Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world.
Photo / Image: 308th Rescue Squadron pararescumen climb into the back of a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-47G Chinook helicopter into Banana River, Florida, Feb. 15, 2023, during combat search and rescue training. The 160th SOAR’s mission is to organize, equip, train, resource and employ Army special operations aviation forces worldwide in support of contingency missions and combatant commanders. (Staff Sgt. Darius Sostre-Miroir).
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Reassignment of Rear Adm. Milton J. Sands III. He will be assigned as chief of staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Sands is currently serving as commander, Special Operations Command Africa.
New SOCAFRICA Cdr. Rear Adm. (lower half) Ronald A. Foy, will be assigned as commander, Special Operations Command Africa. Foy is currently serving as deputy director, Global Operations, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
Advanced Mortar System Used by CSOJTF-L. A computer-assisted 120mm mortar turret system is providing special operations forces of the Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force – Levant based at remote locations in the Middle East an extra layer of defense. “Futuristic Mortar Turret Seen in Action at U.S. Special Ops Base in Syria”, by Joseph Trevithick, The WarZone, February 21, 2023.
Navy SEAL Dies in Parachute Accident. A sailor died on February 19, 2023 after a military free fall training accident in Arizona. Chief Special Warfare Operator Michael Ernst was assigned to a Naval Special Warfare East Coast-based unit. Ernst enlisted in the Navy in August 2009. “Naval Special Warfare sailor dies in training accident”, Navy Times, February 21, 2023.
NSWG-1 Medical Unit. The Naval Special Warfare Group 1 has state-of-the-art medical facilities located at Coronado, California. Read more in “Naval Special Warfare, Naval Medical Center San Diego Enhance Partnership“, DVIDS, February 16, 2023.
919th SOW and a Brewery. Three loadmasters of the 919th Special Operations Wing, Duke Field, Florida have opened a brewery on Florida’s Emerald Coast. “Friendship turns into business for Citizen Air Commandos”, Air Force Reserve Command, February 9, 2023.
CST’s of Afghanistan. Jaclyn “Jax” Scott writes about the double standards and disparate treatment by Veterans Affairs against U.S. female soldiers who served on Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) in Afghanistan. “We Are Abandoning the Women of the Special Forces”, Special Operations Association of America, February 21, 2023.
Oops, USSOCOM’s Server Open to Public. Approximately three terabytes of internal military emails pertaining to the US Special Operations Command were accessible to the public and not password protected. “Misconfigured server exposes Defense Department Data”, The Cyberwire, February 22, 2023.
JSOC Intel Officer Pleads Guilty. A Lt. Col. (Ret) who served as an intelligence officer with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) will be sentenced for his actions in ‘taking classified documents home’. He faces up to ten years in prison. “Retired U.S. Air Force Officer Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Retention of Classified National Defense Information”, Department of Justice, February 24, 2023.
7th SFG(A) Veteran to Get New Home. A medically retired Green Beret will soon be receiving an adaptive home. “SOF Members Reunite for Different Mission”, 919th Special Operations Wing, February 23, 2023.
160th SOAR Awards. Members of the Night Stalkers were recognized for their participation in four different operations between 2019 and 2022. More than 50 of the Army’s most elite aviators and their support personnel received awards in a recent ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. “Special ops aviation unit presents dozens of valor, combat awards”, Army Times, February 22, 2023.
137th SOW and Emergency Response. The 137th Special Operations Wing conducted a major accident resonse exercise at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City, on February 8, 2023. “137th SOW, OKC first responders conduct tornado response exercise”, DVIDS, February 22, 2023.
Norway and Covert Ops. Seymour Hersh, an American journalist, recently floated a story that Norway played a role in the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines. He also says that Norway supported U.S. Navy SEALs and the Central Intelligence Ageny in the conduct of raids along the North Vietnamese coastline over 60 years ago. “Covert Operations in Vietnam: The Incomplete History of U.S.-Norway Collaboration”, Countercurrents.org, February 23, 2023.
Afghan SOF in Ukraine? When the Afghan government collapsed after the defeat of the Afghan Army in the summer of 2021 there were many who advocated that Afghan special operations troops be recruited by the U.S. to fight in the Ukraine as part of an “Afghan foreign legion”. This effort did not get much headway and died a quick death. However, maybe the Russians have figured it out. “US-trained Afghan special forces recruited by Wagner Group in Ukraine”, The Cradle, February 25, 2023.
