Special Operations News Update – April 10, 2023

CV-22 Ospreys

Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world.

Photo / Image: Two U.S. Air Force CV-22B Ospreys with the 352d Special Operations Wing, take off during a bilateral training exercise at Utti Air Base, Finland, March 30, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Izabella Workman)

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SOF News

Oops. Wrong Hotel Room. Apparently Boston-area FBI agents were taking part in a military exercise in downtown Boston on Tuesday night, April 4th. They were directed to apprehend and question a suspect in a hotel room. The suspect was woken from his sleep, handcuffed, placed in the room’s shower, and interrogated for 45 minutes before FBI agents realized he was not part of an exercise . . . just a Delta Airlines pilot getting some sleep. “Defense Department detains guest in hotel training mix-up”, Air Force Time, April 5, 2023. See also an article by The Drive entitled “Botched FBI, Army Special Ops Training Raid Captures Unsuspecting Hotel Guest”, April 6, 2023.

“The training was meant to enhance soldier’s skills to operate in realistic and unfamiliar environments. The training team, unfortunately, entered the wrong room and detained an individual unaffiliated with the exercise.”

Lt. Col. Mike Burns, Army Special Operations Command

RIP – Billy Waugh. A Green Beret legend has passed away. Billy Waugh was a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran who served in Korea and Vietnam before going on to a career with the Central Intelligence Agency as a paramilitary officer. He served in conflicts spanning from Korea to Afghanistan; and many in between. “Special Forces legend Billy Waugh passes away at 93”, Task & Purpose, April 4, 2023.

3rd SFG(A) and UAS Course. Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group took part in a 4-week long course in unmanned aerial systems where they learned to build and operate small aerial systems. (DVIDS, Apr 5, 2023).

Female Graduate of Ranger School. Lisa Jaster writes about her experience of being one of the earliest female students attending and graduating from the U.S. Army Ranger School. “The Power of Going All-In”, Men’s Journal, April 2, 2023.

New Cdr for 150 SOW. An ANG unit at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico has a new commander. Col. Robert “Mike” Rogers has assumed command of the 150th Special Operations Wing. “Rogers takes command of ANG Wing”, 150th SOW, April 7, 2023.

Navy SEALs and Toxic Culture. Roger Thompson, a research fellow and book author, argues that the members of Naval Special Warfare SEAL units have a “professional competency” issue. “The Navy SEALs Killed bin Laden, But They Aren’t Supermen”, CounterPunch, March 31, 2023.

AFSOC and HADR Missions. A recent article highlights the support that USAF special operations wings can provide to Humanitarian and Disaster Relief missions around the world. “USAF unit leverages special ops skills for humanitarian missions”, FlightGlobal, April 5, 2023.

Best Ranger Competition. Teams from across the Army are preparing to take part in some intense competition at Fort Benning, Georgia in April. One team hails from the U.S. Army Chemical Corps; read about how they are preparing for the competition. “Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers prepare for Best Ranger Competition”, U.S. Army, April 5, 2023.

The USMC’s MSPF. The Maritime Special Purpose Force is a specialized unit of the United States Marine Corps that is designed to perform a variety of tasks in a maritime environment. It is organized into six distinct elements, each with its own specific function. Learn about its organization, training, and mission. “A Closer look at the Marine Expeditionary Unit’s MSPF”, Spec Ops Magazine, March 31, 2023.

Bull Frog. A little known aspect of Naval Special Warfare culture is explained in “Dissecting the Bull Frog – Exploring an NSW Tradition”, DVIDS, April 6, 2023.

Army Dive Training. Much of the selection of Army divers – whether at Key West or Panama City – takes place before ever getting to either location. Read more in “How to Prepare Your Body for All Phases of Army Dive Training”, Military.com, March 2023.

AFSOC and Thai Language Training. Eight Airmen participated in a Thai language LEAP-CACE class at Hurlburt Field, Florida in March. The new course includes study in Thai language, cross-cultural communications, and negotiation strategies. “USAFSOS Partners to Forge Multi-Capable Airmen for ACE”, 492d Special Operations Wing, April 4, 2023.

Retired GB Sentenced to 7 Years. Jeremy Brown was arrested in Tampa and found guilty of having illegal weapons and possessing classified documents. The charges were related to a federal investigation into his alleged involvement in the January 6 riot in the U.S. capitol. He was active in a political group called the Oath Keepers. (Department of Justice, Apr 7, 2023).

