Special Operations News Update – Monday, April 19, 2021

EC-130J Commando Solo

Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world. SOF ethics, SF social media, Delta and WV, SOF in the Arctic, international SOF, Best Ranger competition, ARSOF in Europe, SOF history, podcasts, videos, and books.

SOF News

Less Deployments, More Ethics Training. The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is trying to get the deployment frequency down for its special operators . . . and providing more opportunity to take part in ethics training. In January 2020 USSOCOM published its Comprehensive Review of SOF Culture and Ethics. This 69-page report provided findings and recommended actions. Journalist Stephen Losey updates us on the efforts to implement the recommendations. “After War Zone Scandals, Special Operators Are Curbing Deployments and Investing in Ethics Training”, Military.com, April 12, 2021.

SOF and Private Facebook Forums. NBC News reviewed posts from four private Facebook groups that describe themselves as solely for current and former special forces members. It isn’t a flattering news article. “In secret Facebook groups, America’s best warriors share racist jabs, lies about 2020, even QAnon theories”, NBC News, April 16, 2021.

Commentary – ARSOF and DoS in Europe. Two Army officers argue that there should be greater collaboration between Army Special Operations Forces and the Department of State in the European theater. They believe that providing ARSOF personnel to embassies on a long-term basis (36 months) would contribute to the U.S. interagency effort, strengthen the Foreign Internal Defense (FID) programs in the region, and synchronize strategic communications. “Rethinking Army Special Operations Forces – Department of State Partnership in Europe”, Small Wars Journal, April 18, 2021.

Green Beret Foundation – Job Openings. The GBF has two current job openings for a Veterans Service Officer. One is located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the other at Fort Carson, Colorado. Both are full-time positions. Remote work is encouraged during COVID. Contact ops @ greenberetfoundation.org at the Green Beret Foundation for more information. Closing date for submittal of cover letter and resume is NLT 30 April 2021.

Enlisted Female Airman Enters CTT Training. For the first time a female member of the Air Force will start formal training to be an Air Force Combat Controller. She recently completed the four-week assessment and selection course. Currently there are four female officer and enlisted members attempting to complete the demanding selection and qualification courses in Air Force special warfare professions (CTT, PJ, SR, and TACP). No female members have successfully completed the training although the training has been open to women since 2015. “First enlisted woman qualifies for formal combat controller training”, Air Force Times, April 15, 2021.

Best Ranger Competition. Team 34, 1st Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys, won the title of ‘Best Ranger‘ at Fort Benning, Georgia. 51 two-man teams were in the competition – an extremely physical series of events. This is the first time that a team from the 75th Ranger Regiment has won since 2017. (Coffee or Die Magazine, Apr 19, 2021).

Delta and the West Virginia Mountains. Delta Force, part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), has an extremely hard selection and assessment process that is held in the mountains of West Virginia. The grueling month-long event is divided into three phases. The final phase is the ‘Long Walk’. (Yahoo! News, Apr 13, 2021).

‘Fatal Vision’ – SF Doc to Stay in Prison. An ex-Army captain who has spent much of his life in prison will remain there. In 1979 Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of killing his pregnant wife, and two young daughters in 1970 while assigned to a Special Forces unit as a doctor. “No Release for Ex-Officer Guilty in ‘Fatal Vision’ Murders”, Military.com, April 11, 2021.

US SOF and Arctic Training. The various special operations forces of the United States are now focusing more attention on winter warfare skills and techniques. “How Delta, Rangers, and the Green Berets’ unique training would pay off in an Arctic war with Russia”, Yahoo! News, April 15, 2021.

New 10th SFG(A) Winter Warfare Course. the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at Fort Carson, Colorado has revamped its winter warfare courses to maintain the group’s operational detachments capabilities in a cold and mountainous environment. The Winter Warfare Detachment of 10th SFG(A) has designed training for backcountry mobility, avalanche awareness, winter survival, snowmobile operations, and small unit tactics on skis and snowmobiles. “WWD introduces new winter training”, Fort Carson Mountaineer, April 16, 2021.

Jolly Green II. The USAF’s next combat rescue helicopter has finished developmental testing. The HH-60W had its first flight in May 2019. “Jolly Green II Finishes Developmental Test”, Air Force Magazine, April 15, 2021.

