Navy Seals Are Refocusing to Fight Russia and China

"Great power competition and a conflict with a nation-state like China or Russia or even North Korea and Iran suits the SEAL Teams’ DNA better"

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Recently, Rear Adm. H. Wyman Howard III, the top SEAL officer and a former commander of SEAL Team Six, testified in Congress and highlighted Naval Special Warfare Command’s strategic shift from counterterrorism operations to great-power competition against near-peer competitors, such as Russia and China.

A Sea Change

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Following his testimony, Howard told the Associated Press that Naval Special Warfare Command is looking to slash 30 percent of its SEAL platoons but increase the number of operators in each of the remaining platoons.

Now each SEAL Team will have six instead of eight platoons. It isn’t clear, however, if the added troops will be SEAL operators or direct-support troops.

There are less than 3,000 active-duty SEALs right now, and a typical SEAL platoon is composed of 16 operators.

But each platoon is usually augmented by direct support personnel, such as cryptologists or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, and by other commandos, such as Air Force Pararescuemen or Combat Controllers, thus inflating the actual number of troops on target.

In his testimony, Howard revealed that there will be new courses and standards for SEAL officers and senior enlisted operators as a result of several scandals that have rocked the community.

Insider understands that all junior SEAL officers will be required to go through an ethics course. In addition to this mandatory course, Naval Special Warfare has introduced a mid-level assessment process for officers eligible for higher command.

“These changes are generally good as they enhance the tactical element and give us more punch downrange. And they make sense as we’re gearing for a fight against actual, competent militaries and not just a bunch of ragtag fanatics,” a SEAL operator told Insider.

“Against the Chinese, we won’t be worrying so much about small-arms fire as about their electronic- and cyber-warfare capabilities. CT [counterterrorism] ops are still dangerous, but they don’t have the same risk as an op against a Chinese harbor,” the SEAL operator added.

Different but Similar

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Throughout the Global War on Terror, U.S. forces have enjoyed undisputed air superiority, allowing conventional and special-operations units to operate much more freely than they would in a contested environment.

However, in a potential conflict with China or Russia, U.S. forces might not enjoy the same advantages.

For example, understanding the conventional might of the U.S. military, China has pursued the anti-access/anti-denial (A2/AD) concept in an attempt to negate the U.S. Navy’s capabilities in the Pacific in general but especially around Taiwan, a country that China sees as a breakaway province and wants to reabsorb.

To that end, Beijing has been building and fortifying man-made islands in the South China Sea, where many countries dispute China’s expansive claims. These islands essentially act as pickets, preventing U.S. aircraft carriers from getting within range and diminishing their usefulness.

In addition, earlier this year, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command sounded the alarm about the shifting balance of power in its area of operations. China, the Pentagon warned, will militarily outmatch U.S. forces in the Pacific by 2025.

Although this assessment didn’t consider U.S. and allied reinforcements from other areas of operations, it shows the threat level.

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In such an environment, Naval Special Warfare has all the potential to shine. Indeed, in case of a conflict with China, they are the logical go-to choice for any special operations missions.

“Honestly, and although lots of people in the community might not like to admit it, great power competition and a conflict with a nation-state like China or Russia or even North Korea and Iran suits the [SEAL] Teams’ DNA better,” a former SEAL officer told Insider.

Moscow has been pursuing a similar A2/AD strategy in annexed Crimea, with the Russian military making the peninsula a fortress. Operations in the Black Sea region around Crimea, like the islands and littorals of the Pacific, would play to the SEAL Teams’ strengths.

“CT [Counterterrorism] is cool and a great recruitment tool—who doesn’t love kicking in doors and shooting bad guys in the face?—but the Teams are more than that, a lot more, actually,” the former SEAL officer said.

“Our forefathers, the UDT [underwater demolition team] frogmen, were established during World War II to do underwater demolitions and hydrographic recon. From the beaches of Normandy during D-Day to Iwo Jima and Okinawa, frogmen paved the way for the Marines and the Army,” the former officer added. “In a future conflict with a big power, we would end up doing essentially similar missions. For sure, they will be more technologically advanced, but the gist remains the same. People [in the community] need to understand that and embrace it.”

