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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

SOFWERX – USSOCOM Autonomous Interoperability Standards Development Event

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) and Naval Special Warfare (NSW), will host the Autonomous Interoperability Standards Development Event, 07-09 December, 2021. In the Human Machine Teaming Aspects of Mission command, the objective is to bring together Special Operations Forces (SOF) representatives and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to assist USSOCOM in discerning the future of Autonomous Interoperability for Unmanned Air, Ground, Surface, and Underwater Systems (UxS). Focus areas will include but are not limited to sensors, communications, and platforms.

NSW has developed a vision for the future whose key elements include next generation UxS and autonomy solutions, and interoperable maritime and air assets. To do this effectively, NSW needs interoperability standards for the heterogeneous UxS platforms that they will use now and in the future. USSOCOM thus needs to develop and implement a set of interoperability standards that are not cumbersome, that are flexible, and that will support new technologies. They will also need to provide enough freedom for companies to use their creative approaches but with well-defined interfaces, messaging, communications, navigation, and control systems. Further, the backing of NSW and USSOCOM should provide an incentive for commercial players to rally around the new standards. This effort will support agility, wider government and commercial participation and ensure cost-effective development.

This event is restricted to U.S Citizens Only.

Submit NLT 29 October 11:59 PM ET, details at events.sofwerx.org/interoperability.

Ben Baker: MACV-SOG’s “Q” – The Legendary Special Forces Logistics Wizard

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Conrad “Ben” Baker served as chief of the Counter Insurgency Support Office and created some of America’s most innovative combat equipment.

AUSA 21 – Joint Communications Unit

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

The Joint Communications Unit is a technical unit of the United States Special Operations Command charged to standardize and ensure interoperability of communication procedures and equipment of the Joint Special Operations Command and its subordinate units.

They are always seeking the best communicators in DoDs for a special duty assignment with the Joint Communications Unit.

The Battle of Mogadishu

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

Everyday marks an anniversary of a significant event in American military history, but today stands out among them.

On this date in 1993, US service members were engaged in what is now known as the Battle of Mogadishu. A joint organization was formed named ” TF Ranger” to deploy to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of a UN-led humanitarian mission. Already having conducted operations for some time, on 3 October they raided the city’s Olympic Hotel in order to capture key leaders of the Aidid Militia.

Unfortunately, during the exfil portion of the raid, a battle ensued which claimed the lives of 18 Americans and wounded another 73. Additionally, CW3 Michael Durant was captured by the Aideed 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.

Recently, the US Army reevaluated the awards presented to the participants of that battle and amongst the Ranger element, upgraded 60 veteran’s awards including 58 Silver Stars and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. The order of battle included other organizations and their Soldiers will soon receive similar upgrades.

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.

Additionally, the 75th Ranger Regiment was created on this day in 1984, with the stand up of its 3rd Battalion. Almost four decades later, the Ranger Regiment boasts boasts five battalions of some of the most elite warriors on the face of our planet.

USSOCOM Publishes Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

About once a decade the call goes out to “diversify” America’s Special Operations Forces. Each time, a study is completed and it turns out that not enough minorities are volunteering for the various training pipelines associated with SOF. Various “fixes” are proposed and invariably fail.

Regardless, SOF is more diverse today than it was just even a few years ago, as more jobs have been opened to female service members. As big as the personnel numbers look (over 70,000 at last count), the enablers in the command are far greater in number and diversity than their operations counterparts. However, few of them spend a career in SOF as they are assigned and promoted by their parent services. Looking out for their careers is hardly the purview of SOCOM. Obviously, this is a double-edged sword for SOF leaders. The operations side of the command isn’t diverse due to lack of interest and the enabler side is diverse but isn’t the primary mission of the organization, leading to support troops often feeling like “second class citizens.”

While efforts should be made to interest a wider audience in service in special operations, abandoning standards for quotas will eventually result in mission failure. As the nation’s political leadership continues to rely upon its special operators to accomplish missions of national importance, failure is not an option. 

