The Naval Special Warfare Command is working towards achieving that thing that has so far been elusive for the elite Navy SEALs: diversity.
Despite the growth in population that the Navy special warfare community has seen over the past few years, it is still a community that remains overwhelmingly white. According to the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California, the current team of SEALs and SWCCs (special warfare combatant-craft crewmen) is roughly 85 percent white, a percentage that is much higher than the Navy overall, which determined to be about 64 percent white as of 2010.
This is despite efforts being made by the Naval Special Warfare Command to reach out and recruit more minority candidates, as well as expand its recruiting pitch in order to fill the demand for more SEALs and SWCCs. As the community grew, however, the standards and requirements during the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training were also beefed up; this led to a drop in graduation rates across all ethnicities.
Navy SEAL Capt. Duncan Smith, head of the Naval Special Warfare Command’s recruiting directorate, shared: “Where we stand today is, we have more work to do… 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.”
Recent years’ efforts included customized marketing targeting minorities, as well as reaching out to historically black colleges and universities. These efforts, however, did not quite meet goals, so the command is getting outside help to market to minority populations. The range of targeted minorities has also been expanded to young men of Asian and Arab descents, as well as Hispanics.