Banner International SOF

International SOF

Senior SOF Leaders Meet in Europe. NATO Allied and partner special operations senior leaders met in Samorin, Slovakia for a NATO Special Operations Commander’s Conference from April 4-6, 2023. The newest NATO ally, Finland, had a seat at the table. The event was co-hosted by Slovak Special Operations Command and NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ). (NATO Special Operations, Apr 6, 2023).

ESTSOF and Scout Battalion Heading to Iraq. The Estonian Defense Forces will be sending members of their Scout Battalion and the Estonian Special Operations Forces to Iraq to take part in the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve. Over 100 Estonian personnel will deploy there for about six months. They will be based in the Erbil region of northern Iraq with the mission to advise and support local Iraqi security forces in the fight against the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS). “Estonian Defense Forces company to be deployed to Iraq”, ERR News, April 5, 2023.

Mexican Navy’s SMU. Learn about the history, organization, mission, training, and equipment of a unit in Mexico’s Naval Special Warfare Command. “Fuerzas Especiales (FES): Mexican Navy’s Special Mission Unit”, Grey Dynamics, April 8, 2023.

UK and Bulgarian SF Team Up. The Royal Marines of 45 Commando spent some time on an exercise in Bulgaria . . . and this was followed by a trip of Bulgarian troops to Scotland. “Bulgarian special forces team up with Royal Marines on biggest UK deployment in a decade”, Forces.net, April 6, 2023.

SOF History Banner

SOF History

WWI. April 6, 1917. The U.S. Congress votes to declare war against Germany during World War I.

PSYOP History. On April 10, 1952, the Psychological Warfare Center was established at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “It’s origins can be found in the Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) Division of the Army General School, Fort Riley, Kansas in 1950. In 1952 the Psychological Warfare Center was established at on “Smoke Bomb Hill” at FBNC.  The PSYWAR Center consisted of the Psychological Warfare School, the 6th Radio Broadcast & Leaflet Group, and the 10th Special Forces Group.”
https://specialforcestraining.info/swcs.htm

1st Special Service Force – Last Parade in Helena. It was 80 years ago that the 1st Special Service Force paraded down the streets of Helena, Montana before the unit left for additional training and eventual deployment in World War II. The force was a joint Canadian-American unit organized at Fort William Henry Harrison located just west of Helena. (Independent Record, April 6, 2023).

FBNC and a History Lost. Fort Bragg is being redesignated as Fort Liberty in June. In addition, some of the forts streets will lose their identity as well. Maps of FBNC will see some major changes in the future. Reilly Road, Randolph Street, Bragg Boulevard, Armistead Street, Alexander Street, Pelham Street, Jackson Street, Donelson Street, and Mosby Street are going into the history books . . . or perhaps, being erased from the history books. “These 9 Fort Bragg roads will be renamed”, The Fayetteville Observer, April 5, 2023.

Ukraine Russia Conflict

Ukraine Conflict

‘Gun Trucks’ for Ukraine. In an effort to counter the wide-spread use of drones by the Russians the U.S. will soon be providing an inexpensive counter-air solution to Ukraine. 30mm guns that can be mounted on the back of trucks will be sent to the country in the coming months. Kind of like the technicals found in smaller countries – big guns on pickup trucks; but better. “US providing Ukraine with 30mm gun trucks to blast Iranian drones out of the sky”, Task & Purpose, April 5, 2023.

TS Docs on Social Media. It appears that Top Secret Pentagon documents with details about the war in Ukraine have been published on some social media sites (Telegram and Twitter). The Pentagon is reviewing the matter but has not provided many details. The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the leaks. The documents include maps of Ukraine, where troops are concentrated, and the kinds of weapons available to the Ukrainian forces. Defense analysts are picking apart the posted documents determining what is real and what is fiction. “Top-secret Pentagon documents on Ukraine war appear on social media”, NPR, April 7, 2023. See also “Pentagon probing leaked docs purporting to preview Ukraine offensive”, New York Post, April 7, 2023. And this article as well . . . “Russians Accused of Doctoring Leaked Western Documents on Ukraine War”, Voice of America, April 7, 2023.

Guardsmen to Train with Ukrainian Troops. Members of the Arkansas National Guard are heading to Germany for a year-long mission. They will assume command of the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U) at Grafenwoehr where they will mentor and advise Ukrainians. “39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Work With Ukrainian Forces”, National Guard, April 6, 2023.

Europe

Putin Saves NATO. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has done more to strengthen NATO than any other evet in the past 30 years. NATO has been revived as a defense institution that can oppose Russian aggression in Europe. Learn more in “How Putin saved NATO”, The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, April 6, 2023.