While the plan doesn’t call directly for quotas, the words used by bureaucrats are there to justify their agenda of mediocrity. The tip of the spear must be free of political interference. 

The plan is available for download here

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Aptima Receives USSOCOM Contract for Holistic Sleep Optimization and Remediation Platform

Monday, September 27th, 2021

RESTORE aims to enhance a warfighter’s ability to achieve the restorative effects of sleep through innovative restoration technologies and personalized regimens.

July 28th, 2021—Woburn, MA— Aptima, Inc. announced today that it has received a contract valued at up to $1.29 million from the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), to develop RESTORE: Restorative & Efficient Sleep Technologies for Optimizing Operator Resiliency and Effectiveness, a holistic sleep optimization and remediation platform.

About one-third of a human being’s life is spent sleeping, the need for sleep is an undeniable biological imperative, however, methods for reducing amounts of sleep without long-term negative effects remain elusive.

Sleep issues are prevalent across all the Services, including USSOCOM

Adults need at least six, ideally seven to nine, hours of sleep within a 24-hour period to perform at peak efficiency. Military operations, particularly in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) domain, are unpredictable and do not lend themselves to a tidy 24-hour period. Furthermore, sleep issues can persist after returning home from overseas combat or training deployments, for both SOF and non-SOF personnel.

Aptima and partners at West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, Oura Health Ltd., and Fusion Sport, will develop a holistic sleep optimization and remediation platform that will provide restorative sleep solutions throughout an operator’s entire deployment cycle, through training, recovery, and deployment. RESTORE leverages existing technologies that can optimize or remedy sleep in controlled settings, narrowed down to the three most

Data sources utilized in RESTORE’s personalized sleep recommendation system

effective and practical technologies: the enhancement of slow-wave sleep activity via auditory stimulation, photobiomodulation (PBMT) therapy, and floatation therapy. The platform packages these technologies so that they can be used when they are needed most. RESTORE employs a cyclical sense-assess-augment taxonomy for optimizing human effectiveness. The first sense component of the RESTORE platform is a measurement strategy that collects data on current sleep patterns, including objective measurement techniques such as polysomnography (PSG) for laboratory studies, wearable commercial sleep monitors for applied applications, and subjective measures such as sleep scales and other smartwatch-based survey methods.

The platform intelligently and securely fuses human state assessment data with  enviornmental factors to get a complete picture of the user’s sleep and subsequently deliver tailored sleep recommendations via personalized sleep regimens and cutting-edge, empirically validated technological interventions.

Despite RESTORE being developed to address military needs, Aptima’s Business Development team sees a great deal of potential for RESTORE to address the needs of a wide array of consumers in commercial markets who are prone to sleep disruptions such as collegiate/professional athletics, business travelers, on-call physicians, parents of newborns, etc.…

This article reflects work performed on a SBIR Phase II project entitled, “RESTORE II: Restorative & Efficient Sleep Technologies for Optimizing Operator Resiliency and Effectiveness”, sponsored by the USSOCOM, Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Science and Technology Directorate, whom the authors wish to thank.

For more information about RESTORE, please contact [email protected].

SOFWERX – Unattended Maritime Systems Optical Subsystems Assessment Event

Monday, September 27th, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR) Program Management (PM) Office Technical Collection & Communications (TCC), will host an Assessment Event (AE) on 8 November, 2021, to identify technologies and techniques for Unattended Maritime Systems (UMS), in particular the SV-3 Wave Glider. The prototype optical subsystem will be integrated onto the SV-3 in time for a demonstration at a test event in July 2022.

