Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world.
Photo: CV-22 Osprey of the 21st Special Operations Squadron. Photo by SOCPAC, Oct 2022.
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SOF Base in Syria Under Attack. A remote U.S. special operations base in Syria along the Iraq and Jordan border has been targeted by Iranian-backed militias. In a recent attack on the Al-Tanf (Google maps) garrison three Americans were wounded in a rocket attack. The base was established in 2016 and sits along the M2 Baghdad-Damascus highway. It is a launchpad for CT missions, intelligence monitoring platform, and base for training activities. “A secretive US special-operations base in Syria is taking fire from a shadowy Middle East war”, by Rachel Nostrant, Business Insider, November 1, 2022.
From College Football Star to Silver Star Recipient. After graduating from Kansas State University where he played football, a Antonio Gonzalez decided to join the Army. He went infantry and several years later would be a member of the 7th Special Forces Group. Read about his career in SF. “For Veterans Day, war hero recounts lives saved in Afghanistan”, Army.mil, November 2, 2022.
Air Force Commandos – the Fight Isn’t Over for Some. Combat Control Team (CCT) members had a difficult job over the past twenty years operating alongside their special operations colleagues from the Navy SEALs and Special Forces. But the struggles continue even though the GWOT fight seems to be over. Many former combat controllers, leaving the community they lived with for so long, are now in civilian life – without the support of their fellow comrades. But there is help available. The First There Foundation provides support. “These Air Force commandos saved troops under fire for years. Now they are fighting to save their buddies”, Task and Purpose, November 2, 2022.
Defense Strategies Institute presents SOF & Worldwide Operations, December 7-8, 2022, Tampa, Florida. The 11th Annual SOF & Worldwide Symposium will convene senior level leaders and decision makers from across the Special Operations Community, regional combatant commands, Department of State, intelligence community, academia, and industry.
Navy SEAL Museum in New York. The Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum opened in June 2022 and is named after a Medal of Honor recipient killed in action during Operation Red Wings in 2005. The museum provides visitors a look at the history of naval special warfare using unique digital experiences. The interactive displays include the invasion of Normandy (D-Day), World Trade Center attacks, and many more. “Snap One is honored to serve at Navy SEAL Museum”, AV Magazine, November 2, 2022.
A Green Beret and His Poetry. Ryan Stoval, a former U.S. Army Special Forces medic, has penned a book of poetry about his three tours in combat in Afghanistan. His book, Black Snowflakes Smothering a Torch, is meant to help people learn how to better understand and interact with those who have been through war. “Former Green Beret wants his poetry to serve as a manual for talking to veterans”, Press Herald, November 6, 2022.
ARSOF – Honorary Members of the Regiment. Members of the Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations community were inducted as honorary members of their respective regiments. “Special operation forces induct notable veterans at Fort Bragg”, The Fayetteville Observer, November 4, 2022.
Al-Hajras Gun Truck for SOF. A Jordanian government research organization has developed a gun truck with a remote controlled weapons station in the front . . . where the engine is usually found on trucks. The vehicle has ballistic protection, run flat tires, infrared lights, and a 7.62mm remotely operated machine gun. The vehicle is expected to used by special forces units in the future and was displayed at the SOFEX Conference in Aqaba, Jordan on November 1, 2022. “SOFEX News: New Truck Puts Machine Gun Where Engine Should Go”, National Defense, November 2, 2022.
SAS Formation in WWII. In the early days of World War II the United Kingdom recognized the need for special operations units to conduct missions behind the enemy lines. Learn how the UK’s Special Air Service was formed during the Second World War. “How the First Military Special Force Was Formed”, History of Yesterday, November 2, 2022.
Ukraine Russia Conflict
Who Controls Russia’s Missiles? An interesting article about how Russia targets its cruise missiles against Ukraine targets is offered by Bellingcat. It is a long read but very revealing. “The Remote Control Killers Behind Russia’s Cruise Missile Strikes on Ukraine”, Bellingcat, October 24, 2022.
ISW on Ukraine. The Institute for the Study of War continues to be one of the leading sources of information about the Ukraine – Russia conflict. Read their November 5, 2022 assessment.
T-72B Tanks to Ukraine. Over 45 refurbished tanks with advanced optics, communications, and armor are on the way to Ukraine. Some of the T-72 tanks (Wikipedia) will arrive in late December with others to follow in early 2023. “Aid Package to Ukraine Includes T-72B Tanks”, DoD News, November 4, 2022.
SAG-U Command. The Pentagon is setting up a new command in Germy that is focused on the mission to help train and equip Ukraine’s military. The command is called Security Assistance Group – Ukraine and will have a staff of about 300 people. “Pentagon Unveils New U.S. Command and More Ukraine Aid”, New York Times, November 6, 2022. (subscription).
Ukraine Lessons Learned for SOF. The United States Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) is using lessons learned during the war between Ukraine and Russia. They will apply the LL to partner forces in the Indo-PACOM region. Many of these lessons learned are passed on to SOCPAC by Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). One lessons is the use of “nonstandard” platforms for sharing information. Relationship building is another lesson learned. “Special Ops Applies Ukraine Lessons to Indo-Pacific”, Signal, November 3, 2022.
Irregular Warfare and the IWFC. A number of prominent leaders in the special operations community (Charles Cleveland, Dave Maxwell, Daniel Egel, and others) have collaborated on an opinion piece describing the importance of the Irregular Warfare Functional Center (IWFC). The institution would improve the U.S. military’s understanding of IW and professionalize the next generation of U.S. leaders and staff officers. However, the devil lies in the details – or in this instance, the implementation. “Defense Department needs to capitalize on historic opportunity”, The Hill, November 6, 2022.
Spirit of America – Civilians in the Struggle. Jim Hake, of Spirt of America, is interviewed about his organization and the important work it does overseas advancing the security interests and values of the United States. Spirit of America’s efforts in Ukraine have been very appreciated by the Ukrainian military. Read more in “Spirit of America: Democracy’s Civilian Force”, Kiplinger, November 4, 2022.
Local Clans in Somalia Join the Fight. Somali’s clans have always had an impact on the security situation of that country. Now some clans located in farm and rural areas of Somali are joining the fight against al-Shabab. Government security officials say that this has made a difference in the conflict. The locals pass on reliable intelligence about al-Shabab . . . and know ‘where they live’. There is concern that the growth of the clan militias will take Somalia back to the clan wars of the 1990s. But for now . . . it appears that they may be key to degrading al-Shabab. “Somalia’s men in sarongs taking on al-Shabab militants”, by Mary Harper, BBC News, November 2, 2022.
IO – Make it an Enlisted MOS. Nestor Lora-Oriz, an IO officer with the Maryland National Guard, argues that there should be an enlisted information operations military occupational specialty. “Army leaders: Consider making information operations an enlisted MOS”, Military Times, November 4, 2022.
November 8, 2022
Webinar – By, With and Through Partner Special Forces in the Middle East. The Middle East Institute will host a panel discussion about how U.S. Special Forces, working along side partner special operations forces, was able to destroy the caliphate and severely degrade the capabilities of ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. The speakers on the panel are Katie Crombe, Michael K. Nagata, and Joseph Votel.
November 8-9, 2022. Fort Bragg, NC
Modern Warfare Week
Global SOF Foundation
November 17, 2022
JSOU Webinar – Degrade and Destroy (War against ISIS)
Joint Special Operations University
November 17-18, 2022
33rd Annual NDIA SO/LIC Symposium
December 7-8, 2022
SOF & Worldwide Operations
Defense Strategies Institute (DSI)
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