Sunday, June 18, 2017

How U.S., South Korean Special Ops Would Join Forces in a New Korean War

Of course it would not be a new Korean War but a continuation of the current one that was temporarily suspended by the 1953 Armistice.  But we do not always get to choose the titles of our articles.

How U.S., South Korean Special Ops Would Join Forces in a New Korean War

thecipherbrief.com · June 18, 2017
June 18, 2017 | COL David Maxwell


Tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula. There is fear that the Korean War could restart, since there has only been a temporary suspension of hostilities since the 1953 Armistice. Although this fear is not new and we have experienced high tensions many times over the years, given the global security situation, with two new administrations in Washington and Seoul and the uncertainty of Kim Jong-un’s future actions, some fear that the chances for some form of conflict are greater than ever. There is great focus on North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, continuing North Korean provocations to gain political and economic concessions, and the potential for a conventional war. But there is little focus on the combined special operations forces of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S., except for occasional rhetoric.
There were a number of ad hoc special operations units led by the U.S. during the Korean War. They went by such names as the UN Partisan Infantry Korea, the 8240th Army Unit, the White Tigers, the Combined Command Reconnaissance Activities Korea, and Joint Advisory Commission Korea. The combined special operations capability today has built on this history and has evolved to a quite capable force, the Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force, and it will provide critical support to the Commander of the ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command (ROK/US CFC).
There are two important points to keep in mind about special operations forces (SOF) in Korea. First is that all the legislated U.S. SOF activities specified in U.S. Code will be conducted during conflict. Although there is focus on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) since the transfer of the counter-WMD mission from U.S. Strategic Command to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 2016, there are many more SOF requirements to support the ROK/US CFC.
The second point is that ROK special operations forces are among the most capable forces with which the U.S. partners. Although they are not the same as U.S. SOF, they share a long history of training and working together not only in Korea but also in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even in places such as the Horn of Africa with ROK Navy SEALs supporting anti-piracy operations. The combination of ROK and U.S. SOF provide a powerful capability to the Commander of ROK/US CFC.
To provide context for the type of operations SOF will conduct it is important to understand the “Big 5” of the Korean strategic challenges:

(Continued at the link below)

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

thecipherbrief.com · June 16, 2017
June 16, 2017 | COL David Maxwell


While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains at odds with the United States, the armed forces of the two countries have maintained a close working relationship that dates to 1951 and the signing of a mutual defense treaty. In recent years the primary mission of U.S. forces in the Philippines has been Foreign Internal Defense operations against the country’s many insurgent groups. As Philippine government forces continue to fight Islamist militants in the city of Marawi, U.S. Special Forces have served as advisors and U.S. aircraft have provided intelligence and reconnaissance in support of Philippine airstrikes and operations. The Cipher Brief reached out to Col. (ret.) David Maxwell, former commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Forces Philippines, about the mission of United States Special Operations Forces in the Philippines and its involvement in the ongoing battle for Marawi.
The Cipher Brief: U.S. special operations troops have been deployed in the Philippines for many years. Historically, what has been their mission?
David Maxwell: The traditional mission has been Foreign Internal Defense (FID) which consists of activities by joint U.S. military forces and civilian government agencies to advise and assist friends, partners, and allies in internal defense and development programs so that they can defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism. U.S. special operations forces, to include Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, SEALS, Marine Raiders, and Air Commandos as well as Special Forces (which has been the dominant force) have provided training, advice, and assistance for decades to assist the United States’ longest-standing treaty ally against a very complex combination of threats. They have helped the Armed Forces of the Philippines to develop a range of special operations skills from tactical counterterrorism operations, intelligence operations and civil military operations, to advanced aviation techniques to include night vision flying.
One of the unique aspects of the relationship is the U.S. special operations forces have always respected Philippines sovereignty and supported security forces through advice and assistance, while never conducting U.S. unilateral operations. The Philippines always remained in command, control, and in the lead on all operations.
TCB: What are some of the unique challenges to training against and combating the militant groups in the Philippines compared to other groups worldwide?
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Sam Wilson dead at 93


It is with great sadness that I pass this on.  I am sure there will be complete obituaries telling his amazing story in coming days.

He of course retired just as I was entering the Army so I never served with him.  However, one of my bosses gave me a xeroxed copy of his 20 Characteristics of Special Operations, Special Operations Planning Suggestions, and Six Requirements of Special Operations in the 1980's and I have been carrying them around with me every since.  They can be read here on my blog: http://maxoki161.blogspot.com/2014/03/20-characteristics-of-special.html

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Sam Wilson dead at 93

RICE, Va. — Retired Lt. Gen. Samuel Wilson, who had a long military and intelligence career and was president of Hampden-Sydney College from 1992 to 2000, has died, the college announced. He was 93.
Wilson, who was known as “General Sam,” died Saturday at his home in Rice, Virginia.
Wilson served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and was known for coining the term “counter-insurgency” as well as for helping to create Delta Force, the U.S. Army’s special forces group.
Long before that, he joined the Army as a 16-year-old private in 1940. He taught guerrilla and counter-guerrilla tactics at the Infantry School at Fort Benning in Georgia in 1942 and 1943. He became a first lieutenant at the age of 19 and was chief reconnaissance officer for a unit known as Merrill’s Marauders, which operated behind enemy lines in Burma during World War II.
At the end of the war, he was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, which was the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, in Southeast Asia. He later worked as a CIA officer in West Berlin and a defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the Cold War.
Wilson retired from the Army in 1977 and became a political science professor at Hampden-Sydney while continuing to consult with officials in Washington.
Hampden-Sydney President Larry Stimpert says Wilson steered the college through a difficult period when enrollment growth slowed and the college considered whether to allow women. The governing board ultimately decided to keep college all-male, and under Wilson’s leadership, enrollment growth resumed and the endowment nearly doubled. Hampden-Sydney remains one of the nation’s few remaining private colleges for men.

Joint Statement between the United States and the Republic of Korea

Some good news here.  Many positive statements in this joint statement. I hope both the ROK and US national security practitioners can take...