Submit NLT 18 October 11:59 PM ET with details at events.sofwerx.org/ums.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – General Wingate a Forefather of Modern Guerilla Warfare

Sunday, September 26th, 2021

Major General Orde Wingate has memorials in England, Israel, and Ethiopia. Though he was unorthodox, erratic, and difficult to work with, many admired his eccentricities. Wingate, who ate raw onions for their health benefits and who cleaned himself with a hairbrush of sorts, also believed, quite openly, in his superiority. This, along with his sometimes-disheveled looks and foul body odor, alienated more than a few of his commanders and colleagues. He was also known for being in his tent completely naked and running staff briefings. The most well-known of his contributions is his creation of the Chindits battalions for deep-penetration missions into the Burmese jungles behind Japanese lines. The missions’ effectiveness is a matter of debate, but Wingate’s exploits have secured him a place as a legend, if a very odd one. Wingate was born on February 26, 1903, in India to a British army officer. He had six siblings, so they were with him for most of his childhood. The family moved to England before 1916, and Wingate attended formal education in England.

In 1921, he was accepted to Woolwich Military Academy, where he studied infantry and artillery tactics. He was known to be rude, obstinate, and intolerant. He excelled in horseback riding at the Military School of Equitation. Because of this skill, he was promoted to the cavalry. Throughout his early career, Wingate always tested people. It was often because he rubbed people up the wrong way and didn’t conform to the “old boys’ network” that the officer class of the British Army consisted of in those days. In 1928, he was sent to Sudan to keep an eye on possible uprisings against British colonial rule and map it. Wingate traveled to Sudan by bicycle and then took a boat from Yugoslavia to Cairo, Egypt. He reached Khartoum and was eventually transferred to the Sudanese Defense Force. Most officers would’ve considered this a black mark on their career, but he thrived in Sudan and the harsh environment, considering it a challenge and a way to “toughen up.” He served in the East Arab Army and commanded units patrolling Ethiopia’s border, preventing the trade in black slaves and ivory. He enjoyed being out on the trail. He was unpopular with other officers due to his abrasive personality.

Next, Wingate went to the British Mandate for Palestine (today’s Israel). There, he was decidedly pro-Jewish in a majority Arab country and in an army where many of the officers did not like the natives, either Arab or Jew. He proceeded to get involved in the Jewish communities, their leaders, and Zionist movements. Wingate believed that it was his religious obligation to support the creation of a Jewish state. He pushed the boundaries of his duties, and some say he exceeded them, helping militant Jewish groups with money, arms and intelligence. With the reluctant support of General Archibald Wavell, Wingate aided militant Jewish groups in attacks against Arab militants during the Arab uprisings of the late 1930s.

To fight the Palestinian Arab guerrilla forces in the area, Wingate suggested to Major General Archibald Wavell (commander of British troops in the area at the time) the idea of commando units of British and Jewish troops to counter raids, saboteur operations and find the villages where the guerrillas sought refuge. Wavell approved, and Wingate formed the Special Night Squads from volunteers in the British Army and Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary force that was the precursor to the Israeli Defense Force. For his actions in Palestine, Wingate was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and became a hero in the Jewish community. He is still remembered in Israel to this day for his huge role in training Haganah forces. After England was drawn into World War II, he was sent to Ethiopia to organize a guerrilla force around the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie. The Italians had conquered the country of the latter in 1936-37. The “Gideon Force” was a group of irregular troops that shared Wingate’s vision for the irregular forces and fought with him in Palestine.

Like many “different” individuals throughout the history of military service, Wingate inspired either complete disdain or total loyalty, and most of his loyal followers followed him to Ethiopia and beyond. Gideon Force, made up of British, Ethiopian, and Sudanese soldiers, soon ran the Italians ragged, and in a war that they were ill-equipped to fight, forced the Italian forces of 2,000 men to surrender to their 20,000 in 1941. Emperor Haile Selassie was another man who admired Wingate and looked upon him favorably. In February 1941, Wingate created his new command. Requested by the new commander-in-chief of Middle East Command, Wavell, to fight the Italians in Ethiopia, Wingate traveled to Sudan and formed the Gideon Force. The Gideon Force was named after the biblical Judge who defeated a large army with a small army.

