Naval Special Warfare Command
Naval Special Warfare Command was commissioned on 16 April 1987 at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA, and is the Naval component to the United States Special Operations Command headquartered in Tampa, FL.
The mission of Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (COMNAVSPECWARCOM) is to prepare Naval Special Warfare (NSW) forces to carry out assigned missions and to develop maritime special operations strategy, doctrine, and tactics. COMNAVSPECWARCOM exercises operational control over all United States-based Naval Special Warfare Command training, operational control of all United States-based Naval Special Warfare forces and responsibility for the training, equipping, supporting, and providing trained and ready forces to the combatant commanders. The commander, Naval Special Warfare Command is a Navy Flag Officer, a Rear Admiral.
A tactical force with strategic impact, NSW mission areas include unconventional warfare, direct action, combating terrorism, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, information warfare, security assistance, counter-drug operations, personnel recovery and hydrographic reconnaissance. NSW forces can operate independently or integrate with other U.S. special operations forces or within U.S. Navy carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups.
Naval Special Warfare units are organized, trained, and equipped to conduct special operations in maritime and riverine environments. They are deployed in small units worldwide in support of fleet and national operations. NSW provides an effective means to apply counterforce in conjunction with national policy and objectives in peacetime and across the spectrum of hostilities from peacetime operations to limited war to general war.
The major operational components of Naval Special Warfare Command include Naval Special Warfare Group ONE and Special Boat Squadron ONE in San Diego, CA, and Naval Special Warfare Group TWO and Special Boat Squadron TWO in Norfolk, VA. These components deploy SEAL Teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams and Special Boat Units worldwide to meet the training, exercise, contingency and wartime requirements of theater commanders. With approximately 5,000 total active-duty personnel--including 2,200 SEALs and 600 Special Warfare Combat Crewmembers (SWCC), and comprises less than one-tenth of one percent of U.S. Navy personnel.
Naval Special Warfare Groups (NSWG) are echelon II Captain (O6) major commands established by NAVSPECWARCOM at NAB Coronado and NAB Little Creek to equip, support, and provide command and control elements and trained and ready SEAL and SDV platoons and forces to the geographic CINCs. NSW Groups ONE and TWO are organized into:
- Three SEAL Teams, comprised of eight 16-man platoons, which conduct reconnaissance, DA, UW, FID, and other operations in maritime or riverine environments;
- One SDV Team which operates and maintains submersible systems that deliver and recover SEALs in hostile areas and conduct reconnaissance and DA missions; and
- NSW Units, which are small command and control elements located outside the continental United States, support other NSW forces assigned to theater SOCs or components of naval task forces.
A Naval Special Warfare Command Combat Service Support Teams (CSST) is assigned to each NSW Group to provide full-spectrum logistic support for designated SEAL Teams, Special Boat Units, NSW Task Groups/Task Units and/or special mission units. Tasking for each CSST includes three primary mission elements:
- OPLAN/CONPLAN and crisis-action logistic planning and coordination;
- In-theater contracting, small purchase and lease actions; and
- Comprehensive forward operating base support.
Within these mission elements, the CSST is responsible for force embarkation, load-planning, multi-modal transport coordination, combat cargo handling, in-theater logistic coordination, Military Liaison Officer/Defense Attaché Officer liaison, exercise related construction, infrastructure support, contingency engineering, expeditionary camp siting and development, camp maintenance, NBC decontamination, and defensive combat planning and execution.
In addition, Naval Special Warfare Task Groups (NSWTG), and Task Units (NSWTU), are task organized, tailored in size and composition to the mission, and resourced from NSWG and subordinate commands. They may operate unilaterally, jointly, or in combined operations. Their mission is to provide command and control, administration, and logistic support for assigned units. OPCON of designated NSW forces may be assigned to a JSOTF or with a fleet commander to support fleet amphibious and/or strike operations. The NSWTG and NSWTU are flexible in size and composition. Several NSWTUs can be operationally subordinate to a NSWTG, or a NSWTU could report directly to a JSOTF, if the scope of operations and size of the deployed force is limited.
Special Boat Squadrons (SBR) are echelon II Captain's major commands established by NAVSPECWARCOM at NAB Coronado and NAB Little Creek to equip, support, and provide trained and ready special operations ships and craft to the geographic CINCs. Each command is comprised of one or more active or reserve component Special Boat Units (SBUs) and CYCLONE Class Patrol Coastal (PC) ships.
The Naval Special Warfare Center located on the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado serves as the schoolhouse for much Naval Special Warfare training. It is a major component command of the Naval Special Warfare Command and is commanded by a NSW Captain (O-6). In addition to the 26 week BUD/S and nine week Special Warfare Combatant Crewman (SWCC) courses, the Center also conducts advanced maritime special operations training for NSW and other service component SOF personnel. The Center maintains a detachment at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia for selected training of personnel assigned to commands on the east coast.
There are three types of personnel assigned to NAVSPECWARCOM: NSW Officers, Navy enlisted SEALS, and Special Warfar Combat Craft Crewmembers.
NSW Officers go through the identical Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training that enlisted personnel attend at the Naval Special Warfare Center. Following BUD/S, it generally takes an additional six months to one year for an officer to become fully qualified. A Naval Special Warfare Officer can expect to spend his entire career in a variety of special operations assignments ranging from operational SEAL and SDV Teams to Joint Staffs, or Naval Special Warfare Groups.
The Navy enlisted SEAL is a highly competent and qualified member of the Special Operations Community. The distinguishing feature of Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) is that SEALs are maritime special forces, as they strike from and return to the sea, taking their name from the elements in and from which they operate. Their stealth and clandestine methods of operation allow them to conduct multiple missions against targets that larger forces cannot approach undetected.
All Navy SEALs go through the six month Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, (BUD/S), Training at the Naval Special Warfare Center. Upon completion of BUD/S, all SEALs attend Basic Airborne training and then report to their first operational SEAL or SDV Team. SEAL operators assigned to a SDV Team must also complete SDV school which is generally attended enroute to, or within three months of arrival at their new command. As an essential part of their qualification process, all SEALs must attend a three month SEAL Tactical Training (STT) course at their gaining command where they further enhance their operational skills and field craft. Upon completion of STT, SEALs are assigned to an operational SEAL platoon or SDV task unit for their initial operational assignment. The process of training, education, and qualification is continued throughout their careers through a combination of formal and informal processes including on-the-job skills training, and attendance at various service or SOF training commands, and civilian courses of instruction. Once qualified, and enlisted SEAL can expect to spend the remainder of his career in the special operations community.
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