Special Operations News Update 20181024

An Australian soldier scans the horizon in Iraq. Phot by Specialist Eric Cerami, US Army, Oct 1, 2018.

SOF News Update 20181024 – stabilization review – LL, OSS Society dinner, Russia in Africa, Finland’s navy, SOF candidates running for office, webcast event on AMISOM, French Murene SLV diver propulsion device, second Navy SEAL charged, SOF operator killed in insider attack in Afghanistan, USACAPOC’s DCG retires, OCO funding, stabilizing Libya, Army’s LL on Iraq war, Iraqi CTS deputy cdr at USSOCOM, Afghanistan – war without end, Thracian Sword, and more.

SOF News

OSS Society Dinner. The Office of Strategic Services conducts a dinner periodically in Washington, D.C. Usually an annual gathering – it draws a cross-section of those who served in the Intelligence Community as well as special operations. Read “The strategic revels of the OSS Society”, The Washington Times, October 21, 2018.

Another Navy SEAL Charged. Authorities in California charged a second SEAL in connection with the ongoing war crimes probe against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. It appears that Lt. Jacob Portier was complicit in ‘covering up’ the activities of Gallagher. Read “Second Navy SEAL charged in war crimes probe”, Navy Times, October 22, 2018.

Thracian Sword. The Bulgarian Special Forces is conducting the multinational exercise Thracian Sword. The exercise is running from 22-26 October. Nations participating are from the Southeast Europe region and include Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia / Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Albania. U.S. aviation units are supporting the exercise.

Iraqi CTS Deputy Cdr at USSOCOM. LTG Abdul-Wahab al-Saedi, the deputy commander of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, visited the United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida in October.

French Murene SLV. Read up on the Diver Propulsion Device (DPD) developed by a French manufacturer to provide support to combat divers. Used for underwater attack, infil, exfil, maritime CT, and more. (Covert Shores, Oct 22, 2018).

USSOCOM Contract to Support Force and Families. Wyle Laboratories Inc.  has been awarded a $500,000,000 contract for contractor-provided personal services and expertise to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to support the Preservation of the Force and Family Program. The support will be provided at 26 geographic locations inside and outside of the continental U.S.

USACAPOC’s DCG Retires. The deputy commanding general of the United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command has retired. Brigadier General Richard Sele ended his 33 year career with the U.S. Army during a ceremony on October 20, 2018 at Fort Bragg, NC. (USACAPOC DVIDS, Oct 22, 2018).

Mid-Term Elections and SOF Candidates. The elections are just weeks away with seats for governors, senators, and representatives contested by Republicans, Democrats, and independents. A lot of veterans are running for office; some of the former members of special operations units. There is an organization that is supporting the election of some of the SOF candidates. (editor’s note: not sure of the political bias of the organization). Learn more about Special Operations for America at https://so4a.org/ .

National Defense

Stabilization and CA. A host of authors provide their perspective on the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) conducted this past year. Read “A New U.S. Framework for Stabilization: Opportunities for Civil Affairs”, Small Wars Journal, October 22, 2018.

Report – OCO Funding. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published a report that analyzes how the DoD funding for military conflicts has been utilized over time. Nothing about SOF in this report. If you are an accountant or bean counter it could probably be remotely interesting. Read Funding for Overseas Contingency Operations and Its Impact on Defense Spending, CBO, October 23, 2018.


Russia Stepping it Up in Africa. It appears that Russia is becoming more engaged in Africa with the sending of military equipment and instructors to Central African Republic (CAR). There are quite a few Russian private security contractors in CAR already. The nation has experienced over five years of internal conflict between Christian and Muslim groups. (Reuters, Oct 19, 2018).

Webcast Event – “The Future of AMISOM”. The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) is hosting a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 that will address the evolution, challenges, and future of the African Union Mission in Somalia. You can learn about the webcast here.

Stabilizing Libya. James Carafano and Joshua Meservey say the U.S. should be come even more involved in the Libya conflict. Using its diplomatic might the US could work to get the international community to agree to a political settlement of the internal conflict. See “America Needs to Stabilize Libya”The Hill, October 19, 2018.

Europe, NATO, and . . . Russia

Finland’s Naval Power Boosted. The Baltic Sea is emerging as an increasingly strategic area and Finland is strengthening its naval presence in the area. (Defense News, Oct 20, 2018).

Middle East

U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The close relationship that the United States has with one of its Middle East allies is in jeopardy due to the recent killing of a Washington Post journalist who was based in the United States. Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in Middle East security and assists the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts. Read more in a Fact Sheet published by the U.S. Department of State entitled U.S. Security Cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

Army’s Lessons Learned Report on Iraq. An unpublished study of the performance of the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 has been completed (in 2016) . . . but not published. Read more in “The Army Stymied Its Own Study of the Iraq War”, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2018.


“South Asia Strategy” is Working? Colonel Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday that the South Asia Strategy is working and that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are continuing to improve. Hmmmm. (Defense One, Oct 22, 2018).

Another Insider Attack. An Afghan Commando killed a special operation from the Czech Republic 601st Special Forces Group on Monday, October 22nd, in Shindand, Herat province, Afghanistan. This incident brings to four the number of Czech soldiers who have died in Afghanistan in 2018. Two other Czech special operators were wounded in the attack. This is the second insider attack in one week. Last Thursday a U.S. general was wounded in an attack that killed Afghan LTG Abdul Razik.

War Without End. Robert Cassidy, PhD and retired US Army colonel, says our tactical and operational successes in Afghanistan are squandered because we lack a viable strategy. Read his thoughts in “How Did Afghanistan Become a War Without End?”, Modern War Institute at West Point, October 23, 2018.


Mercenaries? Not so Much. Simon Frankel Pratt provides his perspective on the use of a private company registered in the state of Delaware by the UAE to conduct targeted killings in Yemen. He seems to think it is a bad idea. He is a researcher on private contracting in the intelligence and defense community. Read “What Should We Make of Elite American Mercenaries in Yemen?” War on the Rocks, October 23, 2018.


Photo: An Australian soldier scans the horizon in Iraq. Photo by Specialist Eric Cerami, US Army, Oct 1, 2018.

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