Army to establish special forces-like teams after Green Beret deaths in Niger

Special Forces, ISIS, Kurds, Iraq
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Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley said the service’s train, advise and assist (TAA) mission will likely grow after four Army Green Berets were killed last week while embedded with soldiers in Niger.

“We are training, advising and assisting indigenous armies all over the world,” Milley said Monday at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington.

“And I anticipate and expect that’ll increase, not decrease, in years to come.”


Four Green Berets were killed and two were injured on Oct. 4 after their group of a dozen U.S. soldiers were ambushed while conducting a joint patrol with about 40 Nigerien soldiers. Militants tied to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are suspected to have carried out the attack.

U.S. Africa Command said in a statement last week that the U.S. forces were assisting “Nigerien security force counterterror operations” at the time.

“It is a dangerous mission, TAA missions around the world. It depends on where you are at,” Milley said.

The Army is now working to stand up a new unit that will only take on such missions. The unit will be made up of six “Security Force Assistance Brigades,” which will include 500 noncommissioned and senior officers who meet “Ranger-like standards,” and will focus on countering terrorist groups across the globe.

“They will look and act, in many ways, and be trained similar to Special Forces, but they are not Special Forces,” Milley said.

Milley expects the six brigades will be operational within two years.

The Army’s top officer also said that U.S. Africa Command “is reviewing very closely the security procedures that they are using for these teams that are there in Africa.”

He would not say who was responsible for the attack but added that the military does have information on the group.

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