An official with Naval Special Warfare Center has confirmed a woman has applied to participate in the SEAL officer selection process for fiscal year 2018. The woman is currently a junior in a ROTC program at an undisclosed college and is set to complete early steps within the assessment process later this summer.
As reported by Military.com, the SEAL officer selection process that received the woman’s application is scheduled to begin on October 1 of this year.
Capt. Christian Dunbar, the Naval Special Warfare Center Deputy Commander, spoke regarding the process, saying, “That’s a three-week block of instruction.” He went on to say that the woman would then “compete like everyone else.” Currently, there are 160 applicants and only 100 available spots.
Capt. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command also confirmed a female midshipman is participating in the SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection, or SOAS, course this summer.
Discussing the process, Salata said, “[SOAS] is part of the accession pipeline to become a SEAL and the performance of attendees this summer will be a factor for evaluation at the September SEAL Officer Selection Panel.”
Two other women were also reported to be in boot camp, participating as candidates for the Special Warfare Combat-Craft Crewman, or SWCC, program. These special warfare roles are filled entirely with enlisted service members.
Salata stated that the identities of the candidates would not be revealed and updates regarding their progress will not be provided. This ensures the identities of those applying to special operations positions are protected, allowing them to maintain a low profile on missions and making sure that public attention does not impact the careers of the candidates.
Until the issuance of a mandate from the Pentagon just over a year ago, special operations positions were closed to female service members. These first women applicants represent a major milestone for the Navy and, if one of or more of the candidates are successful, for military special operations in general.
The US Army confirmed a female graduated from Ranger school in January, and that she was making progress towards joining the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. However, no woman has yet to make it through the selection process associated with any other Army special operations element.
The US Air Force and US Marine Corp have also had female applicants for special operations positions, but a successful woman candidate has not been announced.