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

Navy SEAL graduation
SEAL Qualification Training Class 336 at their graduation ceremony, April 15, 2020. (Photo by MCS 1st Class Anthony W. Walker/U.S. Navy)

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.