Ukrainian SOF Receive Estonian Equipment. The Defence Minister of Estonia arrived in Kyiv on Sunday (26 Feb 2023) on the occassion of the delivery of themal imagers, pistols, rifles, and UAVs. “Estonian Defence Minister visits Kyiv and hands over aid package to Special Operations Forces”, Yahoo!, February 26, 2023.
Western SF in Sahel. Oscar Rosengren provides an interesting article about Western special Forces that have been committed to stemming the Salafist expansion in the SAHEL region of Africa. He covers a wide range of topics to include the European SF in the region, the TSCTP, US Special Operations Command Africa, Operation Juniper Shield, the Flintlock exercise, and more. “Western Special Forces in the Sahel”, Grey Dynamics, February 24, 2023. See also “Sahel Security 2023: United States Forecast”, Grey Dynamics, February 25, 2023.
U.S. Navy SEALs. Peter Suciu provides some history about the Navy SEALs to include some of its recent operations in the past few years. “U.S. Navy SEALs: The U.S. Military’s Ultimate Weapon”, 1945, September 21, 2023.
SF in El Salvador and Afghanistan. A paper done by Brian King during his attendence at the Army Sergeants Major Academy in 2008 has been posted online. Entitled “Special Forces in El Salvador and Afghanistan” – the pub is 10 pages long, PDF.
Operation Bunghole. On February 27, 1944, a five-man team from the OSS parachuted into Malo Ticevo, Yugoslavia to establish a weather station. Operation Bunghole consisted of members of the OSS and USAAF specialists. Yugoslavia was occupied by the Germans at the time. https://codenames.info/operation/bunghole-ii/
Jump onto Corregidor. On February 26, 1945, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) secured the island fortress (Wikipedia) of Corregidor after two weeks of fighting. It was assisted by the 34th Infantry Regiment, a unit that made a seaborne assault.
Managing Risk for SOF. Tim Ball, a U.S. Army Special Forces officer, writes on how the change in focus to great power competition means the special operations forces may find themselved committed to operations that are likely to have less support and potentially have far more risk. “Managing Risk for Special Operations Forces in Large-Scale Combat Operations”, War on the Rocks, February 21, 2023.
SOF and AI. Kelley Jhong argues that with the advance of technology the special operations community will need to acquire greater in-depth knowledge of artificial intelligence to effectively and responsibly use military technologies that will increasingly fuse with decision-making processes. “Special Operations Forces Require Greater Proficiency in Artificial Intelligence”, War on the Rocks, February 23, 2023.
The Adaptability of Special Forces Organizations. Pierre Jean Dehaene is a PhD candidate at King’s College London and a soldier in the Belgian Army with a special operations background. He writes about the need for SOF organizations to adapt to the pressures of the world; to not be complacent. “The Building Blocks of a Special Forces Organism: Variation, Selective Pressure, and a Replication of a Soldier’s Perspective”, Small Wars Journal, February 21, 2023.
Nick Turse on U.S. Military Training in Africa. Turse never misses an opportunity to slam the U.S. military’s involvement in affairs overseas – especially when it comes to special operations forces in Africa. Read his latest in “How Many More Governments Will American-Trained Soldiers Overthrow?”, Rolling Stone, February 25, 2023.
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April 5-6, 2023. San Diego, California
April 14-16, 2023. Fort Benning, Georgia
Best Ranger Competion
May 8-11, 2023. Tampa, Florida
May 16-18, 2023. Fort Bragg, NC and via Zoom
Geostrategic Symposium 2023
May 22-26, 2023. Indianapolis, Indiana
Special Forces Association Convention
May 31, 2023. Ijamsville, MD
6th Annual Golf Tournament
Three Rangers Foundation
Podcasts, Videos, Pubs, and Movies
Video – Flintlock 2023 Exercise. The annual Flintlock exercise will soon kick off in Africa where SOF units from many nations take part in honing their skills and TTPs. Here is a short 30 second video by Special Operations Command Africa on some of the training that will take place. (DVIDS, 15 Feb 2023).
Pub – Joint Concept for Competing. This unclassified 91-page document was recently published. Learn more about it at Small Wars Journal, February 26, 2023.
SOFCAST. United States Special Operations Command
The Pinelander. Blacksmith Publishing
The Indigenous Approach. 1st Special Forces Command
Irregular Warfare Podcast. Modern War Institute at West Point