature of warfare has changed – military forces are now operating in a ‘gray zone‘ – that space between peace and conflict. The UK’s military forces is adjusting to this new environment – some say with due to the success of private military companies operating in remote areas of the world with a limited number of personnel and resources. Britain has formed up the ’77 Brigade’ and several ‘Specialized Infantry’ battalions. Read more in “Private Military and Security Companies”, Wavell Room, September 4, 2018.

CT Funding and Corruption. The Security Assistance Monitor has published a new report (Sep 13, 2018) the identifies key risk to U.S. counterterrorism aid. The 52-page report finds that “. . . corruption is one of the most significant stumbling blocks in U.S. efforts to tackle terrorism around the world.” The report ends with some recommendations.


ADP 2-0. Army Doctrine Publication 2-0 Intelligence (Sep 2018) is now available online. This 86-page document provides a common construct for intelligence support in complex operational environments.

Success in the Shadows, Combat Studies Institute Press, 2018. A 120-page report about Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (2002-2015) and Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines. Report.


Camouflage Make-Up Tutorial, NATO, September 14, 2018. PFC Elva Karzova of the Latvian Army talks us through the stages of applying camouflage face paint in a 1-minute video tutorial. (Sep 14, 2018).

NATO Bodyguards Exercise Their Driving Skills, NATO, August 28, 2018. NATO’s Close Protection Unit is made up of highly skilled and trained individuals who guard NATO leaders as they travel the world. Watch a one-minute long video of their driving techniques. (Aug 28, 2018).

SEAL Museum. Take a glance at the origins of Naval Special Warfare in this short video about the UDT / SEAL Museum at Fort Pierce, Florida. (Sep 13, 2018, DVIDS All Hands).

Embedded with Special Forces in Afghanistan, Black Rifle Coffee Company, September 15, 2018. A war journalist is featured in this 8-minute long video about drinking coffee in Istanbul and spending time with an SF team in a combat zone.


Photo: Spanish Sniper at ISTC Desert Sniper Course at Chinchilla Training Area, Spain. Two-week course is designed to teach trained sniper teams the necessary skills t operate in a desert environment. July 2018 SOCEUR photo.

Note from the Editor: A recent SOF News had a minor error in a recent article. More than one reader noticed and provided us a ‘course correction’. If you read something that seems not quite right – whether spelling, grammar, or content – give us a shout at staff@sof.news

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