Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world.
New Acting SECDEF – Former Ranger. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has decided not to continue his pursuit of nomination for Secretary of Defense. (Read his statement). News reports indicate that a history of violent domestic disputes in 2010 and 2011 have taken his nomination off the table. He will be replaced by Army Secretary Mark Esper. He is a former Infantry officer who was Ranger qualified and who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War with the 101st Abn Div.
New Acting Army Secretary – Former Ranger. The shuffling of leadership at the Defense Department will leave the Secretary of the Army position vacant. Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy will likely become the acting Secretary of the Army. He is a veteran of the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. He has been in this position once before. (Army Times, June 19, 2019).
Logan Melgar Murder Trial – This Story Keeps Getting Worse. Apparently a Navy SEAL who was involved in the attack on a Green Beret in Mali – Logan Melgar – that caused his death tried to develop a romantic relationship with his widow. The incident happened in January 2019 at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Read “Navy SEAL Who Attacked Green Beret Hit on His Widow”, The Daily Beast, June 18, 2019.
Navy SEAL Trial. The trial of Eddie Gallaher has begun (Tuesday) with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony. Revealed in the beginning proceedings is that drinking alcohol when deployed in Iraq was a common occurrence for some members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon. The trial is expected to last for about two weeks. (Task and Purpose, June 18, 2019.
Mulroy on Support to Iraq. Michael Mulroy, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of the Middle East, has renewed the U.S pledge to continue support to Iraq – and stresses the importance of the worldwide coalition and a long-term security partnership to support Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State. Read a June 14th statement by Mulroy. (PDF).
Tanker War. Tracy Wilkinson, a journalist who has covered conflicts around the world, explores what a ‘modern day’ oil tanker war in the Gulf would look like. In the ‘tanker war’ of the 1980s more than 200 boats were attacked (by either Iraq or Iran). Should Iran escalate in such a war against oil shipments in the Persian Gulf or Gulf of Oman it will likely use limpet mines and ‘fast boats’. This would complicate things. Read more in “A ‘tanker war’ with Iran would be more difficult than the 1980s version”, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2019.
Jihadist Renew Pledge to Baghdadi. The Islamic State’s West Africa ‘province’ have once again pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi – the current head of the Islamic State. (The Long War Journal, June 17, 2019).
Movies and Videos
13 Hours – Re-release. The movie depicting the fight at the consulate in Benghazi is now available in digital copy. Read “Spectacular New 4K ’13 Hours’ Release Revisits the ‘Secret Soldiers of Benghazi'”, Military.com, June 10, 2019.
Fuerzas Comando ’19 Opening Ceremony. Special Forces from 19 countries are participating in a SOF competition in Chile. Watch a video of the opening ceremonies. (DoD, June 18, 2019).
Photo: TACPs support air infiltration. U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sean Meehan (left) and Staff Sgt. Kane Lawlor (right) provide cover after a tactical air insertion by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the New Jersey Army National Guard’s 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion on April 10, 2014 at Fort Dix, N.J. The New Jersey Army and Air National Guardsmen took part in a joint training exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps. Meehan and Lawlor are both tactical air control party airmen from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 227th Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)