Curated news, analysis, and commentary about special operations, national security, and conflicts around the world.
Photo / Image: A CV-22 Osprey flies over Fort Walton Beach, Florida. (USAF photo by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway, April 24, 2015).
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Drug Testing by NSW. The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted. Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it necessary to protect their health and military readiness. The Navy will be the first to begin random testing, but Army Special Operations Command said it will soon follow suit, although no start date has been set. “The Navy will start randomly testing SEALs and special warfare troops for steroids”, CBS News, September 29, 2023.
AFSOC Summit. Air Force Special Operations Command hosted the annual Technology, Acquisition, Sustainment Review summit at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 27-28, 2023. TASRs are Air Force-directed annual tri-chair summits designed to ensure AFMC is meeting warfighters’ needs. During the two-day summit, Cannon Air Commandos showcased AFSOC’s pathfinding legacy through operational capability demonstrations. TASR attendees saw how AFSOC techniques and equipment, like forward arming and refueling point teams and the Compact Loading Adapter and Wench System, are key to building a resilient and ready Air Commando force. “Air Force Special Operations Command hosts annual Technology, Acquisition, Sustainment Review summit”, Cannon Air Force Base, September 29, 2023.
Birth of Modern ARSOF. The road to the establishment of a two- and three-star command for ARSOF was long. Three individuals played key roles in the formation of USASOC and SF Command. “You Have Arrived”: 1st Special Operations Command and the Birth of Modern ARSOF”, U.S. Army, October 1, 2023.
Cutting Army SOF Strength. Congress is concerned about proposed cuts to Army Special Operations Forces and is asking questions on the 3,000 or more personnel who will be trimmed from the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) structure. “Lawmakers, Army headed for a fight over cuts to special operations forces”, Defense One, September 28, 2023.
Best Books on SEALs. Dive into the culture and history of the Navy’s SEAL teams through the written word. “The 5 best books about Navy SEALs – according to Navy SEALs”, Task & Purpose, September 26, 2023.
Australia’s Tactical Response Team. Topics covered include history, mission, roles, selection and training, equipment, weapons, vehicles, and operations. “The Tactical Response Team: One of Australia’s Best Kept Secrets”, by Milo Ritchie, Grey Dynamics, September 30, 2023.
SOAC. On October 1, 2012, the Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) was activated at Fort Bragg.
75th Ranger Regiment. On October 1, 1974, the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment was established. On October 3, 1984, the 75th Ranger Regiment and 3/75th was established.
Merrill’s Marauders. On October 3, 1943, the 5307 Composite Group – Merrill’s Marauders was established. It would fight in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Gothic Serpent. On October 3, 1993 – Operation Gothic Serpent, Battle of Mogadishu took place. It would end on October 4. https://sof.news/history/operation-gothic-serpent/ At the end of the battle a U.S. helicopter pilot was missing which would prompt a days-long search for until he was released by Somali insurgents. https://sof.news/conflicts/gothic-serpent-super-64/
Ambush in Niger. On October 4, 2017. Four soldiers of 3rd SFGA died in an ambush in Niger.
Counteroffensive. The Ukrainian military continues its offensive operations. The advances are small and incremental. Successful interdiction of Russia’s logistical network continues with the use of long-range artillery and rockets.
Updates on Ukraine. An analysis of the war in Ukraine with a discussion of whether there is a stalemate or not. Weekend Update, by Phillips O’Brien, October 1, 2023. The Institute for the Study of War has published its Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment dated September 30, 2023.
Help Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel with spine injuries receive the healthcare options, education, and care they need.
