Marines: November 15, 2003


: The U.S. Navy is having problems expanding its force of SEAL commandoes. There are currently 48 SEAL platoons, but only about 700 SEALs available to staff them. This is not as bad as it sounds, as SEAL platoons have only 16 men (two commissioned officers and 14 petty officers,) The navy can train up to 900 SEAL recruits a year, but only about 20-25 percent of those will graduate because of the high standards. Attrition among SEALs on active duty is high, but not because of combat. Training injuries can easily knock you out of the SEALs, as you have to be in top be in exceptional shape to qualify for the SEALs. Retirement, or leaving the navy for better paying civilian jobs also takes over ten percent of the SEAL force each year. Worse, the SEALs have a very hard time  getting 900 qualified recruits a year. Few of the current SEALs wants to lower standards, which means that aggressive recruiting efforts will be required to attract the needed recruits (and then fail nearly 80 percent of them.) The war on terror has increased the demand for SEAL and Special Forces veterans in corporate security jobs. This sort of thing pays a lot more than government work and is attracting a larger number of SEALs to it. It's also become obvious that the high standards do severely limit the number of SEALs you can actually get, and the number appears to be below a thousand, even with a U.S. population of nearly 300 million.