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Interview With Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, USN

NSW commander reviews the state of Naval Special Warfare

 

 

Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, USN, assumed command of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command in Coronado, California, in June 2013. He previously served under U.S. Africa Command as commander, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa and commander, Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). His operational assignments have included a full range of duties in Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) Teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Teams, and Special Boat Teams, and deployments to named and contingency operations around the world. He commanded SDV Team One and served as deputy commander and commander of Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He has worked extensively with interagency and international partners in enhancing security cooperation relationships, capabilities, and capacities.
Other assignments include: duty as deputy commander, Naval Special Warfare Task Group, U.S. 6th Fleet; maritime operations officer and deputy chief of current operations in the Joint Special Operations Command; and U.S. 7th Fleet special warfare officer in USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). He served in the executive office of the president as a director on the National Security Council Staff bridging two administrations. He recently shared his thoughts on several key issues with The Year in Special Operations senior writer Scott R. Gourley.

The Year in Special Operations: It’s no secret that nearly 15 years of deployment has had/continues to have an impact on your forces. What were the challenges 10+ years ago? What are they now?

Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, USN: 9/11 was America’s wake-up call introducing a different kind of enemy, one that required a different response. This new era of warfare against dispersed and elusive terrorists required small, flexible, responsive, and adaptive forces – special operations forces. The greatest challenges for NSW then were to grow and scale the force, advance and develop new capabilities, and increase training for those new capabilities. NSW met these challenges and kept pace with emerging requirements.

We continue to advance our undersea mobility capabilities. For example, a number of our SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) are receiving critical upgrades and we’re testing advanced, cost-efficient, wet and dry combat submersibles to fill out capability and force structure requirements.

Fifteen years ago, getting candidates who could meet the standards for entry into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) made just filling a class difficult. Over time, the SEAL and SWCC [Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen] Scout Team worked with Navy Recruiting Command to improve and refine the recruiting, assessment, and selection processes which now push a steady flow of high-quality candidates to BUD/S, most of whom are easily exceeding the minimum qualification standards. We’re filling our classes and graduating more students at the end of them. During this time, NSW also received critical, dedicated manpower in the form of Navy personnel with key technical ratings.

The Navy has provided critical support in enabling our efforts to build a robust intelligence capability. Early partnering with the information warfare community has resulted in a Navy-wide collection and processing program; specialized training for NSW personnel to support the targeting processes; and enhanced augmentation support from Navy Criminal Investigative Service for protection of our forward deployed forces.

NAVSPECWARCOM winter warfare

Navy SEALs demonstrate winter warfare capabilities. Naval Special Warfare Command photo

As NSW evolved organic ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] capabilities, we have advanced the ability to generate a common operating picture, one we share with our partners. That means fielding an inventory of comparatively affordable and technically sustainable, organic systems embedded in the force structure that have a low signature, small footprint, and are “partnerable” when working with other nations.

In our surface maritime mobility platforms, we are continuing to field the Combatant Craft Medium (CCM), as a replacement for the Mk. V, which is no longer in service. The Combatant Craft Assault (CCA) evolved from our High Speed Assault Craft (HSAC) and is a generational replacement for our Rigid-hull Inflatable Boats (RIBs). Our Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R) continues to meet current operational requirements, but we are looking at a service common craft and commercial off-the-shelf technology for our next generation riverine craft.

We continue to advance our undersea mobility capabilities. For example, a number of our SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) are receiving critical upgrades and we’re testing advanced, cost-efficient, wet and dry combat submersibles to fill out capability and force structure requirements. We’re also teaming up with the Navy to update the Dry Deck Shelter so it can launch and recover undersea systems in addition to the SDV and Shallow Water Combatant Submersible (SWCS).

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...