G-Code

Archive for the ‘Forces Focus’ Category

SOCOMD Australia Recruiting Video

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

It’s not often that we get to share things like this. Australia is one of America’s closest partners and their military is world class, but few hold a candle to the capabilities of SOCOMD Australia.

If this doesn’t get your blood pumping…you’re dead.

Osprey Elite 220 – European Counter-Terrorist Units 1972-2017

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

I’ve collected Osprey books for over 30 years. They remain some of my best historical reference material, in particular because of the excellent artist plates in each volume.

One of their latest releases is “Elite 220: European Counter-Terrorist Units 1972-2017” which examines the evolution and growth of both Mil and LE organizations devoted specifically with the CT mission.

IMG_5183

At only 64-pages, the volume doesn’t go into great detail but it does offer the highlights. Beginning with 1972’s tragedy at the Olympic Village in Munich, author Leigh Neville then examines how the threat has changed. Next, he discusses technical innovations such as the use of specialized vehicles and then he delves into the units themselves. By country, Neville basic order of battle and highlights specific operations. These are accompanied by photographs as well as some top notch work by illustrator Adam Hook.

IMG_5184

The artist plates are very well researched. Take for instance the image above which showcases (l-r) British 22 SAS, French GIGN and London Metropolitan Police SCO19. The image is so up-to-date with 2017 that it has the GIGN member in Arc’teryx coveralls, a recent acquisition of that team’s kit bag.

Not only do I highly recommend the Osprey series, but in particular those works by Leigh Neville. His dedication to accuracy is admirable.

Via Amazon, www.amazon.com/European-Counter-Terrorist-Units-1972-2017-Elite.

1st SFAB Responds To Concerns Over Adoption Of Green Beret And ‘Legion’ Nickname

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

4AF92494-4B77-48C4-8111-8018A4CE999C

Last week, photos of an Olive Drab beret intended for wear by the US Army’s newly minted 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade surfaced. They set off an internet firestorm that has culminated with the unit issuing this statement on Facebook.

69324A57-4FFE-4713-9023-7F294F3DF0D2

It says:

The 1st SFAB has great respect for U.S. Army Special Forces, their many accomplishments and their singularly distinguished history. We also respect the concerns associated with the heraldry of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.

The 1st SFAB is not a Special Forces organization. We are a conventional force purposefully built to partner with other conventional forces. SFABs will support Army readiness by allowing brigade combat teams to focus on building their readiness for large scale contingencies instead of on the train, advise and assist missions.

In accordance with Army guidance, we will select a new unit name. The Army has also decided the SFABs will wear a Brown Infantry Beret like those worn by many armies. Our new name and photos of the beret will be published once the final decisions are approved.

Thank you for your support as we establish the identity and culture of the #1SFAB.

U.S. Army U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) XVIII Airborne Corps

The Olive Green color of the 1st SFAB’s new beret was a bit too close for comfort for the US Army Special Forces, who were awarded the Green Beret by a Presidential Memorandum issued by President Kennedy, well over 50 years ago.

52AB175A-DB34-4A9F-A375-0DEC3D470CB1

While the shades of Green are different, the President didn’t say “Rifle Green” Beret and the issue item has a tendency to fade to a much lighter shade over time. It’s always been referred to simply as a ‘Green Beret’. What’s more, popular culture refers to SF by that term thanks to a popular song and book turned movie. ‘Green Beret’ is part of the national lexicon.

0D5C31D8-8918-4E87-9FBC-ACB7380BCAF3

When the Olive Drab beret was combined with an arrowhead-shaped Shoulder Sleeve Insignia complete with tab ala SF and USASOC as well as the self-appointed nickname of “The Legion” (the actual nickname for the 5th SFG(A)), it all added up to appear that Big Green was attempting to steal SF’s lineage for this new unit. To make matters worse, the 1st SFAB was stood up to conduct a mission long accomplished by SF. The similarities were uncanny, even to the most reasonable observor.

B104706D-F78C-44BD-89C9-EDACF40E7182

In protest, numerous articles were written, memes were created, and supporters of the SF heritage even created a petition.

On Monday, Army Chief of Staff, GEN Mark Milley, himself SF qualified and a veteran of 5th Group, responded to concerns in a phone interview with Army Times.

Bottom line, GEN Milley has taken responsibility for the situation, explained that it was unintentional and directed the 1st SFAB to find a new nickname. Finally, he referred to the beret as an Olive Brown color, patterned after a British Army Beret but acknowldeged that the shade may appear Green. Based on the 1st SFAB’s statement, it looks like they’ll be adopting a much richer Infantry Brown.

Although not common knowledge, there was a move to adopt a Brown Beret for the US Army in the late 1990s. Then Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, was the lead on the initiative, but when he was relieved from his duty position and court martialled, the project was stopped.

Instead, in 2000, former CSA Shinseki awarded the Black Beret worn for decades by the 75th Ranger Regt, to the Army as a standard headgear, and issued the Tan Beret to the Rangers instead, complete with a contrived backstory. Soldier and Rangers alike still grumble over that fiasco.

At least this time the Army leadership has reacted before it is too late. Unfortunately, it took the collective voice of the internet to point it out rather than realizing it was a poorly hatched plan from the beginning.

Forces Focus – 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Nicknamed “The Legion”, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade is one of the US Army’s newest units. Although it’s the first unit of its kind, the Army envisions standing up six of these Brigades. The 1sts SFAB’s subordinate units include TF 1-28, 1-38 CAV, 6-51 IN, 3-52 IN, 1-76 FA, 815 EN and 92 BSB. Unit members have been very busy conducting training for their new mission which is outlined below.

