Showing posts with label hybrid-warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hybrid-warfare. Show all posts

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Paper - The Afghan National Army After ISAF. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published an 18-page paper (March 2016) about the state of the ANA and the current security situation in Afghanistan.

Worries on Afghanistan. Manoj Joshi writes about the current situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban's recent refusal to participate in peace talks has serious implications for the security and stability of Afghanistan. The Taliban clearly feel that time is on its side - and given its recent gains on the battlefield - that there is little point in engaging in peace negotiations with the Kabul regime. Read more in "Worrying signals from Afghanistan", ORF Online, March 8, 2016.

Developing Emotional Calluses. Nathan K. Finney has wrote a short essay on how military members, as a result of their exposure to years of direct and indirect trauma, develop emotional calluses to the world around them. Read "Consequences of Fear: Callousness", Consequence Magazine, March 6, 2016.

Too Much Mandatory Training. While senior leaders of the military recognized that there are too many mandated training activities it would seem that little is done to lighten the load. Read more in "No Time, Literally, For All Requirements", by Maj. Crispin J. Burke, Army Magazine, March 8, 2016.

Mandatory Training - Part II. There is no doubt that the training requirements for the U.S. Army far exceed the time available to train. Many Soldiers would cut much of the training they receive. For instance, do Soldiers really need to endure a class presentation where they learn that American society attaches privilege to being white, male, and heterosexual. Yep, it happened. Read more in "U.S. Army Lectured Soldiers on Dangers of "White Privilege"Fox News,  March 10, 2016.

Do We Need Better Generals? Michael Vickers, the former under secretary of Defense for Intelligence seems to think so. Read "Vickers: Fastest way to improve strategy is to prepare and pick better generals", Foreign Policy, March 9, 2016. See Mike Vickers testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee entitled Improving the Pentagon's Development of Policy, Strategy and Plans, December 8, 2015.

"Silk Road" and Afghanistan. China is pushing the integration of China economic interests into the Central and South Asian regions. Expanding China's direct interests in Afghanistan would open new avenues for U.S.-China cooperation. Hmmmm. Okay, but I say "Advantage China". Read what Andi Zhou has to say in "Can China's 'One Belt, One Road' Save the US in Afghanistan?", The Diplomat, March 11, 2016.

Australian Documentary. "In their own words and their own extraordinary, never-before-seen helmet-cam battle footage, Australia's fighting men and women lay bare their hearts in an epic series - not just how they waged a war, but why and to what end." If you live in Australia then you can watch "Afghanistan: Inside Australia's War",, March 8, 2016. Unfortunately, unless posted on, the rest of us can't.

Movie Review - A War. Several weeks back I reviewed the newly released Danish movie A War. Since then numerous reviews have come out. The latest that I have read is by David Franke - who manages to input a bit of commentary at the end of his review. Read "The Danes in Afghanistan", The American Conservative, March 11, 2016.

Recalibrating ROE. In past decade the Rules of Engagement at theater level have seen some changes. Some believe the rules are too tight; sacrificing safety of military members in order to avoid civilian casualties and unfortunate situations that will explode in the world's media. Others see the tightening of ROE necessary in a counterinsurgency environment. Not my favorite topic, but if you are a lawyer you might be interested in a 57-page paper on SROE /SRUF by Colonel Gary P. Corn and published in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 49:1, 2016.

Panel - "What to Do About Afghanistan". The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the security situation of Afghanistan. Former ISAF commander General (Ret) John Allen, Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, and Mary Beth Long - a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and President of Metis Solutions were on the panel. You can watch the one hour long video at the link below.

Hybrid Warriors. The military community (uniformed, academic, think tanks, included) has been struggling with defining the new era of warfare since 2011. The crux of the matter is how to attach a term to the space between peace and war. Lots of terms are out there: unconventional warfare, Gray Zone, Hybrid Warfare, political warfare, etc. One security observer and commentator - Douglas A. Ollivant - has penned a paper that sees past the terminology and concentrates on the participants of this new type of conflict. Read "The Rise of the Hybrid Warriors: From Ukraine to the Middle East", War on the Rocks,  March 9, 2016.

Understanding COIN. Dr. Geraint Hughes, a student of counterinsurgency and formerly of the London Regiment of the Territorial Army, writes that the terminological distinctions between COIN, PSO, 'stabilisation', and 'major combat operations' are potentially becoming increasingly less relevant. Read "Uncertain Coinage", Defense-in-Depth, King's College, London, March 7, 2016.

SOF News

Afghanistan's Commandos. There are about 11,000 Afghan soldiers assigned to the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC). To many observers these are the men that will ensure Afghanistan does not fall to the Taliban and they are the crack troops that respond to dire situations (such as the fall of Kunduz city in late 2015). The commando and special forces units have a very low attrition rate - especially when compared to the remainder of the Afghan army and police forces. However, there are some problems. The commando units are not always used in the proper role and are usually over-employed by Corps commanders of the Afghan army. There is a shortage of training ammunition and uniforms . . . and the training facilities at Camp Moorehead (just outside of Kabul) are not sufficient for the number of soldiers training at that location. Read more in a news story by Tim Craig - "These are the 11,000 soldiers who might save Afghanistan", The Washington Post, March 8, 2016.