Murders of Green Berets on FBNC. Seth Harp has penned a long article about 44 soldiers of Fort Bragg that have died due to suicide or murders over the past several years. Featured throughout the story is Green Beret William Lavigne who died over a year ago – shot multiple times and then left on a FBNC training range. “The Fort Bragg Murders”, Rolling Stone, April 18, 2021.

USACAPOC(A) Best Warrior Competition. The United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) conducted a 3-day Best Warrior Competition at Fort Jackson, South Carolina from April 8-10, 2021. The events included the ACFT, rifle competition, TCCC, land nav, ruck march, and others. “USACAPOC(A) Best Warriors 2021”, DVIDS, April 16, 2021.

SEAL Team on CBS – One More Season? The star of the CBS drama SEAL Team, David Boreanaz, is urging the network to renew the show for yet another season. It hit the screens in the fall of 2017. (Deadline, Apr 16, 2021).

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International SOF

Zimbabwe SF in Mozambique. At the end of March a contingent of Special Forces from Zimbabwe was deployed to northern Mozambique to assist in clearing the town of Palma of Islamist insurgents. The element was about 50 personnel in numbers from the One Commando Regiment. This unit was once called the One Commando Battalion and prior to that was known as the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI). The unit has a training curriculum that includes river crossings, mountain climbing, reconnaissance, anti-hijacking, sniping, bush craft, and more. The unit has deployed during the Mozambique Civil War (1980s and 1990s) and the Second Congo War (1998 – 2002). “Zimbabwe Deploys Reconnaissance Special Forces to Mozambique”, The Zimbabwe Mail, April 17, 2021.

Australian SAS in the News. An Australian colonel responsible for reforming Australian special forces culture has been implicated in compromising photos at the Fat Lady’s Army Bar in Afghanistan from the 2009 timeframe. The officer has been appointed as director of the Defence Special Operations Training and Education Centre – which, in part, is leading the effort for cultural reform across elite regiments. On another note, a decision to strip awards from special forces troops due to the Brereton inquire (abuses by Australian special forces in Afghanistan) has been reversed. More than 3,000 soldiers had awards taken away due to the actions of almost 25 soldiers involved in alleged murders of Afghan civilians and prisoners. “Dutton ensures Afghan veterans keep medals”, Canberra Times, April 19, 2021.

TF Takuba. Maria Garcia Ribera provides a detailed look at Task Force Takuba. The special forces unit made up of SOF units from several European countries was established in early 2020. The TF provides advice, assistance, and support for Mali’s armed forces and is part of the Coalition for Sahel. “Task Force Takuba: Special Forces in the Sahel”, Grey Dynamics, April 12, 2021.

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SOF History

Video – SOG Prairie Fires Stories. John “Tilt” Stryker-Meyer is featured in this video about MACV SOG – a secret special operations organization operating in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Studies and Operations Group had a casualty rate above 100%. Savage Game Design, April 13, 2021, 2 hours.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAhUTVX_9Dc

SOG – A Somber New Year’s Day in 1969 in Vietnam. John Stryker Meyer tells the story of a secret mission into Laos by Recon Team Diamondback. Three Green Berets lost their lives on that mission. “New Year’s Day 1969”, History MACV-SOG, April 13, 2021.

SOF and Strategic Sabotage. This article provides a brief history of sabotage from World War I to the present. Read “Strategic sabotage is coming to a global conflict near you”, Connecting Vets, April 9, 2021.

Operation Viking Hammer. Seven Green Berets were awarded the Silver Star for an operation that resulted in the destruction of the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam in northern Iraq. The March 2003 operation was a combined effort of 40 U.S. Special Forces members and a CIA paramilitary team deployed to northern Iraq. They were advising a large force of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. “The Special Forces op that supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq”, We are the Mighty, March 19, 2021.

Cold War and Intelligence. According to Robert Gates, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a scary part about the long-running confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union “. . . was the lack of understanding on each side of the mentality of the other.” Good intelligence alleviated that concern to a certain extent. “The Importance of Western and Soviet Espionage in the Cold War”, E-International Relations, April 14, 2021.