Mission Statement

On order, 1SFAB deploys in support of a Combatant Commander, integrates with foreign partner forces, assists and advises local security operations to build partner security capacity and capability and achieve regional security in support of US National Interests.

Vision

A Brigade of Professional Combat Advisors- Specially Selected, Specially Trained, and Specially Equipped – that represent the ultimate commitment by our Nation to our Security Partners; dedicated to making our Partners better in order to achieve regional security.

Above is their Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, although many unit members have been seen still wearing their former unit patches. The “Advise Assist” tab sums up this unit’s mssion. Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before, though, along with that nickname. Not only are they seen as the day-to-day experts combatant commanders need to train, advise and assist our partners overseas, but they can serve also as a standing chain of command for rapidly expanding the Army.

Below, you can see SSG Justin Seeley, 3rd Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, launching a RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system, but they’ve also conducted Small Arms, Convoy and medical training.


(US Army photo by SPC Noelle E. Wiehe, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd Infantry Division public affairs)

Additionally, candidates for the unit must pass a selection and Advisor Academy as well as SERE training. SFAB candidates must also score an 85 of better on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery becuase the Army plans on offering language training for unit personnnel. However, unit members are eligible for a $5,000 Assignment Incentive Bonus.

Forces Focus – Raven’s Challenge 2017

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The 2017 Ravens Challenge EOD exercises were funded by the Army and led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with support from the FBI, the Defense Department, the Transportation Security Administration and state and local public safety agencies throughout the country.

This year’s exercises took place at Camp Pendleton in August, Pinal Airpark in Marana, Arizona, in March; Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, North Vernon, Indiana, in April; Camp Dawson, Kingwood, West Virginia, in May; and Camp Shelby, Mississippi, in June.

A DoD News article by Shannon Collins describes the event:

Throughout the week, the combined teams went through training scenarios, or lanes. One such scenario was a hostage situation, where a hostage in a stairwell had a bomb strapped to his body while other hostages were upstairs and there was a body booby-trapped on the ground floor. Teams also dealt with locating hidden devices, an aircraft with a device in the cabin or baggage area, improvised mortars located on rooftops and in vehicles, a cabin with booby traps and a suspicious package in a hospital.

Training was under realistic conditions, and included a no-light and low-light environment, where technicians had to use night-vision goggles while entering a village and disarming devices through the goggles or with the naked eye.

“The no-light, low-light was my favorite. because it’s the most challenging thing an EOD tech can do — walk through something you can barely see,” said Army Spc. Seth Hamilton, an EOD technician from Fort Bliss, Texas. “You’re hot, you’re tired, they’ve booby-trapped an entire warehouse; so you’re going through in the middle of the dark, just trying to get through without dying. It had the best training value.”

Lanes were also focused on responding to the developing tactics of terrorists, such as the use of booby-trapped unmanned aerial systems.

“The UAS seems to be the emerging threat, … because of the widespread availability of unmanned systems. It’s exciting for us to say, ‘Hey, this is a new emerging threat.’ We’re going to be the people figuring out how to address it and come up with the [tactics, techniques and procedures] to become more proactive,” said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Brian Murphy, an EOD technician here.

Intelligence analyst B. Joshua Bauer discusses terrorists’ use of commercially available unmanned aircraft with U.S. and Belgian explosive ordnance disposal teams during the Raven’s Challenge exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 1, 2017. DoD photo by EJ Hersom
Intelligence analyst B. Joshua Bauer discusses terrorists’ use of commercially available unmanned aircraft with U.S. and Belgian explosive ordnance disposal teams during the Raven’s Challenge exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 1, 2017. DoD photo by EJ Hersom
“The new [unmanned aerial vehicle] threat, we’re the first people in our company to get that knowledge and run that lane, and we can’t do that at our home station,” said Army Staff Sgt. Sean Mattes, an EOD bomb technician from Fort Bliss. “So now we can go back and help educate those guys and tell them what we’ve learned but until they come to something like this, they’ll never get that training. You really broaden your skills with the site layout and coordination. You’ve got to get every tool out and use it, and that’s what I like doing.”

“The teams who went up against the UAVs for the first time had no procedures to use,” said Col. David Schmitt, chief of the Army’s adaptive counter-IED/EOD solutions division. “There was no logic tree to follow to get to the right solution, so they were working that out inside their heads, but if we do it right, then the issues will be captured in the after-action report, the review will go back into the process, so next year, they will have a logic train for this scenario.”

Schmitt said Raven’s Challenge is one of the largest DoD EOD counter-IED interoperability training exercises in the world. “Continuing to do this kind of training provides incredible benefits for the individual participants, but also for the services and the bigger institutions that sends the participants, because it feeds into the after-action reviews,” he said. “These feed into the institutional processes that drive what equipment we buy, what training we do in our institutions. It drives a lot of change in the Army, and, I would imagine, elsewhere.”

The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces Wish You A Very Merry Christmas

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin sent NATO a rather unusual New Year’s card in 2013.

(h/t Atomic Samba)

SSD Saturday Night At The Movies Presents Classix: Die Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr 

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Thulsa Doom turned me on to this cool Cold War-era (1968), German documentary, entitied “Classix: Die Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr zeigt ihr Können während der Übung „schneller Pfeil“ which showcases their aerial delivery and Close Air Support capabilities during exercise Fast Arrow. Watching an F104 deliver CAS is priceless.

2016 Asymmetric Warfare Group Recruiting Video

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

This is the latest recruiting video for the Asymmetric Warfare Group.

www.awg.army.mil