Special Operations News Update 20190620

AFSOC Aircraft in Formation. Photo by USAF, 2017.

Current news, analysis, and commentary on special operations, national security, and conflicts from around the world.

SOF News

Great article on U.S. SOF. Topics include adapting to change, new strategy, people are critical, new roles and missions, and innovation. Read “Special operations forces and great power competition”, Deloitte Insights, June 17, 2019.

Interview – Bryant Knight (SF). A team of military veterans took part in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge – a 3,000 mile ocean rowing race. They were the first group of veterans to row across an ocean. They used the experience to highlight the issue of veteran suicide. Knight, a former ODA commander, chats about the row across the Atlantic. (Beyond the Uniform, May 27, 2019).

Visit to SOCKOR. CSM (Ret) Rick Lamb visited Korea on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Special Operations Command Korea. Read more in “There was no other place that I’d rather be!”, Global SOF Foundation, June 17, 2019.

Gallagher Trial Update. The trial of the Navy SEAL accused of killing a captive ISIS fighter is in progress. Read an update in “Navy SEAL called dead prisoner an ‘ISIS dirtbag,’ witness testifies”, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2019.

Officer Assignment. Brig. Gen. (Promotable) John W. Brennan Jr. will be assigned as deputy commander, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He most recently served as deputy commanding general (Operations), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.


Paper – Ukraine Conflict. A 24-page paper describes the current war in Ukraine. Read Land Warfare in Ukraine: Modern Battlefield of Europe, FINABEL, May 2019, PDF.

Lithuania – Deterrence by Denial. A U.S. Army Special Forces officer , Colonel Vylius Leskys, examines the precarious position of Lithuania in the face of Russia aggression. He outlines ways Lithuania can deter a Russian move on its territory in “Thornbush Strategy – Deterrence by Denial in Lithuania”, Small Wars Journal, June 17, 2019.

BALTOPS. The U.S. and NATO run a lot of military exercises in eastern and northern Europe. Some on land, some in the air, and many on the seas of the region. BALTOPS is a naval exercise that is used to ensure freedom of operations in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waterways. Read “Relearning the lessons of BALTOPS”, Navy Times, June 19, 2019.

Middle East

U.S. Drone Shot Down. Another U.S. UAV has been shot down (by Iran?). The latest was a Navy RQ-41 Global Hawk drone shot down over the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday.

Quds Force of IRGC. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a secretive foreign intervention arm called the Quds Force. Read about it in this article by We Are the Mighty, June 19, 2019.


China and Zinjiang Unrest. China is aggressively taking measures to ensure security in its most western province – Xinjiang. However, there are concerns about its security measures that have captured the attention of other nations and some international organizations. But China is defending its actions. Read “China Attacks U.S. Failings in Afghanistan and Syria to Defend ‘Peaceful’ Xinjiang”, Forbes, June 17, 2019.

Israeli-Philippine CT Training. An Israeli training team will soon be working with members of the Philippine military at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ejica. Read more in “What’s in the First Israel-Philippines Counterterrorism Training Engagement?”, The Diplomat, June 20, 2019.


The Sahel. Violence has been increasing in West Africa. Three Sahelian countries – Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso – are facing some severe problems. Food insecurity, population displacement, and jihadist violence have disrupted the lives of many. The jihadists expansion in the region has surprised many observers. Read The Sahel in Flames, The New Humanitarian, May 31, 2019.

Military News

Cutting Funding for Language Training. Whitney Kassel explains why language training is important. Read “Cutting Language Training is the Latest Foolish Retreat from Global Engagement”, Defense One, June 19, 2019.

Owning The Night. To regain dominance over the night, the U.S. military is looking at ultrarealistic virtual trainers and a slew of new devices. Read “Own the night: How new night vision tech will help Marines dominate in the dark”, Marine Times, June 17, 2019.

Videos and Podcasts

Podcast: “The Spear”. Dave Eubank, a former Ranger and SF officer, is interviewed about his organization “Free Burma Rangers” and the aid work done around the world in conflict zones. (June 19, 2019). Listen to “Delivering Aid in the Middle of a War”, Modern War Institute, June 19, 2019.


Photo: AFSOC Aircraft in Formation. Photo by USAF, 2017.

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