When people hear of Navy SEALs or Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC), most think of a scene of guns blazing, cool ass night vision goggles, and fast helicopters and boats slipping through the dark night. In reality, Naval Special Warfare has many different mission sets, including Foreign Internal Defense (FID). FID may not be the sexiest special operations responsibility to ever exist, but it is very important.
The simple definition of FID is when special operations forces deploy to train a foreign country’s equivalent unit. This training comes in the form of physical fitness, weapons training, combat tactics, and mission planning and execution.
FID no doubt is historically known as being the bread and butter of the Green Berets. Granted, the Green Berets definition of FID oftentimes means sneaking into hostile foreign countries and raising up armies to defeat the enemy.
NSW has accepted FID as a part of its worldwide responsibility. It has been acknowledged how important it is to train and maintain the capabilities of foreign military maritime special operations units. Since NSW is no longer completely locked into a war in the Middle East, they have been able to contribute resources to their FID requirement. It is not uncommon for units to deploy for a full six months for the sole purpose of conducting FID operations.
Considering that 71 percent of the Earth is covered in water, it’s nearly impossible for the approximate 3,000 operators in NSW to fulfill the world’s maritime special operations requirements. A country’s most vulnerable location and oftentimes first line of defense is its coastline. Whether a country’s primary mission is to defend its own coast and maritime resources or to infiltrate and/or attack an enemy’s maritime assets, having qualified maritime special operators in its arsenal is imperative. NSW prides itself in being comprised of subject matter experts in maritime special operations. Using their skills and expertise, they are able to assist and train America’s allies.
The beneficial byproduct of FID is the building of relationships with foreign countries and their militaries. There is no telling when these types of relationships will pay large dividends down the road in the form of helping Americans that find themselves in a tight spot or helping the United States wage a well-coordinated, lethal attack on an enemy.
Many SEAL and SWCC operators participate in specific training to help them prepare for FID missions. Individuals attend language school and instructional courses to learn how to effectively communicate and teach to an audience. Additionally, qualifications such as Range Safety Officer (RSO), Helicopter Rope Suspension Technique (HRST) Master, and Sniper Instructor, to name a few, allow NSW units to provide an FID training package — one that is a well-rounded and professional instructional curriculum.