Sunday, October 11, 2015

SOF News

Behind the Scenes. Barbara Star, CNN Pentagon Correspondent, interviews General Votel (cdr of USSOCOM). Votel chats about SOF successes, failures, SOCOM creation, covert operations, and more. Read (and watch the video) "Behind the scenes with the commander of Special Ops",, October 5, 2015.

Spetsnaz in Syria. Russia's special forces has now deployed to Syria according to some news reports. Read "Putin has sent the feared Spetsnaz special forces nto Syria to bail out Assad", Mirror UK, October 6, 2015.

JSOC in the Shadows. "One of the least publicized organizations active in counter-terror operations is the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Formed in 1980 in the aftermath of a failed mission into Iran to rescue American embassy personnel being held captive there, JSOC was meant to eliminate the coordination problems between the services that were found to be the main reason the Iran rescue mission failed." Read more in "Special Operations: JSOC in the Shadows", Strategy Page, October 3, 2015.

History of Special Operations Executive (SOE). This famous organization was created by British prime minister Winston Churchill to carry out top-secret missions against Germany. Read more in "The Top Secret WWII Warriors Who Inspired James Bond and Birthed Modern Black Ops", Maxim Magazine, October 8, 2015.

Syrian Training Program "Paused". After the disastrous testimony of CENTCOM commander General Austin before Congress and subsequent reports of failure coming out of the Middle East the Syrian training program has been halted. At least the military part of it. A program to train up 5,400 Syrians had produced only 60; and those were either killed or captured as soon as they entered Syria. The more successful (?) CIA training program is reportedly still ongoing. It appears that rather than start from scratch in recruiting and vetting "moderate" Syrians the Pentagon may provide aid to already established rebel groups (what a concept). Perhaps they should have armed up and trained the Kurds in a big way right from the beginning. Thus far the Kurds have proven themselves to be the most effective fighters on the ground in Syria (besides ISIS).

SF Failing at UW? One wonders just how well our Army is in conducting the Special Forces core mission of Unconventional Warfare - if we couldn't get the Syrian training program off the ground with a $500 million budget, a years worth of work, existing rebel organizations already established, training camps in countries adjacent to the area of operations, air superiority, and sanctuaries for the resistance movements. Does the CIA know how to do UW better than the Army? Read "Pentagon plans major shift in effort to counter Islamic State in Syria", The Washington Post, October 9, 2015. See also a DoD press release on the topic (Oct 9, 2015).

10th SFGA & 4th ID Aligned. The 10th Special Forces Group is regionally oriented with Europe and has a battalion forward deployed near Stuttgart, Germany. It's home base and group headquarters is at Fort Carson. 10th SFGA teams have worked for many years alongside European SOF training, advising, and assisting special mission units of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in Afghanistan. The 4th Infantry Division is also located at Fort Carson. Both the 10th and the 4th are now going to be aligned and operating together in Europe. Read more in "Army looks to rotating and reserve forces for Europe mission", Army Times, October 8, 2015.

Report - Female Marines a NO for SOF. "A report conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps on integrating women into all military units concluded that even the top female troops likely cannot cut it in the special operations forces . . ." See "Report finds female Marines cannot meet some standards for special operations forces", Fox News, October 7, 2015.

Discharge of Green Beret for Assaulting ALP Officer Postponed. An SFC who was scheduled for discharge from the Army is getting a 60-day reprieve. The Army has agreed to postpone the discharge in order to review the case. The SF NCO received a letter of reprimand for assaulting an Afghan police officer in 2011 who continuously raped a young Afghan boy. The letter was instrumental in a personnel action that was removing the NCO from the Army. The case has received national attention and caused a certain amount of embarrassment for the Army. Read more in "Army agrees to postpone discharge of Green Beret", The Hill, October 6, 2015.

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