Wingate’s Gideon Force, numbering about 1,700, moved behind enemy lines and attacked supply lines while working with local militias to attack Italian forts. Operation Gideon Force was successful in the end, due to the surrender of 20,000 Italian troops. Wingate accompanied Emperor Haile Selassie on his return to Addis in May 1941. He was awarded his second unit citation for his exemplary service. In both Palestine and Ethiopia/Sudan, Wingate’s relationships with local communities and populations were seen by other officers as highly inappropriate. This, combined with his official reports in which he often railed against other officers and the higher command, hurt his chances at promotion and led to him being moved frequently.

Also, there was the issue of his eccentricity, which included wearing a wreath of raw onion and garlic around his neck, which he would frequently chew into and greet guests to his command tent while entirely naked. Wavell established an affinity for Wingate and his creativity, and when he became commander of the South East Asian Theatre, he helped Wingate secure a command. Reports of Ethiopia reached Winston Churchill, searching for innovative and creative ways to take the war to the enemy. This allowed him to get an audience with Churchill, who was impressed by the idea and asked that he come up with a plan. Wingate arrived in India in March of 1942 to become a colonel for the British shortly before India’s Japanese takeover. Wingate commanded the Indian 77th Infantry Brigade and trained them in the art of jungle warfare. With this training, he learned to camp in the jungle during the monsoon season, which led to hundreds of men getting sick. Wingate believed exercise and mental strength would boost one’s resistance to infection. However, his eccentricity directly led to poor managerial decision-making.

Wingate was ordered to form a group of guerrilla-style fighters to take the battle behind Japanese lines to disrupt communications, gain intelligence, and force the Japanese to divert troops that might be needed in more strategic areas. To create the “Chindits,” Wingate copied the Burmese word for a mythical, fearless lion. The first Chindit mission in February 1943 was a failure. The Chindits made trouble for the Japanese behind their lines in Burma, but poor logistics and underestimating how mobile the Japanese were forced the Chindits back to India in March. They had pushed too far into Japanese territory, and when they attempted to retreat, the Japanese surrounded them. Wingate split-off his men into smaller groups and arranged them to expedite their return. Through the war’s remainder, the Wingate Troop’s survivors trickled back to India. The loss of one-third of the men raised the morale of the other troops. They were encouraged by this, and it boosted confidence further. Wingate was given another opportunity to the situation.

Wingate was given overall command of six whole brigades and the mission. Two were dropped via gliders during World War II into Burma behind enemy lines in March. Those men cleared landing strips so other aircraft could land. Though many officers argued that the mission took the most battle-hardened troops away from the front line of battle, as the Japanese tried to push into India, they were constantly distracted by the Chindits, which delayed their advance. The Japanese attempted to isolate the small force, using three infantry divisions to chase a force of perhaps 8,000 men (the force increased in size to about 12,000 in 1944). In 1944, the Chindits penetrated deep into Burma and found strong points deep in the jungle, from which to strike out and harass the Japanese. This strategy was so successful that the Japanese decided to eliminate the threat from the Indian border. This resulted in significant battles at Imphal and Kohima, some of the most brutal fighting in that theater. Throughout the process, the Chindits harassed the Japanese column, weakening them for the decisive battles.

The Japanese commander, Mutaguchi Renya, said that he would have likely achieved a Japanese victory had he not been forced to put up a fight against the Chindits. Wingate’s force definitely contributed to Burma’s victory, even though their achievements may have been overstated. When his plane crashed on March 24, 1944, Major General Wingate was on his way to inspect his troops in the Burmese jungle. Three British officers, as well as the American pilots, died in the incident. Their remains were archived in India. Following their deceased relatives’ wishes, they were subsequently interred in the United States at Arlington National Cemetery. The Chindits continued under other commanders until the end of the war, using Wingate’s tactics, who is still considered one of the most innovative tactical strategists of the 20th century. Wingate is regarded for his unorthodox approaches to unconventional warfare and as a very unusual man. But he was also one of the best wartime leaders and innovators of WWII.