The special operations community was rocked this week when the bodies of MSG Lavigne, a decorated Special Operator and Delta Force member, and Timothy Dumas an Army veteran were found in a training area of Fort Bragg. Details are still hazy, but SOFREP will continue to report on any new information.
This week brought a host of reports from around the world. At the start of the week, we learned about a gruesome massacre of scores of farmers in Nigeria. While no one has claimed responsibility for the killings, reports suggest that they were carried out by Boko Haram, a regional extremist terror group. In Mali, a series of attacks on coalition bases marked a new wave of coordinated violence against members of Task Force Takuba. In response to renewed clashes in Somalia, the White House has announced the withdrawal of troops from the country And tensions between Iran and the West increased when a second Iranian official was killed in an ambush-style attack.
An exclusive interview between a Russian publication and a former paramilitary officer pulled back the curtain on the country’s private mercenary army, Wagner PMC, which has been active across the Middle East and North Africa. The interview shed light on Wagner PMC’s ruthless application of force and how it’s acting far outside of political Russian oversight.
We took a deep look at Afghanistan this week, exploring the reasons behind our nearly 20-year commitment in the region. That report was bookended by the news that a highly respected Afghan helicopter pilot — responsible for the most enemy kills in the region — and his family were being denied entry in the United States. We will keep a keen eye on Afghanistan as we drawdown in the region and the Afghan peace process continues to unfold.
As the military looks to the future of warfare, it’s embracing a modern focus. As such, traditional tactics and strategies are being rethought. One example is how Air Force Special Operations will have to evolve from the War on Terror to face a Great Power struggle. The investment in new weapon systems and technology reflects the changing military focus. Weapons like the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept — a hypersonic aircraft-deployed ballistic missile that can hit any target on the planet in under an hour — are heralding a new era for our forces.
We also looked into movement inside our government this week. The window for the Senate to approve the budgets for the next fiscal year is closing quickly. But the coronavirus and politics are colliding, resulting in a stalemate over the Defense budget and threatening the possibility of a full government shutdown.
Our staff brought you a bevy of veteran and military stories as well. Jonathan Weiss shared his tips on military benefits you should take advantage of when transitioning out of the military; contributor Eddie Molina reported on a veteran-run farm program that’s working to feed veterans in need, and Senior Editor Steve Balestrieri shed light on a robotic sparring trainer designed and built by a Special Forces veteran. We welcomed back to SOFREP Dr. Bob Adams who regaled us with a story about the Navy’s secret marine mammal program, and we enjoyed two enthralling military history pieces from Sean Spoonts: First, the differences between grenades (and how to survive them); and second how an aviation legend helped us win WWII by developing a high-octane aircraft fuel.
On SOFREP Radio this week we welcomed Mike Sarraille, a retired Navy SEAL officer and author of The Talent War, a mandate on focusing on talent in business. Gear man Travis Pike scoured the internet for the best holiday gifts; don’t miss his picks.
What’s in store for next week? None of us knows. But, as always, we’ll be here to bring you the stories you won’t find anywhere else with insights and analysis from people who have actually been there.
In the meantime,
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