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Meet the Deadliest Special Forces on Planet Earth

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AKS 74U Spetsnaz - Meet the Deadliest Special Forces on Planet Earth

Also illuminating is Vasily Kashin’s very detailed examination of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s special operations forces, which included much information that is not widely known. “The People’s Republic of China began to build up the special operations component of its armed forces much later than most of the world’s leading military powers,” Kashin writes

Edited by Ruslan Pukhov and Christopher Marsh, Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World is an excellent, methodically researched study of various special mission units from around the globe. While information about well-known American and British special operations forces such as the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force, the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six or the UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) units is fairly commonplace, researchers at Russia’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) have assembled detailed profiles of foreign units from Russia, Ukraine China and others that cannot be found anywhere else.

“Increasingly scholarly articles are appearing in journals and scholarly presses are beginning to publish more books in the field, with the number of books on related topics growing rapidly every year,” Christopher Marsh writes in his introduction. “What has been lagging, however, has been high-quality comparative research into the global phenomenon of special operations. This is where this volume comes in.”

The book fulfills its mission to fill the “gap by covering the history and current operating environment of the special operations forces of fourteen countries of the world, including many that have tended to get less attention in the English language media, such as Algeria, Italy, and Poland, for example,” as Marsh writes. Indeed, some of the best and most detailed chapters in the book are on foreign special operations forces familiar only to dedicated regional specialists.

Among the best in Elite Warriors are Alexey Ramm and Alexey Nikolsky’s contributions. In their respective chapters, the two researchers detail Moscow’s extensive special operations forces and the Kremlin’s ongoing efforts to revamp those units. Ramm details the post-Soviet reforms of Russia’s elite Spetsnaz troops and their evolving roles and missions. He also provides details about the various units’ training and equipment and their command and control.

Nikolsky’s chapters offer a more historiography approach to the subject—detailing the evolution of Soviet and Russian special operations forces and the politics behind those decisions. “Apart from personal rivalries, interagency squabbling and doctrinal ambiguities, the creation of the SSO was also held back by the lack of funds for any meaningful military reforms,” Nikolsky wrote.

Nikolsky takes the reader from the Soviet-era focus on nuclear war, through Afghanistan and the Russian experiences in the Caucuses and Ukraine through to today’s conflict in Syria. Western readers are sure to find the story of the creation of Russia’s Special Operations Command (SSO)—patterned on the American Joint Special Operations Command—to be fascinating, particularly as the unit continues to evolve.

“The capability of the SSO will almost certainly continue to improve, and its numerical strength will continue to grow,” Nikolsky wrote. “But a radical improvement that would put the Russian SSO in the same league with the American special operations forces would require the creation of a special helicopter unit, a Russian equivalent of the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.”

Other highlights include Yuri Liamin’s chapter on Iran’s special operations forces and the Quds Force, which U.S. forces often encounter but few in Washington know much about. “It is in fact a specialized intelligence service, trained and equipped for exerting covert influence and carrying out sensitive foreign-policy missions,” Liamin wrote. “It is, however, quite distinct from the regular IRGC military intelligence, which is a purely intelligence-gathering service.”

Also illuminating is Vasily Kashin’s very detailed examination of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s special operations forces, which included much information that is not widely known. “The People’s Republic of China began to build up the special operations component of its armed forces much later than most of the world’s leading military powers,” Kashin writes. “Beijing’s decision to develop a special operations capability was prompted by a protracted border conflict with Vietnam, which lasted throughout most of the 1980s. The SOF program was further prioritized after the Chinese analyzed the lessons of the first Gulf war in 1990-1991.”

Overall, Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World is an exceptionally well-researched booked and forms a valuable resource for scholars studying special operations forces—particularly those that are not of American or British origin. Each one of the chapters—which are essentially stand-alone research papers—offer detailed analyses of various nations’ forces—often with details not found anywhere else. Scholars in Washington will find the sections on Russia, Ukraine, Iran and China to be particularly useful.

Dave Majumdar is the former defense editor for The National Interest .