Finland Joins NATO. Finland ended 75 years of neutrality and has been accepted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This is not good news for Russia; there is now another border region that Russia must defend against a NATO country. If Turkey removes its objections, then Sweden may soon join as well.

Baltic Sea Region and the Russian Threat. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has galvanized western Europe into rethinking their strategy for countering any future Russian aggression in Europe. The nations in the Baltic Sea region area especially concerned for their security. Read a detailed analysis by G. Alexander Crowther in “The Baltic Sea Region At An Inflection Point – Analysis”, NDU Press, April 8, 2023.

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National Security

The Threat from Al-Qaeda. Sara Harmouch, a researcher of terrorism, argues that the United States needs a new approach to ensure that terrorists do not attack our country. She argues that our over-the-horizon CT strategy may not apply anymore and we need to update our estimate of the capabilities and intent of today’s terrorist organizations. “Al-Qaeda’s Looming Threat: Are We Looking Over the Wrong Horizon?”, Lawfare Blog, April 4, 2023.

Army’s ISV Program. The U.S. Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle program is now going to transition to full-rate production. This Army will be acquiring 2,593 ISVs for use in in Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, Security Force Assistance Brigades, and Army Ranger units. Read more in “Infantry Squad Vehicle program approved for Full-Rate Production”, U.S. Army, April 4, 2023.

Asia

SFAB in Mongolia. Advisor teams from the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade have been getting some traveling done. Two of the SFAB teams spent some time in Mongolia on a training mission. Both CAT 5220 and MAT 5223 have been employed in Mongolia before; so it isn’t new territory for them. They have been providing daily advising at the tactical level in small unit leadership, interoperability, and NCO development. Prior to their deployment to Mongolia the teams received training in cold weather operations, cultural aspects of advising, and in other topics to prepare for the advisory mission. “U.S. Army Advisors Strengthen Partnership in Mongolia”, U.S. Army, April 5, 2023.

Free Burma Rangers. A relief group funded by US Christian donors provides assistance and hope to displaced populations in Myanmar’s war-torn Kayah state. “On the front lines with the Free Burma Rangers”, Asia Times, April 3, 2023.

Blacksmith Publishing

Afghanistan

Ignoring Reality. The Biden administration is taking a lot of heat from veterans and others about its 12-page report about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. Many have picked apart the document and noted many misrepresentations of the events that took place during that timeframe. Most observers, many who do not appear to be towing the Democratic or Republican line, have concluded the report is merely a political statement provided in advance of House of Representative hearings about the Afghan withdrawal that will soon take place in D.C. Commentators are having a field day detailing the many ‘faults’ of the report. One obvious failure of the report is the repeated assertion that the Afghan government had a fully manned army and police force; in the face of overwhelming evidence that it did not. Most national security observers say that 180,000 was a more accurate number. Some prominent Afghans say that between 50,000 to 100,000 was a more realistic number. Read more in “Biden administration still insists Afghanistan had 300,000 security forces before Kabul fell”, Task & Purpose, April 7, 2023.

“Baghdad Bob” and “Kabul Kirby”. A former spokesman for the Department of Defense and current coordinator for strategic communications for the National Security Council, John Kirby, has squandered his credibility. He says he didn’t notice the mayhem involved in the withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, many with a ‘lower perch’ than him certainly did. Some are comparing him with a former spokesman for Saddam Hussein. He is quoted, when referring to the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) of August 2021, with:

“For all this talk of chaos, I just didn’t see it!”

John Kirby on the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, April 6, 2023.

Upcoming Events

SOF Week 2023 Tampa, Florida

April 14-16, 2023. Fort Benning, Georgia
Best Ranger Competition

May 8-11, 2023. Tampa, Florida
SOF Week
USSOCOM

May 16-18, 2023. Fort Bragg, NC and via Zoom
Geostrategic Symposium 2023
USASOC

May 22-26, 2023. Indianapolis, Indiana
Special Forces Association Convention

May 31, 2023. Ijamsville, MD
6th 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

Podcasts

Podcast – A Visit From the Pacific Northwest. The founder and CEO of Intrepid Tactics, Brice Colbert, is interviewed in this episode of The Pinelander, April 7, 2023, one hour.

Podcast Channels

SOFCAST. United States Special Operations Command
https://linktr.ee/sofcast

The Pinelander. Blacksmith Publishing
https://www.thepinelander.com/

The Indigenous Approach. 1st Special Forces Command
https://open.spotify.com/show/3n3I7g9LSmd143GYCy7pPA

Irregular Warfare Podcast. Modern War Institute at West Point
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/irregular-warfare-podcast/id1514636385


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