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Archive for the ‘SOF’ 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.

USSOCOM Seeks Squad-Variable Powered Scopes

Friday, November 10th, 2017

The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division Purchases weapons and optics for USSOCOM. They released to procure a minimum of 32 Squad-Variable Powered Scopes (S-VPS). Ultimately, the contract could be worth up to $33.25 million.

Specifics of the requirement are limited to Registered and vetted users of fedbizopps.  However, we do know from briefings at this year’s NDIA Amaments conference, a little bit about this program.  This variable power optic is intended for use out to 600m. Additionally, we know from the solicitation that they are considering both first and second focal plane optics.  No word right now on which reticle is preferred.


Offerors will be required to provide 12 samples of either the First Focal Plane Scopes and Second Focal Plane Scopes, or both, at no cost to the government, as well as their proposals which are due Dec 08, 2017 2:00 pm Eastern.

They have an interesting acquisition strategy. The First Focal Plane Scope and other associated items will be 100% set-aside for small business, while the Second Focal Plane Scope and other associated gear will be full and open competition. The Government intends to award to the responsible offeror(s) whose offer constitutes the best value to the Government, considering technical, delivery, past performance, and price related factors.

For more information visit www.fbo.gov.

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 They remain some of my best historical reference material, in particular because of the excellent artist plates in each volume.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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Crane “Contaminates” SURG Test Samples By Crosspolinating Weapon Components Between Vendor Submissions, Calls On Offerors For New Samples

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane in Indiana is responsible for the testing and procurement of USSOCOM’s weapons. One of the projects they have been working on for SOCOM is the Suppressor Upper Receiver Group, an upgrade of the M4A1 Lower Receiver Group will allow the Warfighter’s weapon to be optimized for continuous suppressed use.

Earlier this year, the program had its second go around after an initial attempt at identifying a system failed last year. Performance parameters were adjusted from the earlier effort to more accurately reflect what was possible, and vendors submitted three sample SURG candidates each.

Unfortunately during recent testing, sample weapons were incorrectly assembled using parts from different vendor submissions, undermining the integrity of the results.

Last week, Crane contacted vendors and informed them that any offeror which had passed Phase I could resubmit three samples by 26 October in order to continue participation in the solicitation.

The government will then reaccomplish Phase I and then move on to Phases I & III with the resubmitted samples.

Additionally, Crane has outlined measures it will take to prevent future crosspollination of parts between vendor submissions.

Unfortunately, this information has not been made public via Fed Biz Opps as was the case with the original solicitation, which catalogued 11 updates.

Interestingly, United States Army Special Operations Command, the largest SOF component, is not one of the stakeholders for this capability. Hopefully, this program will result in a new Suppressed URG for the requesting warfighting community which includes other SOCOM components. As of now, USASOC plans to stick with its current suppressor capability, provided by SureFire.

Today Is The Anniversary Of The Battle Of Mogadishu

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

As time marches on, younger Americans step into the breach. It’s our duty to teach them about their heritage. Today is an important date in US military history for two reasons.

First, is the creation of the 75th Ranger Regiment through the activation of its 3rd Battalion. It’s also the date of 1993’s Battle of Mogadishu during which, elements of TF Ranger which had deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, conducted an operation on that city’s Olympic Hotel in order to capture key leaders of the Aidid Militia.

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Unfortunately, during the exfil portion of the raid a battle ensued that claimed the lives of 18 Americans and wounded another 73. Additionally, CW3 Michael Durant was captured by the militia. Fortunately, Durant was later repatriated and went on to retire from the 160th. Of the men killed that day, two would be awarded the Medal of Honor, Delta Operators Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart, for their selfless efforts to protect Durant after his aircraft, callsign Super 64, was shot down.

If you are unfamiliar with the events, one of the best accounts of the battle is contained in the book, “Blackhawk Down” by author Mark Bowden. Much of the information was serialized prior to the book’s publication in the Philadelphia Enquirer. Later this was made into a movie bearing the same name.

Please take a moment to remember these men and their sacrifice.

USSOCOM Small Business Roundtable

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is hosting a Small Business (SB) Roundtable in Tampa, FL on 17 October 2017 from 2:00pm-4:00pm, with a no host social from 4:00pm-5:00pm. Government participants will be the USSOCOM Acquisition Executive, Director of Procurement, and Director of the Office of Small Business Programs.

SB Roundtables are intended to allow small businesses to discuss barriers to doing business with USSOCOM, provide input as to what USSOCOM is doing well, and provide suggestions for ways to make doing business with USSOCOM easier. These roundtables are not meant to be an opportunity for firms to present their capabilities to USSOCOM, or to receive a forecast of upcoming requirements.

