How to Become a SEAL Officer

The men required to fill these critical leadership positions must be honorable men with vision of the future who can represent the nation well throughout the world. Applicants must be dedicated to the Naval Special Warfare community, its mission and its people.

Future SEAL Officers must possess leadership skills, integrity, moral courage, teamwork, drive and a relentless pursuit of excellence in the face of adversity. A SEAL Officer traditionally spends about five years leading platoon level operations. After that, he moves into a broader leadership role, in which he plans large scale operations and troop movements. He then has options such as becoming a department head or a training officer in charge. He can also work with allied or joint special operations forces. Eventually, he will have the opportunity to become an executive officer and then the commanding officer of a SEAL Team.

During his career, a SEAL Officer will typically be stationed overseas at least once, be assigned to a command where special operations forces from all service work together, and command a unit that has at least two hundred people. Each year, Naval Special Warfare Command selects between 70 to 90 men to attend SEAL training as officers. Because there are so few available officer slots, competition is extremely intense. If successful during SEAL training, those officers then have the opportunity to lead SEALs in the full range of Naval Special Warfare missions.

Since SEAL Officers will be required to lead SEALs in challenging missions early in their careers, NSW is looking for men who possess proven leadership skills. Men with the best chance of being selected have proven leadership, strong language and/or cultural expertise, superior academic performance in challenging majors and have succeeded in competitive sports. Applicants must also have highly competitive Physical Screening Test scores.

All SEAL Officer candidates are asked to forward their inquiries to [email protected]

To become a SEAL Officer, a candidate must first be commissioned through one of three sources:

  • U.S. Naval Academy
  • Officer Candidate School
  • Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps

Naval Special Warfare Command also accepts a limited number of in-fleet transfers and officers from other services. To be considered for an officer slot at BUD/S, you must prepare an application package for submission to a board of Navy SEAL Officers.

The board consists of one Navy SEAL Captain and at least three other SEAL Officers in grades Lieutenant through Commander. Select your path from one below to see what your application package should contain.

U.S. Naval Academy (Midshipmen contact the Academy’s SEAL Officer)
Navy Personnel Command
Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC)
Officer Candidate School (OCS)
Lateral Transfer – Restricted Line (RL)
Lateral Transfer – Urestricted Line (URL)