Showing posts with label CENTCOM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CENTCOM. Show all posts

Sunday, January 10, 2016

SOF News

Joe Votel to CENTCOM. News reports indicate that General Votel, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), is being nominated for commander of Central Command (CENTCOM). No word on who will take USSOCOM (another SEAL, another JSOC dude, or just maybe - a Green Beret!).

Tony Thomas to USSOCOM? Some news reports say that the current commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), LTG "Tony" Thomas, will take the helm at USSOCOM. Thomas commanded the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) a few years ago. If selected "Thomas would be the third former JSOC commander in a row to head up SOCOM; the last time a career Green Beret held the post was more than 15 years ago, before the war on terror began, even though Green Berets account for by far the plurality of SOCOM's special operators and are seeing increased use from Africa to Afghanistan as the military tries to shape the war efforts of allied militaries and irregular forces". Read more in "This shadowy JSOC general is expected to be the next leader of America's special operations forces", The Washington Post, January 7, 2016.

Other Contenders for USSOCOM? LTG John Mulholland, currently assigned to the CIA, is being considered. A long-shot might be LTG Ken Tovo - currently commanding USASOC.

BG Brower Returns to Campbell. General Scott Brower, former commander of the 5th Special Forces as well as a former commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - AP (Iraq), has taken up a position with the 101st Airborne Division. He previously was CoS at USASOC and had been deployed to Islamabad, Pakistan. Read more in a news report by The Leaf-Chronicle, January 5, 2016.

Does the UK Need "Tier 2" Units? One commentator says the UK should develop a force similar to the U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets. The Telegraph, January 4, 2016.

Live to Tell - New Documentary Series. Film 45 is rolling out a 8-part series on elite forces that have been fighting the war on terror since 2001. The program, Live to Tell, airs on the History channel on Sunday nights. First show was on January 10th.

How Not to Do Unconventional Warfare. There are certain steps that need to be taken to successfully form up a resistance group or guerrilla band. These phases of Unconventional Warfare (UW) are learned during Special Forces training for future Green Berets. The recent debacle in forming a resistance fighter group in Syria should certainly be integrated into a 'lessons learned' portion of the the instruction at the Special Warfare school at Fort Bragg. Call it "What Not to Do in UW." Read "What really happened to the U.S. train-and-equip program in Syria?", McClatchy DC, December 21, 2015.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

SOF News

Gen Votel to CENTCOM?. The Internet continues to spread the word that the current USSOCOM commander is on the short list to succeed General Austin at Central Command. The move would be unusual as Votel only recently assumed command at USSOCOM in mid-2014. He would be an excellent choice, however. The U.S. is not engaged in a conventional fight in the region - Iran is busy with Iraq and Syria; so it is less inclined to confront the U.S. in naval disputes (let's hope), and SOF seems to be the flavor of the day for the Obama administration in resolving disputes and conflicts in the Middle East. Read more in "Socom's Votel would be good choice to lead Centcom", Tampa Bay Online, December 7, 2015.

Special Forces for Iraq/Syria - PR Ploy or Meaningful Deployment? A defense analyst, Anthony Cordesman, comments on the deployment of SOF to the Middle East in light of the lack of a credible U.S. strategy and plans to create effective Iraqi and Syrian forces. He worries the SF Soldiers will be a political tool rather than an effective force in a political game on the part of the Obama administration. Read "More Special Forces for Iraq and Syria: Tactical Asset or Strategic Tokenism", by Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), December 3, 2015.

DoD "Quiet" on Commando Force for Iraq. The 'specialized expeditionary targeting force' that will take the fight to ISIS in Iraq and Syria will be positioned to gather intelligence, conduct raids, free hostages in Iraq when partnered with Iraqi forces. In addition, it will conduct unilateral hit-and-run raids into Syria. Beyond that, the Defense Department is not saying much more. Some observers believe the small force of 100-200 commandos can make a difference while others say it smacks of the usual Obama strategic incrementalism. The special operations force, although small in number, will probably enjoy significant close air support, drone coverage, and intelligence reach-back to CENTCOM, USSOCOM and JSOC. (think of the operations profiled in the book Relentless Strike). Read more in "US keeps wraps on new commando force for Iraq", The Sacramento Bee, December 10, 2015.

DoDIG Fails to Protect War Hero. LTC Amerine, a war hero and Green Beret, was unjustly victimized by the FBI and the U.S. Army. He was denied his retirement and threatened with a court martial for relaying to a member of Congress how badly the U.S. hostage recovery effort is managed. One aspect of the criticism that LTC Amerine offers is that the Bergdahl prisoner swap undercut ongoing efforts that would have released Bergdahl and other American hostages. The Good News? The DoD IG is resigning!  Read more in "How the System Went After a War Hero: Jason Amerine Goes to Washington"War on the Rocks, December 10, 2015.

AC-130 Air Attack on Hospital - Conflicting Accounts. A recent news report says that the U.S. Special Forces who called in the air strike on the hospital in Kunduz city believed the Taliban were using it as a command center. To some observers there continues to be a gap in what is being reported and what really happened. Perhaps we will really never know. (Military Times, Dec 8, 2015).

France Sending 300 SF to Congo. France (a country that seems to have a far more active and robust counterterrorism policy than the United States) is sending 300 of its Special Forces to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide training to the Congolese Army to hunt down and neutralize the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces in the eastern part of the DRC.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Intelligence News

Khost Protection Force & the CIA - Part 1. A regional counterterrorism pursuit team set up in Khost province by the CIA has been problematic due to human rights concerns and a lack of accountability. The CIA transferred the CPT to the National Directorate of Security (NDS) a few years back but still has some involvement. Western security officials maintain that the Khost pursuit team is one of the most effective elements fighting insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan. David Jolly tells us more in "Civilian Deaths Raise Questions About C.I.A.-Trained Forces in Afghanistan", The New York Times, December 3, 2015.

Khost Protection Force & the CIA - Part II. More info on the CIA-run and supported (still?) Khost Protection Force. See "CIA runs shadow war with Afghan militia implicated in civilian killings", The Washington Post, December 3, 2015.

John Brennan Presentation. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently (Nov 16) spoke at the Global Security Forum 2015 held by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Topics include ISIS and global security. You can listen to his 48-minute address (video or audio) or download his transcript.

Movie - "Central Intelligence". A new comedy about a U.S. intelligence agent is to be released in 2016 starring "The Rock". Watch the movie trailer (USA Today, Nov 20, 2015).

More Spies Against ISIS? It appears that the Defense Department is ready to beef up the intelligence gathering against the Islamic State. Read "U.S. Spies May be Back in Action Against ISIS", Newsweek, December 1, 2015.

CENTCOM's Intel Credibility. The changing of intelligence analysts reports at the highest level to satisfy political beliefs is still a problem even though the story has all but disappeared from the headlines. Read "Obama's Intel Scandal", The Weekly Standard, December 7, 2015.

Taliban Holding Secret U.S. Hostage? A news report suggests that the Taliban are holding an American in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. See "Secret U.S. Hostage Held by Taliban Allies", The Daily Beast, December 1, 2015.