It appears that a declaration of war, or at least an insurgency campaign, has been launched against the Navy’s SEAL teams. The battlefield this time is not some desert wasteland in a far-away Muslim-majority country. No, the SEALs now find themselves besieged on a field of battle that can be far more treacherous, at least bureaucratically speaking. They are being assailed on Capitol Hill, that deadly political battlefield that has claimed the careers of countless politicians and military leaders.
The vagaries of politics—and more specifically, certain politicians—are currently making life difficult for the commanders of the Navy’s SEAL teams. In fact, a slow roll of oversight questions, blocked promotions, and held-up command assignments is starting to look like it might be a concerted campaign being waged against the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), the parent command of the Navy’s SEALs.
Let us examine the evidence.
First, the current commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral (SEAL) Brian Losey, was recently denied a promotion to a second star—which would have made him a two-star admiral—due to his alleged retaliation against a whistle-blower within his command. That story can be found here. Losey’s promotion was effectively denied by three senators: one Republican (John McCain) and two Democrats (Jack Reed and Ron Wyden). The SEAL admiral will now retire from active duty as a consequence of his denied promotion.
Next, in March of this year, California Republican congressman, and veteran, Duncan Hunter, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, began asking questions about the shortage of “combat rifles” for deploying SEAL platoons. According to the Associated Press story, Hunter was approached by unidentified SEALs complaining that their individual rifles were being shared between platoons because there were not enough of them to go around. The unnamed SEALs also complained about ammunition shortages, and the seemingly inordinate amount of time it takes to process travel claims for official travel (this author can attest to the latter problem as neither new, nor confined to the SEALs, nor even solely to the Navy).
Hunter denied that the rifle shortage was due to a lack of funding, but rather, he called into question the procurement priorities of the Naval Special Warfare Command. According to the AP, Hunter said that the NSWC was wasting money, and not adequately getting it to the people who needed it most—the operators.