Special Operations News Update 20181003

Australian Officer Rim of the Pacific 2018. Photo by Corporal Kyle Jenner, Sep 2018.

SOF News Update 20181003 – Joint US-Turkish patrols, COP-OCO FY 2019 oversight report, Soldier lethality, Syria mission creep, hybrid warfare, social media, adding women to peacekeeping missions, Russia in the Arctic, SOF in the Philippines, 10th SFGA host DoD senior executives, 25th anniversary of Battle of Mogadishu, passing of MG (Ret) Shachnow, and more.

SOF News

Battle of Mogadishu. October 3rd is the 25th anniversary of Operation Gothic Serpent. Widely remembered as the events depicted in the movie Blackhawk Down, the Battle of Mogadishu took place in Somalia in 1984. Two SF soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions that day – which would cost them their lives.

Passing of MG (Ret) Shachnow. A long-time member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces community has died. Sid Shachnow died at the age of 83. A native of Lithuania, Shachnow lived an interesting life.

Choppers for Australian SOF. The Australian Defense Forces is seeking a new helicopter that can deploy on C-17s and provide lift and fire support for small teams of special forces. (Flight Global, Oct 2, 2018). See also an article by Defense News (Oct 2, 2018).

Covert Actions in Africa. One commentator (a staff writer for the weekly newspaper of the University of North Carolina . .  . so . . ) thinks we are overstepping our welcome in Africa. Read “In the heart of darkness: U.S. covert actions in Africa”, The Carolinian, October 3, 2018.

10th SFGA Hosts Senior DoD Executives. The Green Berets at Fort Carson, Colorado provided some unique experiences to 29 Senior Executives from the Department of Defense. The 10th SFGA demonstration highlighted a Special Forces team’s direct action strike against a target. Read “Senior DoD Executives conclude national tour at Fort Carson”, 10th SFGA DVIDs, September 18, 2018.

China’s SOF. The Chinese special operations forces are not well-known; however they are slowly growing. (The National Interest, Oct 3, 2018).

7th SFGA MSG Indicted. A Special Forces senior NCO faces trial next month on charges of distributing cocaine. He is alleged to have shipped drugs from Colombia aboard a military transport earlier this year. (Crestview Bulletin, Oct 2, 2018).

Video of Airdrop. A short video of an airdrop by a MC-130J of the 9th Special Operations Squadron. (DVIDS, Oct 1, 2018).

MG (Ret) Reeder on Board. Retired general officer Ed Reeder, a long-time member of the Special Forces community, has a new job as a Board Director. (NASDAQ.com, Oct 2, 2018).

Adventure Psychology. An outdoor and adventure writer has an article about adventurous people in history. (Explorersweb.com, Sep 30, 2018).

Middle East

Syria. US and Turkish units are training up to conduct joint patrols around the strategic northern Syria city of Manbij. The training is taking place in Turkey. Read “US Starts Training Turkish Troops for Joint Syria Patrols”, Voice of America, October 1, 2018.

More Advisors? Recent news reports indicate that the U.S. may be putting more advisors into Syria. This is happening even as ISIS is steadily (slowly) being degraded. Probably more to do with the Iranian presence in Syria? Hmmm.

Europe and NATO

Hybrid Warfare. U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrottii, commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM), says that the Russians are currently using “. . . cyber activity, social media, disinformation campaigns and troop exercises to threaten and bully other countries.” See “NATO Moves to Combat Russian Hybrid Warfare”, Defense Media Activity, September 29, 2018.

Russian Buildup Concerns Norway. Attention on the arctic region (sea lanes, oil deposits, etc.) has Russia, China, and other nations positioning troops and conducting military exercises in the region. Norway is worried about possible future aggressive action by Russia in the region. In October and November a huge NATO exercise will take place – Russia is sure to have ‘eyes on’ this military event. “Russian buildup worries Norway before big NATO military exercise”, Reuters.com, October 2, 2018.

Going on the Offensive. Seth Jones of the Center for Strategic & International Studies advocates for the US to go on the offensive against Russia to combat its many forms of hybrid warfare. He says we need to adopt some Cold War measures to back the Russians up. Read Going on the Offensive: A U.S. Strategy to Combat Russian Information Warfare, CSIS Brief, October 1, 2018.


Conflict in Middle Nigeria. Ginger Seip-Nuno examines the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria – providing the perspective that it is a multi-faceted conflict. Read “Vulnerable Narrative: Media Coverage of the Changing Pastoral Conflict in Nigeria”, Small Wars Journal, October 2, 2018.

US to Continue Support to France in Mali. SECDEF Mattis says that the US will not reduce its support for the French-led military operations against insurgents in Mali. He is in Paris meeting with top French government and military leaders. He heads to Brussels next. (Marine Corps Times, Oct 2, 2018).

African Terror Groups. Despite a decline in terrorist incidents worldwide African nations are experiencing a growth in terrorist groups. East Africa is threatened by al-Shabaab, the Lake Chad region is troubled by Boko Haram and Islamic State. In the Sahel region of Africa various al-Qaeda and IS affiliates are causing problems. Read more in “Report: African Countries Struggle to Contain Terror Groups”, Voice of America, October 2, 2018.


Social Media in the Philippines. U.S. Army elements are assisting the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations element in developing state-of-the art technologies. (PhiStar Global, Oct 3, 2018).

Marines – Winning the 2025 Indo-Pacific War. A team of Marine writers look to the future and suggest ways the Marines can succeed by way of “. . . lethal, coordinated, and swarming Warbot combat teams.” This is an extremely interesting read. (War on the Rocks, Sep 26, 2018).

Military and National Security News

Soldier Lethality. Read up on the Army’s ‘Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team’ or CFT. It’s mission is to narrow the capability gaps for soldiers who will close with, engage, and destroy the enemy. (Army.mil, Sep 21, 2018).

Better Ghillie Suits. Current ghillie suits are considered bulky, hot (in warm weather), and uncomfortable. The FRGS will be replaced with the IGS. Read more in “Army testing more effective ghillie suits”, Army.mil, October 2, 2018.

DoD’s Updated Website. Feel like exploring? Check the US Dept of Defense’s new website at www.defense.gov.

Terrorism and Intelligence

Terrorism Prevention Literature Library. The Department of Homeland Security has developed a comprehensive and publicly available literature and ontology dashboard to organize Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) literature.


COP-OCO Oversight Report. The DoD Inspector General’s office has released the COP-OCO FY 2019 Comprehensive Oversight Plan,164-page report October 2018. This details the activities of DoD, DoS, and USAID in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Philippines, and other locations in Southwest Asia.


Add Women to Peacekeeping Operations. Jamille Bigio and Rachel Vogelstein believe that women are underrepresented in peacekeeping operations and that the numbers should go higher to improve mission effectiveness and advance stability. Read “Want Better Peacekeeping Ops? Add Women”Defense One, October 1, 2018.


Photo: Australian Officer on watch during Rim of the Pacific 2018 exercise. Photo by Corporal Kyle Jenner, Sep 2018.

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