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Coronavirus and the Military

Coronavirus in the U.S. The global death toll from COVID-19 has reached over 3 million. The U.S., followed by Brazil and Mexico, leads the world in COVID-19 deaths. The average life expectancy in the United States plunged in the first half of 2020 – most of the reduction linked to COVID-19. According to the National Center for Health Statistics a person born in the U.S. now could expect to live to 77.8 years compared to 78.8 years in 2019. This statistic is based on data from Jan to Jun 2020. When the numbers come in for all of 2020 it is expected the decline will be even worse. The US stumbled early in the pandemic in convincing enough people to employ prevention measures; however the vaccine rollout has been successful to a large degree. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is temporarily on hold due to concerns about it causing blood clots. From an economic standpoint the country seems to be recovering in early 2021. Jobless claims fell to the lowest level of the pandemic, stocks are at new highs, and retail sales were in up March.

Coronavirus in the Military. In the early months of the pandemic the US military response to coronavirus was immediate and comprehensive. Some of the impacts of COVID-19 will have lasting or permanent changes to how the Department of Defense will conduct business. Many military courses – like JSOU online classes – that were once resident but went online may stay online. The special operations selection and qualification course – like the training at Naval Special Warfare Center – will probably keep some safety measures once the pandemic subsides.

Great Power Competition GPC

Great Power Competition or 2 + 3

Top Weapon? Cyber. The top adversaries of the United States – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – are employing cyber warfare as a weapon of choice. Cyber – combined with all other aspects of irregular warfare has proven to be effective. The latest DNI intelligence threat assessment provides examples of how cyber is used against the U.S. “DNI: Cyber is the Common Weapon Among Top Adversaries”, Air Force Magazine, April 17, 2021.

Buildup in the Arctic. Climate change has focused greater attention on the Arctic region. Newly opened shipping lanes (yes, the ice cap is slowly melting), greater access to minerals, and large gas and oil reserves that are now accessible have nations scrambling to gain influence in the region. Russia is leading the effort to increase its military presence in the area and that has members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization concerned. “Russian military buildup in the Arctic has northern NATO members uneasy”, Defense News, April 12, 2021. A recent policy paper highlights the Russian and Chinese ambitions in the Arctic region – Great Power Competition in the Arctic, by Nancy Teeple, Network for Strategic Analysis (Canada), April 13, 2021. Another report explores China’s ambitions and activities in the Arctic – Northern Expedition, Brookings Institute, April 2021, PDF, 72 pages. Still another report by Gabriella Gricius on the same topic – “Arctic Great Power Competition: The United States, Russia, and China”, Global Security Review, April 12, 2021.

China

Chinese Social Media Targets Taiwan. The manipulation of social media by China to influence events in Taiwan is well documented. Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga and Jessica Drun examine this topic in detail. “Exploring Chinese Military Thinking on Social Media Against Taiwan”, China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation, April 12, 2021.

Book – Chinese Espionage. A ‘must read’ book on China is Chinese Communist Espionage – An Intelligence Primer. It provides a detailed encyclopedic review and current assessment of Chinese intelligence activities. (American Defense News, Apr 16, 2021).

Russia

Russia – Ukraine Update. The buildup of Russian troops on the eastern Ukraine border is continuing – prompting concerns by Western officials who are ‘warning’ Russia not to take rash action. While many are raising the alarm about Russian intentions some senior military officers believe that it is just saber rattling – and Russian sending a message to the new U.S. president. A recent article has been published about a national network of Ukrainian irregular military units that are prepared to conduct a protracted guerrilla fight if overrun by Russia. “Ukraine’s Unconventional Warfare Plan to Resist a Russian Invasion”, Coffee or Die Magazine, April 13, 2021. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army is continuing its training mission in the Ukraine. One activity is the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U) located at the Collective Training Center in Yavoriv, Ukraine. Elements of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team just assumed command of JMTG-U in April 2021.

Russian Sanctions. The Biden administration has imposed additional sanctions on Russia – blaming it for the hacking operation that breached some of the country’s largest corporations and several U.S. government agencies. The sanctions were also tied to Russian disinformation and interference in the 2020 presidential election. One of the actions is the expulsion of ten Russian spies working in the U.S. Intel experts believe that the Russians will certainly respond in kind and that the US action is more bluster than punishment. The ten suspected SVR officers are only .5% of the 150 plus spies working under diplomatic cover at the Russian embassy, consulates, and at the UN. Many more are in the US with nondiplomatic cover.

Pub – Russia’s War in Syria. A 182-page report assesses Russian military capabilities and lessons learned in the war in Syria. The report consists of seven chapters by several subject-matter experts. The authors closely examine the various roles that Russia and its military forces have played in the Syrian civil war and fight against the Islamic State. Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), April 2021.