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Why the Stealth F-22 Isn’t ‘Ready’ For Combat

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F 22 Raptor demonstration of power - Why the Stealth F-22 Isn't 'Ready' For Combat

To some extent, this fits the Air Force’s shift toward distributed basing, where small sub-units of fighters are deployed at multiple locations rather than a few big — and vulnerable — forward air bases. But that won’t work with the current F-22 organizational structure, which the Air Force last reviewed in 2010 — after which it eliminated one squadron so there would be enough to distribute to the remaining units.

Poor U.S. Air Force organization and management have contributed to problems with the F-22 Raptor fighter, according to a new Government Accountability Office audit.

F-22 availability, already diminished by maintenance problems endemic to the complex and finicky stealth fighter, has been further reduced by the small size of F-22 squadrons and the practice of deploying small detachments from individual squadrons overseas. The combined effect has been to reduce F-22 availability to the point where there are neither enough planes to meet mission requirements nor to provide pilots with sufficient training for air-to-air combat, which is the Raptor’s primary role.

“The small size of F-22 squadrons and wings has contributed to low aircraft availability rates,” according to GAO. “Further, the Air Force practice of deploying a small portion of a squadron makes it difficult for F-22 squadrons, as currently organized, to make aircraft available for their missions at home station. The Air Force would also face difficulties generating aircraft to support DOD’s concepts for using distributed operations in high threat environments with its current F-22 squadron organization.”

Typical Air Force fighter wings comprise three squadrons of 24 aircraft apiece. F-22 wings comprise one of two squadrons of 18 to 21 aircraft apiece (GAO notes that F-35 wings will be organized according to the traditional model, with two to three regular-sized squadrons per wing). Larger wings are considered more efficient because equipment and personnel can be shared, thus two-squadron F-22 wings in Alaska and Virginia have enjoyed higher aircraft availability than single-squadron wings.

Compounding the problem is the Air Force practice of dividing squadrons into detachments, called Unit Type Codes, for overseas deployment. But the F-22 UTCs are not a uniform size.  For example, one of the F-22’s UTCs is designed to have only 6 of a squadron’s 21 aircraft but contains almost 50 percent of the squadron’s equipment, approximately 40 percent of the squadron’s maintenance personnel and 60 percent of its operational personnel,” which leaves the remaining portion of the squadron with too few resources, GAO says.

To some extent, this fits the Air Force’s shift toward distributed basing, where small sub-units of fighters are deployed at multiple locations rather than a few big — and vulnerable — forward air bases. But that won’t work with the current F-22 organizational structure, which the Air Force last reviewed in 2010 — after which it eliminated one squadron so there would be enough to distribute to the remaining units.

Not surprisingly, lack of available aircraft has affected training.

“An Air Force analysis conducted in 2016 determined that, based on current aircraft availability rates, pilots in an F-22 squadron with 21 primary mission aircraft need 270 days of home station training each year to meet their minimum annual continuation training requirements,” GAO notes.

“However, F-22 pilots are generally not meeting those minimums, according to the officials, and F-22 operational squadrons have reported numerous shortfalls. For example, one squadron identified training shortfalls in its primary missions for four consecutive years in its annual training reports. Another squadron identified training shortfalls in one of its primary missions, offensive counter-air, in three of the last four annual training reports.”

Pilots also can’t train because they are tasked with homeland security, even though air defense is a mission that could be handled by other aircraft.

“Operational squadrons in Alaska and Hawaii have F-22 pilots sitting alert in order to address the 24-hour per day alert commitment,” GAO says. “During this time they are not able to train for their high-end air superiority missions. Further, the squadrons must dedicate a number of mission-capable aircraft to this mission, which is more challenging for squadrons with a smaller number of aircraft. Squadron officials from one location estimated that they could generate hundreds of additional training sorties on an annual basis if they could use the aircraft that are currently dedicated to the alert mission.”

GAO does acknowledge that a large part of the availability problem is the stealth materials on the F-22s skin, which require frequent and lengthy maintenance. The coatings, which are good for 8 to 10 years, are also reaching the end of their service life — in part because many F-22s are not based in climate-controlled hangars.

