As noted recently by Brandon Webb here on SOFREP, the Navy SEALs are preparing in the near future to accept their first female Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training candidates. Packages are no doubt being prepared by some enterprising, hard-charging young women, and the command is undoubtedly in the planning stages of just how to handle these trailblazers. Teeth are probably being gnashed in some quarters, “I told you so’s” are being locked and loaded for the inevitable female candidates who fail, and all eyes will be intently fixed on the candidates as they enter one of the world’s most challenging military training programs.
What exactly can these women expect to face when they step across the quarterdeck of the Naval Special Warfare Center to start BUD/S? What will be in store for them as they embark on their journey of discovery and start hammering away at the heretofore ballistic glass ceiling that sits in place over top the military’s special operations community? Here are just a few hurdles, challenges, factors, and realities that these women can surely look forward to encountering.
1. Media scrutiny
The first female to enter BUD/S training can be assured of facing media scrutiny the likes of which few could imagine. Every single U.S. media outlet, from the Navy Times to Stripes to USA Today to the New York Times will want to interview, photograph, and chronicle the progress of this woman trailblazer. The Naval Special Warfare Center will no doubt seek to run interference for most of those requests, but this author assumes that at least some journalists will be granted access, in an effort by the Navy to ensure that all is aboveboard in the integration of BUD/S training. The country, if not the world, will be watching.