Russian IO, Baltic States, and US Strategy. Sandor Fabian and Janis Berzins state that a lot of attention is given to hybrid warfare activities by Russia. However, they note that the “overwhelming focus of Western strategy remains building a more lethal, kinetic force.” The authors of this article believe that the US and other Western nations need to develop a comprehensive strategy and effective toolbox for information operations and other nonkinetic forms of competition. “Striking the Right Balance: How Russian information operations in the Baltic States should inform US strategy in great power competition”, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 12, 2021.

Iran

Iran’s Nuclear Program. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have been taking place in Vienna. It is doubtful if the nuclear deal can be revitalized – the US has very little ‘effective’ leverage on Iran that seems to work; although the sanctions on oil revenue has certainly taken its toll. Complicating the issue is the recent attack – apparently by Israel – that damaged Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility.

Iran’s Threat Network. Tens of thousands of fighters spread across the Middle East and South Asia have become a formidable force for Iran. The Iran Threat Network (ITN) provides the capability to have a presence and project power in these regions. The ITN is a potent deterrent for use against the United States. A recent RAND pub provides recommendations for the US to counter the ITN. The Iran Threat Network (ITN): Four Models of Iran’s Nonstate Client Partnerships”, RAND Corporation, 2021, PDF, 27 pages.
https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR4231.html

Korea

Korea and Its Nukes. The development of nuclear weapons systems (missiles and warheads) continues in North Korea. In time, this could be a significant threat to the U.S. homeland. Efforts to achieve the disarmament of North Korea’s nuclear weapons through negotiations have been failing. A recent RAND paper explains the topic in detail. Countering the Risks of North Korean Nuclear Weapons, RAND Corporation, 2021, PDF, 118 pages.
https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1015-1.html

A New North Korea Policy? David Maxwell, a retired Special Forces officer, writes that the Biden administration’s new Korea policy will probably focus on implementing the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions to achieve North Korea’s nuclear disarmament. “Anticipating the Biden Administration’s New North Korea Policy”, The National Interest, April 12, 2021.

Terrorism

Terrorism in Africa. As the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq many will think we are ending our long-running ‘Global War on Terrorism’ or GWOT. However, the U.S. is still involved in the fight against terrorism in Africa.

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National Security

Border Crisis. President Biden has picked a progressive police chief from Tucson, Arizona to head up the Customs and Border Protection agency. Chris Magnus has been an advocate of community policing efforts. He will have his work cut out for him – the border is being overrun by aliens crossing over the border seeking asylum in the United States. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on April 12, 2021 that provides an assessment of the Department of Homeland Security’s border security improvement plan.

New Appointees. Christine Abizaid has been nominated by President Biden to head the National Counterterrorism Center. She has spent many years in defense and intelligence related jobs. (HS Today, Apr 14, 2021). Christine Wormuth, a former top Defense Department official, has been nominated to be Army Secretary. She is currently director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. Dr. Mara Karlin has been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilties.

Annual Threat Assessment. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has published the latest assessment of the US intelligence community. PDF, 27 pages, April 9, 2021. 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Global Special Operations Foundation

Afghanistan

Withdrawal – 20 Years Later. President Biden has announced that the United States will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. This is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Some are questioning the choice of date. The Biden administration seems to think it is symbolic. The Taliban probably have the same view. Some news reports indicate most of the withdrawal will take place by July or August. This appears to be the end of U.S. involvement in the “Forever War”. Of course, Afghanistan – suffering from 40 years of constant conflict – will certainly continue to be a nation at war.

CT Capability. The Biden administration is hinting at maintaining the ability to hit terrorist targets in Afghanistan even though it will withdraw its military forces in September 2021. Some observers speculate that a special operations CT platform would remain in Afghanistan (Bagram Air Field?) or be positioned in an adjacent country (Central Asia?).

Remote Advising Effort? Alexander Powell and Jonathan Schroden explore the possibility of establishing a long-term, over-the-horizon advisory support organization that would not encompass a ‘boots on the ground’. If only we had a reservoir of personnel with significant Afghan experience (language, culture, advisory functions, etc.) – we could call it ‘Afghan Hands‘ or something like that. Read more in “Troops are Leaving Afghanistan. Can the U.S. Still Advise Afghan Security Forces?”, Real Clear Defense, April 14, 2021.