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Why Photos Of Osama bin Laden’s Corpse Are Still Not Available to Public

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Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri

A years after the Osama Bin Laden, the notorious terrorist leader, was killed there is still many conspiracy theories about his death He was killed on May 2, 2011, by US Navy SEALs operators at his compound in Abbottabad, Abbottabad, Pakistan. The operation was codenamed as Neptune Spear. In an article published on TheNewsRep, author Jack Murphy writes about the fact that so far there are no publicly released photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. Down below you can find his opinion on this topic:

There are a lot of puzzled expressions on people’s faces when it comes to the subject of the late Osama bin Laden and why the White House has not authorized the release of any pictures of his body. Photographs and video were released of Saddam Hussein’s hanging, as well as post-mortem pictures of his criminal sons, Uday and Qusay after Delta Force took them out. Why not release a few pictures of Public Enemy #1 to prove that he is dead and show the world what happens when you take on the U.S. of A?

Matt Bissonnette, one of the SEAL Team 6 operators on the bin Laden raid, partially outs the reason in his book “No Easy Day.” The book reads, “In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”

But this is perhaps the most measured and polite description that one could give of how operator after operator took turns dumping magazines’ worth of ammunition into bin Laden’s body, two confidential sources within the community have told us. When all was said and done, Osama bin Laden had more than a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.

Was this a one-time incident or part of a developing trend of lawless behavior? Consider these two other incidents:

•In 2013, The Associated Press reported that SEALs attached to SEAL Team 6 were investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service after $30,000 in cash strangely vanished from Capt. Richard Phillips’ lifeboat. Phillips had been taken a hostage from the Maersk Alabama ship. SEAL snipers shot and killed his pirate captors using night-vision goggles, laser target designators, and multiple rounds. They took control of the lifeboat — and presumably the money.

But the money was never recovered — and its disappearance remains a mystery to this day. Phillips described the incident in his book this way: “Two stacks of hundreds, one of the fifties, then twenties, fives and tens … I never saw the money again. Later, when they gave me a sack to lean against, I felt the stacks of money inside, but I never spotted the cash out in the open again. “The case was eventually closed because there was no substantial evidence linking the SEALs to any wrongdoing.

In Eric Blehm’s book “Fearless,” he openly writes about illicit drug use by an active-duty SEAL stationed on the East Coast who ultimately went on to serve with SEAL Team 6. How this same person managed to pass a top-secret background clearance despite having 11 prior felony convictions is perturbing and revealing at the same time.

You may not care if bin Laden got some extra holes punched in him — few of us do — but what should concern you is a trend within certain special-operations units to engage in this type of self-indulgent and ultimately criminal behavior. Gone unchecked, these actions worsen over time and in the end risk creating a unit subculture that is hidden from senior commanders, that is more “Sons of Anarchy” than “American Hero.”

So is putting a few extra rounds into the enemy illegal?

Under the Laws of Land Warfare, a soldier is fully authorized to put a few insurance rounds into his target after he goes down. Provided the enemy is not surrendering, it is morally, legally and ethically appropriate to shoot the body a few times to ensure that he is really dead and no longer a threat. However, what happened on the bin Laden raid is beyond the permissible. The level of excess shown was not about making sure that bin Laden was no longer a threat. The excess was pure self-indulgence.

And if there’s any truth to the rumors floating around the special-operations community related to illegal activities at home and abroad, it will be a sad day of reckoning for America in many regards. When the truth comes to light, honor will have been betrayed by actions that are not aligned with the very principles these warriors swore an oath to uphold, the same ones that distinguish good guys from the bad.

Of course, these attitudes and behaviors do not come out of anywhere. Endless back-to-back combat deployments, post-traumatic stress disorder, broken families and the ugliness of more than a decade of war all play into it. War is ugly, ugliest of all for the warriors required to do the actual wet work, and Americans would do well to keep this in mind before passing judgment.

Now you know the likely reason why the Obama administration has not released pictures of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. To do so would show the world a body filled with a ridiculous number of gunshot wounds. The picture itself would likely cause an international scandal, and investigations would be conducted that could uncover other operations and activities many would do anything to keep buried.

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