The Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) has issued the first set of corrective measures aimed at dealing once and for all with the plague of disciplinary, ethics, and professionalism incidents in the SEAL Teams.
More specifically, Rear Admiral Collin Green, the commander of NSWC, penned a four-page directive that has been issued across the Naval Special Warfare community. The directive prioritizes discipline, accountability, and leadership development and grooming.
According to the Navy Times, which received a leaked version of the document, going forward, SEAL enlisted and officer leaders will organize regular uniform inspections, general quarters, unit-wide physical training, and zone inspections. Additionally, SEAL operators will adhere to Navy grooming standards and forego their relaxed grooming standards.
Moreover, SEAL leaders will be held accountable for any issues caused by their men on and off duty. Although these measures are micromanaging to the extreme, they are a necessary evil to address the series of incidents that have shamed the SEAL community.
“We are U.S. Naval Officers and Sailors first and foremost and we will realign ourselves to these standards immediately,” wrote Admiral Green, emphasizing that a “portion of this Force is ethically misaligned.”
At least Admiral Green recognized that the situation became so bad because of a pervasive lack of leadership and accountability at all levels with Naval Special Warfare.
To monitor the enforcement and progress of the directive, NWSC will establish a tracking service in which the SEAL Teams will add any incident of misconduct. Admiral Green will have all Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) for any instances – essentially, an Admiral’s Mast.
“We are a family that values ownership and accountability of our actions,” added Admiral Green in his directive. “We value the aggressive introspective study of our mistakes required to turn our weaknesses to strengths. We will be strong in character, strong in accountability, strong in moral and ethical foundations, and strong in leadership.”
Of lesser significance but still important is Admiral Green’s order to remove all unofficial unit insignia, logos, and patches below the troop level.
NSWC also is considering halting or slowing the expansion of the SEAL Teams. The rationale is that without responsible leaders, any hasty expansion would encourage further incidents of unprofessionalism. In the past, when dealing with a troublesome platoon, SEAL leadership would disband it and reform it with a healthy combination of new guys just out of SEAL training, some good performers from the old platoon, and experienced operators pulled out from other platoons. NSWC, however, is under pressure by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to increase its size. Consequently, it will be interesting to see if NSWC will stick to its commitment to reform. And it’s going to be a long game. The frequency and pervasiveness of the incidents indicate a cultural fault, and any amelioration of the situation will require years.