Will Contractors, SF, CIA (and Mercenaries) Remain? Jeremy Kuzmarov provides an interesting (and clickbait type) article about how the U.S. might continue operations in Afghanistan even though it would pull out its military. “Biden’s Claim to be Ending America’s Longest War Misleading”, Covert Action Magazine, April 15, 2021. (You will need to separate the wheat from the chaff).

Assisting Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters. Douglas Livermore, a Special Forces officer, argues that the United States government has not done enough to assist the interpreters who served with US military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq during the decades long counterinsurgency efforts. Now these interpreters are being hunted down and killed by terrorists and insurgents in both countries because of the services they offered to the US military. Livermore says that the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program has been plagued by inefficiencies, under resourced, and indifferent to the dangers that former interpreters are facing in their home countries. A new television show, The United States of Al, about an Afghan interpreter who comes to American to live with his Marine friend highlights the importance of interpreters to US military operations overseas. President Biden has ordered a review of the SIV program. Hopefully this will ensure proper resourcing, oversight and execution of the program. Livermore provides a lot of details in his article entitled “Fulfilling Our Duty to Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters is a Matter of Honor – and of National Security”, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 13, 2021.

Taliban’s Return. Brahma Chellaney cautions that the withdrawal of US military forces in Afghanistan will lead to the the capture of Kabul by the Taliban during the Biden administrations time in office. “Global Terror and the Taliban’s Return”, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, April 13, 2021.

A Taliban Victory Near? In a recent article Carter Malkasian states that over the last six months the Taliban have won major battles and captured large areas of the countryside. The Afghan National Army is suffering losses. He believes that the Taliban will probably capture most of the south and east of the country in the months following the September 2021 departure of US troops. Malkasian is a former Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and has spent considerable time in Afghanistan. “The Taliban Are Ready to Exploit America’s Exit”, Foreign Affairs, April 14, 2021.

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Africa

The Mozambique insurgents have vacated the northern city of Palma and government troops now occupy the coastal city. Conflict continues in Ethiopia, the Sahel, Somalia, and other areas of Africa.

DoD Review of Manda Bay Attack. In January 2020 militants from al-Shabaab attacked a U.S. facility in northern Kenya. Three Americans died in the attack on Manda Bay and several special operations aircraft were damaged. The Department of Defense has announced that a four-star general officer will conduct an independent review of the USAFRICOM investigation into the incident. General Paul Funk, the CG of TRADOC, will conduct the review. (DoD, Apr 12, 2021).

Somalia. The presidential election has been delayed by two years. The current president was given a two year mandate to continue in office. This sets the stage for a severe political crisis to develop. The political parties are at odds with each – with one faction threatening to form a ‘parallel government’. The security organizations may fracture along clan lines. “Somalia: Averting a Descent into Political Violence”, International Crisis Group, April 6, 2021. Al Shabaab is attacking in areas close to Somalia’s capital city.

Upcoming Events

April 28, 2021. Online Event.
“Oh So Social: Conversation Series”
Discussion of Special Duties Pilot
OSS Society

May 4-7, 2021. Alabama to Florida
5th Annual Rucking for Raiders Memorial March
Rucking for Raiders

May 5-6, 2021. Virtual Forum
The Future of SOF in Strategic Competition: A Look at the Indo-Pacific and Beyond
Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)

May 14, 2021. Charlotte, North Carolina
Patriot Classic Tactical
Green Beret Foundation

May 17, 2021. Tampa, Florida
7th Global SOF Anniversary Reception
Global SOF Foundation

May 17-21, 2021. Virtual
Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) 2021
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)

May 26, 2021. Ijamsville, Maryland
4th Annual Golf Tournament
Three Rangers Foundation


Guest Writers for SOF News

SOF News welcomes the submission of articles for publication. If it is related to special operations, current conflicts, national security, or defense then we are interested.


Books about Special Forces Training

Books, Pubs, and Reports

Book – SF in Lebanon. During the Lebanese Civil War in the early 1980s Special Forces teams from the 10th Special Forces Group conducted Mobile Training Missions (MTTs) in that country. A new book has been published that recounts the MTTs of that period. The book has 160 pages full of photos, maps, documents, and first person memories of the MTT missions. 10th Special Forces Group (A) in Beirut, Lebanon (1983). The book can be ordered at: https://beirut1983.com/

Sentinel. The April 2021 issue of the Sentinel has been published. This online journal by Chapter 78 of the Special Forces Association offers some interesting reading. One article is a story about Paul Revere’s spy ring on the 277th anniversary of his midnight ride to warn colonialists about the movement of British troops to Lexington and Concord to seize weapons and ammunition. Other articles are about a visit to the Son Tay POW camp and a tribute to SGM Bruce Long (President of SFA Chapter 78). (PDF, 16 pages).

