Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov recently said that the Ministry of Defence has formed – and is ready to use – the Special Operations Forces; military units trained to perform combat missions both in Russia and abroad. He said the decision was based on the leading nations’ experience in forming, training and using special operations units, including the best-known of them all – the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM).
Such units have completely altered the very concept of special forces and their operating methods. The key difference is that command identifies only the scene of operations, whereas special operations units act autonomously and define their objectives independently in order to accomplish the ultimate mission. They are actively engaged with space and tactical reconnaissance units and involve Army, Air Force and Navy units. Continue reading
This is also another reason that the Soviets, Chinese and Germans patrol the open seas and hunt pirates that articles won’t normally mention. The primary goal is not the pirate hunting itself. Aside from “maritime trade” routes, the primary goal can also be territorial claim and control of strategic waterways once you establish a regular patrol routine. Another benefit for these countries is that it’s free training for the military and even weapons testing without having an actual war. The pirates could’ve have been hunted down in their own country or a war between nations would have happened by now should they be an actual threat.
These militarization plans are certainly not a reaction merely to considerations of how to combat more effectively piracy off the coast of Somalia, but to geostrategic considerations as well. For example, last year Volker Perthes, Director of SWP, pointed out that the “interests” behind the countries’ sending their naval vessels to the Horn of Africa are not “limited to the war on piracy.” Perthes explains that, over the past few years, the importance of the Indian Ocean, where piracy is being fought in its western sector, has enormously grown. “One third of the world’s maritime trade” crosses this route, with the trend rising rapidly. Particularly East Asian countries, especially China, are making large infrastructure investments in the bordering countries – port facilities or transportation means -, which are “also elements of the geostrategic competition.” It is, after all, “it goes without saying” that China and even India have “an interest in protecting their maritime links.” Even though the United States “will remain the strongest maritime power in the Indian Ocean, for the foreseeable future,” it will soon “no longer be the sole maritime power.” Perthes warns that “the new momentum in the greater region of the Indian Ocean” should not be neglected and one must also be involved.
Full article: With Submarines against Pirates (German Foreign Policy)
In response to requests from the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, the Navy is converting an aging warship it had planned to decommission into a makeshift staging base for the commandos. Unofficially dubbed a “mothership,” the floating base could accommodate smaller high-speed boats and helicopters commonly used by Navy SEALs, procurement documents show.
Special Operations Forces are a key part of the Obama administration’s strategy to make the military leaner and more agile as the Pentagon confronts at least $487 billion in spending cuts over the next decade.
Lt. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, declined to elaborate on the floating base’s purpose or to say where, exactly, it will be deployed in the Middle East. Other Navy officials acknowledged that they were moving with unusual haste to complete the conversion and send the mothership to the region by early summer.
Continue reading article: Navy wants commando ‘mothership’ in Middle East (Washington Post)