A female officer has completed the rigorous initial selection process necessary to become a Navy SEAL officer — the first female to accomplish such a feat.
Although the female officer successfully completed the SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) program, she wasn’t chosen by the board because she hadn’t picked the SEAL career field as her top choice. Instead, the Naval Academy candidate chose the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) career field.
SOFREP had been tipped off about the plans of the female midshipman a few months ago. We decided to hold off any articles on the subject, so that it didn’t seem that we were interfering in the process and affecting — positively or negatively — the Board’s decision.
Captain Tamara Lawrence said in a statement to Military.com that “we do not discuss details of a candidate’s non-selection so it does not interfere with their successful service in other warfighter communities.”
Cpt. Lawrence, however, had refused to comment when SOFREP had asked about the female officer a few months ago.
Approximately 180 officers every year attend the SOAS. Out of those, about 90 are chosen by the Board, which is comprised of SEAL officers and Master Chiefs, to continue on to BUD/S.
A two-week program, SOAS takes place in the Naval Special Warfare Center in San Diego, California.
The first week is known as Assessment Week. Essentially a beat down, Assessment Week puts officer candidates under extreme physical and mental pressure. Meanwhile, the cadre closely monitors their reactions and leadership traits. The week culminates with Heck Day, an abbreviated version of Hell Week — the infamous suckfest that all aspiring SEALs must pass during Phase One of BUD/S. The bottom 10% of the class, goes through a review board to determine their eligibility.
The second week is known as Interview & Cruise Week. Officer candidates who endured Assessment Week, go through a leadership interview with senior members of the SEAL community and also through a psychological interview. Upon completion of the interviews, officer candidates are exposed to the NSW ethos and operations.
Commenting on possible bias against female candidates, Cpt Lawrence stated that “selection is based on the candidate’s scores during the two-week SOAS assessment. This process ensures every candidate has a fair and equal chance based on Naval Special Warfare standards.”
SOFREP has learned that the female officer was a solid candidate (Naval Academy triathlete) who crushed SOAS.
Thus far, five women officers have tried out for SOAS.
Recently, a female Marine completed the Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) and thus became the first woman to complete a Special Operations selection.