McRaven’s New Book. A former commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has penned a book that goes on sale this month. The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived recounts the experiences of McRaven during his decades of service in the Navy SEALs, JSOC, and other organizations. “Former head of Special Operations Command explores tragedy and forgiveness in latest book”, War is Boring, April 13, 2021.

JSOM Newsletter. The April 2021 issue of the Journal of Special Operations Medicine Newsletter is now posted online. The pub is an informational source for those engaged in operational medicine and tactical casualty care. This months issue contains info on podcasts, the Advanced Ranger First Responder Handbook, the USAF Special Warfare Medical Officer Course, and other important medical topics.

Infantry. The Spring 2021 issue of Infantry is now posted online. Articles cover the topics of the infantry sergeant, EIB, airborne leader radios, value of the SFAB, building a unit combatives program, refining marksmanship methodology, the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader Course, CTC rotations, battle of Corregidor, and the Army’s culture of fitness.

TC 3-22.69, Advanced Situational Awareness. The Army has published an intriguing manual on how soldiers can develop a skills approach to critical thinking, problem-solving, and analysis when it comes to human behavior and their surrounding environment. This knowledge of enhanced observation techniques equips the individual and unit with a ‘left-of-bang’ capability. In the 2012-2013 timeframe insider attackers were prevalent in Afghanistan. ISAF took a number of approaches to mitigate the instances of Afghan soldiers and police attacking ISAF personnel. One of these approaches was the introduction of two- and five-day courses that taught ‘situational awareness’ – teaching how to recognize the potential of an impending insider attack. Fort Benning now has a course entitled Advanced Situational Awareness. The Army has published its manual on the same topic. (PDF, 316 pages).

Book Review – Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert, 1916-18. A book by Robert Johnson published by Osprey Publishing in 2020 examines the myths of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and dissects recent misapplications of Lawrence’s thinking. Johnson reveals the true nature of the desert fight in World War I and the broader contribution that Lawrence made to the understanding of irregular warfare. The book is reviewed by Major Sam Wilkins, a U.S. Army Special Forces officer. “Seven Pillars Revisited: The Myths and Misreadings of T.E. Lawrence”, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 15, 2021.

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Podcasts, Videos, and Movies

Podcast – The Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle. John Spencer and Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman have a conversation about work underway to replace the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle that was fielded forty years ago. They discuss the next family of manned and unmanned robotics that will shape the future battlefield. Coffman is the director of the Army Futures Command’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team. Urban Warfare Project Podcast, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 16, 2021, 35 minutes.
https://mwi.usma.edu/the-armys-next-generation-combat-vehicle/

Video – Swedish Home Guard Trains With U.S. Army Green Berets. Members of 10th SFG(A) conducted training to enhance interoperability and readiness. Published by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, April 16, 2021, 2 minutes.

Podcast – The Inter-Agency Approach: Civil Affairs and USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. A Civil Affairs officer and USAID official discuss humanitarian assistance and interagency relationships. The Indigenous Approach, 1st Special Forces Command, April 16, 2021, 42 minutes.

Video – Re-imagining the Professional SOF Ethic. The Joint Special Operations University held a forum in March 2021 on the special operations identity. Several panels were conducted. This video features Dr. Kari Thyne, Dr. Kevin Basik, Dr. John Caterson, and Mr. John Labuz. JSOU, posted April 15, 2021, 1 hr 16 mins.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=334EAenbolg&t=18s

Movie – Last Out. Former Green Beret Scott Mann is now a playwright who tells the story of returning home from combat and leaving the military. His play “Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret” will soon be made into a movie (coming May 2021). You can view the film trailer here. Read more about the movie in an Army Times article (Apr 13, 2021).

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Photo: An EC-130J Commando Solo from the 193rd Special Operations Squadron takes flight from Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Pa., Oct. 2, 2020. The EC-130J Commando Solo, a specially-modified four-engine Hercules transport, conducts airborne Information Operations via digital and analog radio and television broadcasts. (U.S. Air Force photo)


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About SOF News 873 Articles
SOF News provides news, analysis, commentary, and information about special operations forces (SOF) from around the world.