Sunday, January 17, 2016

SOF News

JSOC Officers Moving Up. It appears that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) crowd is doing well in the U.S. Army. General Votel, the current commander of the United States Special Operations Command  (USSOCOM) is likely to be nominated to head up Central Command - he formally commanded JSOC. LTG Tony Thomas will probably head to command USSOCOM - he commands JSOC and is also a former commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan. MG Scottie Miller, currently at Fort Benning and instrumental in overseeing the successful integration of women in Ranger School during 2015 has been mentioned for command of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Miller is a long-time Ranger Regiment and JSOC officer. He was a former commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) and of the SOJTF-A.

New SOCKOR Cdr. The current deputy commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan - BG Tony D. Bauernfeind - is heading to Special Operations Command Korea. See "General Officer Assignments", DoD News Release, January 12, 2016.

SEALs Under Investigation. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is - once again - investigating allegations that Navy SEALs beat detainees in Afghanistan in 2012. Read more in "Investigation of SEAL conduct in Afghanistan is Reopened", The New York Times, January 14, 2016.

Webcast Event - "Acquisition for SOF". USSOCOM performs a variety of functions - one of those is the acquisition of services, products, and equipment for the SOF units and organizations of the four services. Mr. James F. Geurts, Acquisition Executive at USSOCOM, will be discussing the challenge of planning and executing acquisitions to equip our forces' most elite warriors. The event (webcast) is hosted by the Atlantic Council on Tuesday, January 19th at 4:30 pm EST.

SOF and the "Gray Zone". Terminology is constantly evolving in the military. New buzzwords make their debut, stick around for a while, and then fade away. One of the newest terms to enter the special operations community vocabulary is the "Gray Zone". This, according to some reports, is the space or area between peace and war. Read more in "Special Operations and the Challenge of Working in the Gray Zone"SOFREP, January 14, 2016.

Wanted: Foreign SOF to fight ISIS. "Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that the United States has asked more countries to send Special Operations troops to join the fight against the Islamic State, and not just typical partners like Britain and Australia." These countries probably include Jordan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Jordanian and UAE SOF units have long worked with U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan and the relationships between the SOF units are strong. Read more in "Wanted: Foreign Special Operations troops to join the U.S. in targeting the Islamic State", The Washington Post, January 15, 2016.

US SOF Deploys to Iraq. Additional Special Operations Forces have arrived in Iraq to assist Iraqi troops with better coordinating and targeting for coalition airstrikes. While the President contends there are no 'boots on the ground'; what is certainly clear is a bunch of guys wearing sneakers or hikers are running around Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and a lot of other places around the world. In addition to the deployment of special operators key leaders with a SOF background being put into important positions with the military,  state and elsewhere. Read "U.S. Special Operations Forces Deploy to Iraq", Foreign Policy Report, January 14, 2016.

Obama and SOF. Kim Dozier writes on how President Obama is turning to special operations forces to help manage hot spots in the world. Read "Obama Turns to Special Ops to Salvage His Legacy", The Daily Beast, January 15, 2016.

SOCEUR Cdr Visits Slovak SOF. The commander of Special Operations Command Europe visited the Slovak 5th Special Forces Regiment in Zilina on January 12th. The Slovak SOF have worked alongside U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan for a number of years. (The Slovak Spectator, Jan 15, 2016).

"Generation Kill vs Generation Cupcake". Dan O'Shea, a former Navy SEAL, writes on 'safe spaces' on college campuses and lack of 'safe spaces' in combat zones. (The Tampa Tribune, January 16, 2016.

ISIS Threatens UFC Fighter. Tim Kennedy, a UFC fighter who is also a Green Beret with time in 7th and 19th Special Forces Group, is on the receiving end of threats from the Islamic State. (Army Times, Jan 13, 2016).

Multi-Intel Drones for SOF. "Army aviation special operators want new unmanned aircraft systems that can carry multiple sensors to collect vital intelligence from the battlefield . . . " Currently special operations forces have a variety of small and mid-sized drones that can do many different things. SOF wants and 'all in one' platform. Read more in "Army Special Operations Want Multi-Intelligence UAVs.", Defense News, January 14, 2016.

SO/LIC Director Lumpkin to State. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operation and Low Intensity Conflict (SOLIC), Mike Lumpkin, is in the mix for running the State Department's new Center for Global Engagement. He is a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

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