USSOCOM would like to have participation from all socio-economic categories and a variety of industries. Space is limited to 25 individuals; therefore, participation is restricted to one participant per small business.

The criteria considered when selecting attendees (in no particular order and not listed in order of importance):

1. Socioeconomic status (they would like representation from each socioeconomic category (SB, SDB, WOSB, HUBZone, VOSB, and SDVOSB);
2. Products and/or services provided (they lean more towards firms that provide what the command buys, but want a variety of industries represented);
3. Experience with USSOCOM (they would like a mix of experienced and inexperienced firms);
4. The last time your firm has attended a SB Roundtable (they want to afford all firms an opportunity to attend a roundtable);
5. When your request to attend was received; and
6. Where your firm is located (they would like a mix of local and non-local firms).

Interested parties visit, www.fbo.gov.

Rugged Blood for Rugged Men: Freeze-Dried Plasma Saves SOF Life

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The life of a foreign partner nation force member was saved last month through MARSOC’s first operational use of freeze-dried plasma.

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The foreign ally sustained life-threatening injuries during an operation in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, requiring battlefield trauma care made possible by MARSOC training and availability of the new product.

According to U.S. Navy Lt. Eric Green, force health protection officer, freeze-dried plasma is providing better medical care on the battlefield. Green is the study coordinator with MARSOC Health Services Support. He explained that freeze-dried plasma is a dehydrated version of plasma that replaces the clotting factors lost in blood. Typically, plasma is frozen and thawed over a period of five days, preventing quick use in a deployed setting.

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Another disadvantage of traditional blood products for special operations is the need for additional equipment, such as refrigerators and electricity. This creates a higher target profile for special operations forces (SOF) teams, and presents a logistical challenge for Navy corpsmen. Use of such equipment, as well as timely casualty evacuation options, is not always possible during SOF missions. FDP eliminates the need for this equipment and buys precious time for corpsmen to treat the injured before evacuation.

“I think it reassures Raiders that when they’re in harm’s way, they have a life-saving product in the medical bags of their very capable corpsmen,” said Green.

With the need for freezing and refrigeration eliminated, FDP can sustain a wider range of temperatures and is therefore more stable and reliable than traditional plasma during military operations. The dehydrated state of the plasma allows for a shelf life of two years and is compatible with all blood types. Before MARSOC received approval to begin use of freeze-dried plasma, battlefield treatment options for hemorrhaging – the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield – were mainly limited to tourniquets and chemical clotting agents.

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“It is stable in the field unlike whole blood or if we were to do fresh plasma or frozen plasma, so our guys can carry it with them in their resuscitative packs,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Necia Williams, FDP primary principal investigator and MARSOC force surgeon with MARSOC HSS. “They can quickly reconstitute it, infuse it to somebody and it buys time that is so critical.”

According to U.S. Navy Lt. Aaron Conway, Marine Raider Regiment surgeon with MARSOC HSS, reconstitution happens within six minutes and patients start showing improvement in vital signs minutes later. The precious time bought using FDP allows medical personnel to transfer patients to a hospital where they can receive full medical care. Conway, MARSOCs FDP principal investigator, said during medical care, FDP’s effects can be physically seen most in a patient when surgery and recovery is happening.

Since December 2016, every MARSOC special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman deploys with a supply of freeze-dried plasma and the experience to administer it. By October 2017, every MARSOC unit deployed will be outfitted with FDP.

Once the FDP has returned unused from a deployment it goes into quarantine and gets used during training exercises to prepare Navy corpsmen in its use. Corpsmen go through a rigorous academic and practical training process to prepare them for the field. They get practical experience before deploying and learn how to reconstitute and identify the indications to use FDP.

“We’ve trained with it, we’ve sourced it to our guys, and now we’ve actually got the combat wounded application of the product,” said Conway. “I think it is a tip of the spear life-saving measure.”

This life-saving measure is manufactured by French Centre de Transfusion Sanguine de Armees and used since 1994. They provide the U.S. with FDP while it is pending Food and Drug Administration approval and is under an Investigative New Drug protocol. Currently the use of FDP has been allowed within U.S. Special Operations Command. MARSOC was the second service component within U.S. Special Operations Command to receive approval for use of freeze-dried plasma.

In 2010, U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, then-SOCOM commander, learned that U.S. allied forces were using FDP successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. McRaven wanted it made available to U.S. forces, so he pushed his plan and helped expedite the process between the White House and the FDA.

The main roadblock getting FDA approval was the historical spike of Hepatitis B after World War II, causing the stoppage of production and use by U.S. forces, resulting in rigorous testing and changes to the original formula. Plasma donors now undergo more testing for infectious diseases to prevent similar events. Freeze-dried plasma is expected to receive FDA approval by 2020.

Story by Cpl. Bryann Whitley
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Salvador R. Moreno)