|BUD/S Training for Navy SEALs: Where's the diversity?|
It is only after the George W. Bush presidency that the author begins complaining about the slow-moving “Washington machine” that members of the SEALs found frustrating. That irritation mounts in 2011, when the SEALs anxiously awaited their signal to raid Abbottabad, but this account is determined to steer clear of serious politics or leave itself open to election-season manipulation. The worst it has to say about President Obama is that none of the fighters who caught bin Laden wanted to help re-elect him, and that he never followed through on a promise to invite them to the White House for a beer.
The Navy’s special warfare community has grown in size over the past few years but still remains overwhelmingly white. It’s a statistic officials are working hard to change.
Today’s force of SEALs and SWCCs, or special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, is roughly 85 percent white, according to Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif. That’s much higher than the Navy overall — which in 2010 was about 64 percent white, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center — and is also out of whack with the cultural environments in which today’s SEALs operate.
That gap remains despite concerted efforts by Naval Special Warfare Command to seek more minority candidates and expand its overall recruiting pitch to get more SEALs and SWCCs to fill the larger force mandated by Congress. But as the community grew in size, the command also beefed up standards and requirements during the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training, causing graduation rates to drop across all ethnicities.
“Where we stand today is, we have more work to do,” said Capt. Duncan Smith, a SEAL who heads Naval Special Warfare Command’s recruiting directorate.
“We absolutely have a need for operational diversity. For us to train with our special operations partner nations, our mission is more easily accomplished if we have people with the cultural and racial identities that allow us to create lasting relationships to better understand our partner forces,” Smith said.
But recent years’ efforts, which included tailoring marketing to minorities and reaching out to historically black colleges and universities, fell flat in attracting more minorities to the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course and follow-on SQT.
So the command is casting the net wide again, getting outside help to market to minority populations and taking a more coherent look at targeting communities with potential minority candidates — not just blacks.
A recent directive from Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, expanded the range of targeted minorities to young men of Asian and Arab descent, as well as Hispanics.
“We are moving the needle, but it is a slow process. It takes time,” Smith said.
Recent efforts to reach more blacks helped to better understand the community, he said.
“We have really learned or developed a template that allows us to better understand ... a culture that we may not have been heavily engaged in,” he said. “So we built a road map on how to build trust ... and respect in the minority communities.”
Don’t expect to see quotas, however.
“We have no numeric goal for diversity. This is not a quota-based operation,” Smith said. “This is really just wanting to make progress and to better prepare our force to conduct overseas operations.”“As it turns out, what got you here, with your opportunity with the NFL, is a lot about what makes the SEAL program successful,” Pybus told one group at a session supported by members of Naval Special Warfare Group 2. Several SEALs joined in the visits, meeting athletes and sharing their stories, including a SEAL lieutenant who had played college football before enlisting in the Navy.
Recruiting and marketing efforts are being stepped up in San Diego and Norfolk, Va., where SEALs and SWCCs have joined in local swim programs geared toward children and young adults, as well as in Detroit and Dearborn, Mich., home to large concentrations of blacks and Arab-Americans. The swim programs provide community service and show that swimming skills can be taught to those who never swam in a pool or in the ocean.
This year, the command also extended its reach by participating in nine of the NFL’s regional scouting combines, where prospective players show off their skills.
Nearly 100 of the 1,900 athletes, about 80 percent of whom were minorities, asked for more information about naval special warfare or becoming a SEAL, Smith said, adding, “that is a pool of 100 young talented men. That right there is success for us.”
Dick Couch, a former Navy SEAL and author of The Warrior Elite: The Forging of Class 228 and numerous other books on Special Forces and the SEALs, told Brian Lamb of C-SPAN this about the need for diversity and Black candidates in a politically incorrect interview that broaches taboo subjects like human biodiversity:
LAMB: I noticed in all the video we see, and most of the film, you see almost no minorities. You see one or two, but most of them are white boys.
COUCH: Yes, that is an issue. I think it has to do with water skills.And they stress them in the pool. They tie their hands and feet together, and they have to be able to grab a bite of air and deal with that. And if you’re very negatively buoyant, it does create challenges.
Within the SEALs, it’s how many kids played in the swimming pool when they were growing up, and how many played in the fire hydrant out in the street. Those water skills almost have to be taught at a very young age to be comfortable in the water.
A secondary thing is with a lot of black men, they have very dense muscle mass, so they’re very negatively buoyant in the water. And this can be very challenging when you’re asked to perform in the water.
LAMB: Is it an issue that’s talked about?
COUCH: Yes. I mean, how do we get more of these good black kids to come into BUD/S and to get through BUD/S?
And it’s the same in Army Special Forces and the same in our Ranger regiment. We just don’t have as many minorities as we would like.
It should be obvious that Mein Obama didn't invite the SEALs who liquidated Osama Bin Laden to drop by the White House for a celebratory beer for one simple reason: they were all-white and weren't representative of the type of Navy SEALs that are needed in BRA.
85 percent is "too white" in the eyes of BRA -- let that be known for any organization, company, club or vocation that requires a specialized skill, that the Navy SEALs are under assault for being "too white."