DVIDS – News – Naval Special Warfare pivots to a new Special Purpose Deployment Model


Earlier this summer, West Coast-based SEAL Team platoons used the Deploy-for-Purpose model to simultaneously innovate with new equipment and tactics to meet new threats and expand the U.S. national advantage in the strategic competition.

“This is how we innovate for incremental change and stay ahead of our competition,” said Rear Admiral H. Wyman Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command. “Previously, a SEAL team would complete its operational readiness cycle and combat readiness certification, and then we would allocate full capability through joint commander and department decisions and authorities. With DfP, we retain a third of these combat-ready forces to experiment with new equipment and innovate new tactics, techniques and procedures for high-end combat – learn faster with less training risk because we conduct this experimentation and concept development with combat-ready forces.

SEALs and combat service support personnel traveled to Southeast Florida to test multiple propulsion and underwater navigation equipment across the spectrum of NSW diving operations.

Combat diving is a core mission set of the original frogmen and remains a distinctive capability of the NSW mission today for Access. With modern technology and digital navigational equipment, SEALs can travel longer distances, faster, while being better able to avoid detection.

“We are bringing the capabilities of combat swimmers into the digital age,” said a special operator. “It’s like the difference between using a rotary phone and using a smartphone.”

The experimentation began with classroom sessions on programming and maintenance lessons for each piece of equipment. Once in the water, the special operators familiarized themselves with the equipment and practiced basic tactics, techniques and procedures. They perfected the basics, then iterated on longer, more complex dives. The exercise culminated with the operators practicing different mission profiles with the new equipment.

While this platoon was innovating below the surface of the Atlantic, another platoon from the same SEAL team was training for combat in the harsh environment of the Arctic Far North.

These SEALs and combat support personnel participated in Red Flag-Alaska, a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored joint multinational exercise involving multiple services and platforms, all coordinated in a realistic combat scenario. The platoon developed and tested new tactics in a simulated extreme threat environment.

Captain David Abernathy, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, said the DfP model is one way to increase readiness.

“The strategic advantage of the Deploy-for-Purpose model is that it allows us to learn faster,” Abernathy said. “These lessons learned will allow us to address issues that we weren’t able to see with our previous force design. We can already see increased capacity thanks to the new flexibility brought by Deploy-for-Purpose. »

Howard said he hopes to see DfP set the tone for innovation in naval special warfare and beyond.

“It’s completely different to how NSW has operated in the past, and it’s a way of prioritizing missions that only maritime special operators can do,” Howard said. “This model allows us to innovate quickly – build a little, test a little, and learn a lot – at a small level, experiment and scale those lessons and successes to mitigate political risk. , strategic and military on the imperatives of the mission.”


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