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Naval Special Warfare

What is Naval Special Warfare?

Naval Special Warfare (NSW) is the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command which deploys forces to conduct special operations and activities in support of Combatant Commanders and U.S. National Interests. NSW operational forces are comprised of SEAL Teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams, and Special Boat Teams specially organized and trained to conduct the full spectrum of special operations in maritime and other extreme environments.

A Career as a SEAL Officer

As a Naval Special Warfare qualified unrestricted line officer, you will lead and command NSW forces at all levels of rank. A SEAL officer becomes an expert at conducting special operations in complex, politically sensitive, and dangerous environments. SEAL officers will be required to fill critical leadership positions, and must epitomize the SEAL Ethos. During his career, a SEAL Officer typically deploys at least once per pay grade and is likely to be stationed overseas at least once.

What training is required to become a SEAL Officer?

Qualification as a SEAL officer requires completion of the 3-week Basic Orientation, 21-week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S), the 5-week Junior Officer Training Course (JOTC), and the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training (SQT). Then officers complete Jump school, SERE school and language training before joining their teams. Training starts with physical conditioning and being tested for physical and mental toughness in Hell Week, followed by training in open and closed-circuit diving, weapons, demolitions, communications, land warfare, small unit leadership, close quarters combat, maritime operations, air operations, static-line and freefall parachuting, survival, evasion, resistance and escape.

What is Naval Special Operations?

The newly commissioned officer will complete the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)/Diver course at Naval Diving and Salvage Center, Panama City, FL and progress directly to EOD training at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD), Eglin AFB. Graduates will then be assigned as Division Officers at EOD Mobile Units where they will be immersed in the community's core warfighting competencies of EOD, Anti terrorism/ Force Protection (AT/FP), Expeditionary Diving and Salvage and Underwater Mine Countermeasures. During this initial tour, officers will complete a rigorous qualification process involving a variety of Personnel Qualification Standards and advanced EOD, diving and mobility training requirements before earning warfare qualification.

A Career as an EOD Officer

Officers who successfully meet warfare qualification standards will be redesignated 1140 and become eligible for assignment as Officer In Charge (OIC) of EOD Mobile Detachments. Post-Mobile Det OIC assignments include Operations officers at EOD Mobile Units and Mobile Dive and Salvage Units, EOD shore Det OICs, Carrier Support Group staffs, Expeditionary Support Group staffs and Mine Countermeasure squadron staffs. Additionally, officers have opportunity to pursue Graduate Education through a variety of programs at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, the Naval War College and other service colleges.

What training is required to become an EOD Officer?

EOD Training is a 10-month course that is both physically and mentally demanding. It is a joint-service command consisting of members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. Oversight and management is the responsibility of the Department of the Navy. The mission is to train officers and enlisted personnel in the best methods of detection, identification, render safe, and disposal of explosive ordnance and related devices. This includes all known foreign ordnance, chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, clandestine improvised devices and any and all ordnance/devices which may be encountered under water (Navy students only). NAVSCOLEOD is a tenant command at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

How does a Midshipman get selected for training?

Selection for an officer training quota is highly competitive. Midshipmen desiring a quota should be committed to preparing themselves for the selection process. The selection process is comprised of taking the Physical Screening Test (PST), attending a Summer Cruise, submitting an application package and being interviewed by a panel of officers.


MIDN 4/C: Pursue a challenging and/or technical major. Read a wide array of books on Naval Special Warfare and Special Operations history. Regional expertise, cultural knowledge, strategic languages, and overseas travel experience are highly valued. Seek leadership positions. Participate in collegiate sports. Begin to prepare for the physical screening test. The leading predictor for success in the training pipeline is an outstanding physical screening test score. Prospective officers need to lead from the front and have strong scores in all events to be competitive.

MIDN 3/C: Strive to improve your physical performance. Continue language proficiency. Begin to develop your candidate package. Inform your Chain of Command your intention to be selected for a Summer Cruise quota as MIDN 2/C. Contact and seek mentorship from current and former members. Stay current on US Military and Special Operations news items.

MIDN 2/C: Request a Summer Cruise quota. Attend a U.S. Naval Academy Challenge weekend if available. Complete and submit the officer application package. Attend a Summer Cruise which for entails a one-week Mini-BUD/S (SEAL) followed by several weeks at a Team where candidates will be challenged physically, have their performance observed, and interviewed by a panel of officers for suitability. If unable to attend a Summer Cruise attend one of the candidate interviews conducted during the summer.

MIDN 1/C: Midshipmen will be informed of their selection for Designator 1180 (SEAL officer, Student) or 1190 (EOD officer, Studnet) and made available to the Detailer upon graduation. Continue to improve physical capabilities and develop language proficiency.

Last updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Applications for the Class of 2027 Open May 1

Learn more about the requirements and expectations of Midshipmen.