I read in this recent article that several members on an unnamed US Special Operations unit landed at the Wattiya airbase in Libya.  According to the article, the US military members posed for pictures, were seen with various weapons and equipment and after being denied access to the airbase, returned to their aircraft and departed.

The Libyan Air Force took several photos of the event and released them to the world press.

I am not a Special Forces trooper but I am trained in OPSEC, by both DA and DoD (NSA).  This operation looks a little odd from my perspective.  Some things I noticed:

*  Was OPSEC considered at all?  There are many possible bits of Essential Elements of Friendly Information (EEFI) that can be gleaned from this incident.  It does not appear if any effort was made to protect the identity of these troops, equipment and presence in Libya.

*  One photograph shows what appears to be a M4 with a metal magazine and an Eotech SU 231.  This raises a few questions:  would a SOF troop be still using metal magazines and being that SOCOM had released a Safety of Use Message on the Eotechs, would the sight still be in use in such a high profile and dangerous mission?


*  The troops almost seem to be purposely posing and making sure their images are captured and no effort is made to blend in.  The plaid shirts are a nice touch.

*  Likewise their Polaris MRZR 4 and their ammunition crates are left in the open for anyone and everyone to see and photograph.  The ammo crates are even plainly marked “Cartridges for Weapons”.



Like I said I am not a Special Operations soldier but I do know how I would have developed an OPSEC plan for this type of deployment and this isn’t it.  Heck, when we landed in Kuwait on the way to Afghanistan our buses were blacked out and unmarked to travel from KCIA to Ali Alsaleem.

DoD confirmed that these were US troops at the Wattiya airbase on 14 December 2015.

I submit we are seeing a DoD head fake, an example of Deception Management.  These troops were possibly meant to be seen arriving and meant to be seen publicly booted out of the country with their well-documented equipment.  This may be a diversion from what is really happening elsewhere which is yet to be determined.

This is all theory and I could be completely wrong but this looks like a somewhat clever ruse for dangerous times.

Please feel free to comment below.