Due to the limited number of officer positions in special operations forces like the Navy SEALs, individuals from diverse commissioning pathways who are highly motivated tend to apply.
Special operations forces attract a certain type of soldier, who is focused, motivated, and committed to becoming a part of America’s elite fighting forces. Officer billets in these communities are limited, so the competition for them is intense, especially in communities like the Navy SEALs where direct entry is possible. SEAL officer candidates typically come from three main pools: the US Naval Academy, Officer Candidate School, and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. The Naval Academy is a powerful producer of qualified candidates, but candidates from other commissioning pathways such as OCS and ROTC bring their own advantages and diverse perspectives that benefit the NSW and SOF in general. All future SEAL officers must go through SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection and BUDS, regardless of the commissioning pathway. Therefore, reevaluating NSW’s criteria for selection, and what candidates these criteria favor, will ensure that the NSW does not miss out on talented candidates who come from alternative commissioning routes.