Old Skills, New Missions

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To be sure, there is a degree of overlap between skill-sets used in counterterrorism operations and those that will be required against a near-peer threat.

For example, preparing the intelligence for and executing direct-action missions, such as raids or ambushes, will be the same despite the targets being different.

China, moreover, has the largest navy in the world, with about 750 vessels of varying tonnage and capabilities. Naval Special Warfare’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle — mini-subs that can transport SEALs close to a target without alerting the enemy — is ideal for operations to restrict those vessels’ movement, such as by blocking ports, or even to sink them.

But Naval Special Warfare’s smallest community, the Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCCs), who specialize in direct action, reconnaissance, and ship-boarding operations, adds a lot to the equation.

“Frankly, I think the SWCC community in many ways is designed for a near-peer environment conflict,” a former SWCC operator told Insider. “The Special Boat Teams are one of the only elite maritime special operations units in the world. Our mainstay is over-the-beach direct-action operations, coastal reconnaissance, and VBSS. These three items would be a huge element in any major great-power competition.”

“With the technologically advanced boats and weapons at the Boat Team’s disposal, they can effectively wage war against a modern-day enemy. SWCC’s concentrate on speed, stealth, and firepower. These attributes make them extremely dangerous and specialized,” the former SWCC operator added.

Source: Sofrep

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Arnieus
Arnieus
5 months ago

J

Last edited 5 months ago by Arnieus
Dale F
Dale F
5 months ago

Everytime I read an article about US superiority. I think F-35…

Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Dale F

You said it. So long as the fatuous process of blowing sunshine up your own ass about what kind of country you are and the supposed ‘ethics’ by which you are governed, embarrassment remains the least-damaging eventuality.

Consider. “Recently, Rear Adm. H. Wyman Howard III, the top SEAL officer and a former commander of SEAL Team Six, testified in Congress and highlighted Naval Special Warfare Command’s strategic shift from counterterrorism operations to great-power competition against near-peer competitors, such as Russia and China.” Huh? When did Russia and China attain ‘near peer’ status? During the night, working alongside the Keebler Elves while they are making cookies? Every day we hear that the USA has unchallenged full-spectrum dominance. Well, not challenged by anyone who presents a serious threat.

Against the Chinese, we won’t be worrying so much about small-arms fire as about their electronic- and cyber-warfare capabilities. CT [counterterrorism] ops are still dangerous, but they don’t have the same risk as an op against a Chinese harbor.” Double huh? Chinese electronic and cyber warfare capabilities are more concerning than small-arms fire by a military that outnumbers US forces?

“The People’s Liberation Army Army (PLAA) is the largest standing ground force in the world. In 2019, the PLAA continued to transition into a modern, mobile, and lethal ground force by fielding upgraded combat systems and communications equipment and enhancing its ability to conduct and manage complex combined-arms and joint operations.”

https://media.defense.gov/2020/Sep/01/2002488689/-1/-1/1/2020-DOD-CHINA-MILITARY-POWER-REPORT-FINAL.PDF

Was the plan to just fly a drone over, dropping leaflets that read “Surrender!” in Cantonese? Colour me skeptical.

CT [Counterterrorism] is cool and a great recruitment tool—who doesn’t love kicking in doors and shooting bad guys in the face?—but the Teams are more than that, a lot more, actually, the former SEAL officer said.”

Actually, US practice in Afghanistan and Iraq far more often consisted of kicking in doors and shooting whoever happened to be in the room in the face. One reason the US military is about as popular as liver-flavoured ice cream outside its own borders.

GMC
GMC
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Crimea comes to mind, while I read this article. Except if one Seal is spotted ” sunbathing” on the Black Sea Resort Isle – Russia could possibly kiss any Nato Boat in the Chernay More’ – До свидания – Good Bye. Of course there are plenty of pipelines, tankers, industrial ports to blow up or sabotage – like Israel does.