Hybrid Warfare Skeptic. The hybrid warfare concept has been around for at least a decade if not more. There are other terms and phases that have been introduced that are very close to the hybrid warfare definition to include, Ambiguous Warfare, Gray Zone, Political Warfare, etc. One commentator, Christopher Paul, provides his thoughts on the various concepts that describe the space between peace and war. A long intellectual read . . . if you are an SF dude then it is in your lane. Dr. Paul is a senior social scientist working for RAND Corporation. Read "Confessions of a Hybrid Warfare Skeptic", Small Wars Journal, March 3, 2016.

A New Unconventional Warfare Strategy & Human Domain. Carole N. House writes an extensive article that defines " . . . critical restructuring needs of the U.S. government . . . " and proposes " . . . strategic lines of effort to facilitate a comprehensive national approach to the conduct of unconventional warfare and countering its use against the United States". Read "Proposal of an Unconventional Warfare Strategy to Dominate the Human Domain", Small Wars Journal, March 7, 2016.

CANSOF and Africa. Canadian special forces have recently completed their participation in the U.S. military exercise called "Flintlock" that was held in Africa. (Ottawa Citizen, Mar 7, 2016).

Australian Special Forces Chief Making Amends. It's tough for a special operations soldier nowadays. In the current atmosphere of political correctness it is like walking on thin ice. Then again, the military is not a place where sexual harassment should take place. Those irascible folks from down under! Read someone finding out how difficult navigating this new terrain is in "Cleared special forces chief apologises to complainants", The West Australian, March 9, 2016.

US SOF in Libya. General Tony Thomas, currently the head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has been nominated by President Obama to head up the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). He recently testified before (Wed, 9 Mar) the Senate Armed Services Committee where he stated that he supports the deployment of SOF to Libya to oppose the growth of the Islamic State. Read more in "Obama nominee supports sending special operators to Libya", The Hill Blog, March 9, 2015.

Italian SOF in Libya. The Italians made it in the news as well; although under unfavorable conditions. They have been accused of beating up (verbally and physically) news reporters in Libya. Probably a small incident but . . . (Eurasia Review, Mar 12, 2016).

SOF Mission in Somalia? It would seem that U.S. special operations are just about everywhere. A recent news report indicates that U.S. SOF conducted a helicopter assault on the al-Shabab terror group in Somalia. Read more in "U.S. Special Operations Forces Involved in Somalia Raid: Defense Officials", NBC News, March 9, 2016.

SOF, Corruption, and Somalia. One of the difficulties in working with foreign military forces that are engaged in internal conflicts is that the governments are usually corrupt. In underdeveloped nations this is usually the case. Thus special operations forces find themselves engaged in counterinsurgency efforts that prop up a corrupt government. This is true of Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other places. It is also true of Somalia. A good friend of mine who worked as a counterinsurgency advisor for several years in Afghanistan recently completed a two-year stretch in Somalia. His contract ended when he confronted a high-ranking Somali officer who was pocketing an excessive amount of money and supplies for his personal enrichment; robbing the lower ranking soldiers of ammunition, food, money, and other supplies. Want to know more? Read "Somalia: A Sober Assessment", Strategy Page, March 11, 2016.

SOF and the 'Small Footprint". Max Boot, a commentator on terrorism and national security, shares his thoughts on the over-reliance on special operations forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world in "The Perils of a Small Footprint", Commentary Magazine, March 10, 2016.

SF Training on Okinawa. The Green Berets of the 1st Special Forces Group train for many different types of missions in the Pacific region. Read more in "Special Forces get ready",, March 10, 2016.

SF LTC in Anti-Trump Ad. Mike Waltz, a two-time Afghan veteran, occasional commentator on Fox News, and author of one or two books about Afghanistan has been seen nation-wide in a widely distributed anti-Trump ad. Read more in "Former Special Forces Commander Featured in New Anti-Trump Ad", Task & Purpose, March 7, 2016.

SOF is Evolving and Adapting. The United States Special Operations Command's operators are adapting to an ever changing security situation around the world. On any given day U.S. SOF are deployed to over 80 countries. Read a DoD News release on this topic. (DoD News, Mar 8, 2016).

SOF in Pacific. General Votel, commander of USSOCOM, says that special operations continue to work in the Asia-Pacific region. Read "Commander: SOCOM Never Left the Pacific", Seapower Magazine,  March 8, 2016.

First Female SEALs in 2017? The Navy is pushing ahead to integrate women into the SEAL teams. New Navy documentation lays out the training, recruiting, and assignment plan to place women into previously closed special ops jobs. (Task & Purpose, Mar 11, 2016).

SOF & Maneuver Career Courses. The students of the Maneuver Captains Career Course and the SOF Captains Career Course are working together to enhance interoperability. (Bayonent & Saber, March 8, 2016).

NG SF General "H.B." Profiled. A Special Forces general gets himself into the news in "Olive Hill Childhood Was Foundation for Brigadier General",  Journal-Times, March 9, 2016.

CIA Director at SEAL Event. John O. Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency recently spoke at the Navy SEAL Foundation 8th New York City Benefit Dinner in early March 2016. Your can read his prepared remarks in a transcript provided on the CIA's webpage.