CRS Report – China Primer: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The Congressional Research Service has updated a report on China’s military. Topics include PLA organization, strategy and goals, modernization, key capabilities, and defense expenditures. CRS IF11719, PDF, 3 pages, September 26, 2023. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11719
CRS Report – China Primer: Uyghurs. The Congressional Research Service has updated a publication about the Muslim ethnic minority group living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the far northwest of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The document covers topics related to history, force labor, forced assimilation, mass internment, U.S. responses, and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. PDF, 3 pages, updated September 22, 2023. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF10281
Montagnards – SF Warrior Brothers. Terry Lloyd writes about how American Special Forces sought out the help of the Indigenous Montagnard peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam and their traditional homelands in Laos and Cambodia. Coming from a deep warrior culture, the Montagnard soon accepted the Green Berets as ‘warrior brothers’. “How the Montagnards of Vietnam became the Special Forces’ warrior brothers”, We Are the Mighty, September 25, 2023.
Armenia. The small Armenian Chrisitan enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh has long been a part of historical Armenia. However, since December 2022, this region of 120,000 people has been under siege by Azerbaijan. It has recently endured a long blockade of food and medicine and shortages of electricity, fuel, and internet access. Now the occupants face an authoritarian rule, religious persecution, or worse by Azerbaijan or fleeing to Armenia. “Tragic Dispatches From Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenian Christians Flee Another Genocide”, by Lela Gilbert, Religion Unplugged, September 26, 2023.
Exodus From Nagorno-Karabakh. Most of the ethnic Armenians in the breakaway region have fled Azerbaijan. Cars, buses, trucks, and tractors are carrying refugees out along a ‘humanitarian corridor’ after a lightening military operation to by Azerbaijan to occupy the region. The region had been under blockade by Azeri forces for over nine months – causing food and fuel shortages. The World Health Organization says that over 100,000 residents have fled the region. “Three quarters of Karabakh population already out in swift exodus”, Reuters, September 29, 2023.
For an understanding of the legal implications of the conflict read “The Evolving Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict – An International Law Perspective”, by Michael Schmitt and Kevin Coble, Articles of War, Lieber Institute at West Point, September 29, 2023.
Tension in Northern Kosovo. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has increased its presence in northern Kosovo due to rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo (Google Maps). Some news reports same an additional 600 troops have been deployed to the area. The UK is reported to have sent in 200 troops. The United States has criticized the buildup of Serbian forces along the border with Kosovo. “NATO bolsters forces in Kosovo as US urges Serbia to withdraw from border”, Politico, September 30, 2023.
Kabul NEO and JPME. Gary Anderson, a retired Marine Corps officer with a lot of Afghanistan experience, laments the deplorable state of our military professional education system. He points to the chaotic Afghan withdrawal of the summer of 2021 as well as the chaotic non-combatant evacuation operation at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) as an example. He questions why our top generals didn’t push the Department of State to stage the NEO out of Bagram Air Field instead of HKIA. Read more in “Why Our Generals Can’t Think”, Military.com, September 2023.
Family Reunification. The U.S. Department of State has updated its “Family Reunification for Afghans” webpage. The page describes the different immigration options for Afghan family reunification based on citizenship, immigration status, and how the Afghan entered the United States. Updated Sep 2023.
Monthly Update. News about Afghanistan, relocation, immigration, resettlement, humanitarian crisis, commentary, Kabul NEO hearings, National Resistance Front (NRF), NGOs and biometrics, ‘gender apartheid’, #AfghanEvac caseworker guide, and more. Read it all here at Afghan Report, September 30, 2023.
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Sentinel. The October 2023 issue is now online. Topics include book reviews, intelligence failures during the 1972 Easter Offensive, SOAR convention in Las Vegas, dental CAPs in Thailand, and more. https://www.specialforces78.com/chapter-78-newsletter-for-october-2023/
Armor. The summer 2023 issue is now online. Several articles of interest for the tank community in the professional bulletin of the Armor Branch. PDF, 44 pages. https://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/67587
October 3, 2023
2023 Virtual MOG Mile
Three Rangers Foundation
October 16-20, 2023
Special Operations Association
November 29-30, 2023
SOF & Irregular Warfare Symposium
Defense Strategies Institute
December 8, 2023
Combat Diver Association
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