Eddy
Eddy
5 months ago
Reply to  Dale F

I don’t, I recall their navy warship, the Donald Duck, L.O.L. that was hut down by the Russians and left helpless and defenceless in foreign waters.

Silenced Emboldens
Silenced Emboldens
5 months ago

China isn’t a guy asleep protected by his female entourage..

XSFRGR
XSFRGR
5 months ago

A guy who was foolishly depending on the honor of America, and NATO.

ken
ken
5 months ago

“…from counterterrorism operations to great-power competition against near-peer competitors, such as Russia and China.”

‘near peer’? (lol)

Boy, the arrogance and hubris is strong with this one… especially with today’s eyes wide shut woke US, (NATO) military. As I write the new woke McCarthyism is hunting down “White Supremacists”, and likely eliminating some their best.

Suggestion…. Do not underestimate your enemy and for sure do not overestimate your ability.

Last edited 5 months ago by ken
yuri
yuri
5 months ago

amerikan insecurity—US military becoming more incompetent…US cannot win a war in Afghanistan…in international war games competitions amerikans humiliated every time…the fake seals=meals for sharks from Russia/China

Ronnie
Ronnie
5 months ago

The delusional exuberance is over whelming.
Reminds me of a Ukrainian comedian telling jokes and making threats in an empty theatre.

Rick
Rick
5 months ago

who doesn’t love kicking in doors and shooting bad guys in the face?

Um, me.

Mr Reynard
Mr Reynard
5 months ago
Reply to  Rick

Forgot to add to your comment,“Unarmed so called Bad Guy”?

Mr Reynard
Mr Reynard
5 months ago

Too many Rambo’s movies, scramble the brains of those Spec Forces ?

GMC
GMC
5 months ago

3000 Seals would cost the taxpayer about 400 million + $$ a year , not including transporting them around the world.Not worth it, since nobody is into attacking the US – these days. Oh that’s right – they attack other countries that don’t attack the USA. The definition of National Security needs to be addressed – by some Independent folks like the VIPS.

voza0db
voza0db
5 months ago

At least those moron slaves are OBEDIENT… they stand quietly in the white marks…

GOOD DOGS!

Silenced Emboldens
Silenced Emboldens
5 months ago

The peoples of both Russia.and China have recently withstood invasions by savage powerful interlopers who mass murdered
millions. Ultimately they prevailed
and cleansed their homelands
America has NEVER experienced
anything like this.
A non thermonuclear conflict between NATO and Russia/China
would result in the former’s
annihilation.

Juan
Juan
5 months ago

“near peer”, OK, thinking that way will ensure success /s

Steve Kastl
Steve Kastl
5 months ago

More war criminals churned out daily in the occupied territories called the USA.

XSFRGR
XSFRGR
5 months ago

Having trained with, and worked with the SEALs I can assure the gentle readers that the SEALS will be the first to admit that they aren’t bullet proof. Also the SEALs have taken serious casualties in poorly planned, and executed missions in the past. China is not going to attempt to use violence to export their programs, and philosophies to other lands. If the SEALs attempt to export American freedom, and democracy into the Chinese theater of influence I hope God helps them because without the direct intervention of the almighty they are doomed.

Last edited 5 months ago by XSFRGR
Eddy
Eddy
5 months ago

All I can say on this release, given the historical evidence we’re all aware of from U.S. forces, HAH. HAH, HAH, best of luck on that one.

Raptar Driver
Raptar Driver
5 months ago

The US military doesn’t train it’s soldiers.
It tortures them and makes them into mindless psychotic entities.
Now they are ready to do anything they are asked.

silver9blue
Active Member
silver9blue (@silver9blue)
3 months ago

Lets not forget the war on terrorism was started by Americans. Was it a war against terrorists, hardly likely. They killed mostly civilians by the hundreds of thousands and mostly in the ME. even so China killing a few hundred terrorists within China that is, Not countries thousands of miles away, is met with hord’s of human rights violations. Now who is the hypocrite?

Anti-Empire