Source: 2 new intel units will support SEALs Plan could call for hundreds of sailors By Sean D. Naylor – Staff writer Posted : March 05, 2007
The Navy is moving as many as several hundred sailors into two new units that will provide intelligence support to SEALs.
Naval Special Warfare Command did not respond to repeated requests for information on the new units, but a source in the special operations community said the Navy formally established the first of the two units, Naval Special Warfare Support Activity One, at Naval Base Coronado, Calif.
That unit will provide intelligence support for Naval Special Warfare Group One, which includes SEAL Teams One, Three, Five and Seven, all based at Coronado.
A sister unit, NSW Support Activity Two, will stand up at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., later this year, sources said. It will provide intelligence support for Naval Special Warfare Group Two, which includes SEAL Teams Two, Four, Eight and Ten.
NSW Support Activity One has received only “20 or 30 guys” so far, and the final size of each unit is still under discussion, according to a Navy source.
“They’re supposed to be battalion size,” he said. “For us, that’s approximately 200 people, but I’ve heard rumors that it could be as large as twice that.”
The Navy intends the new units to fill a capabilities gap that has grown over the past five years, during which SEALs have been involved in sustained land combat operations for the first time in decades.
“We saw a greater need to synchronize intelligence and operations,” the Navy source said.
The Navy provided deploying SEAL elements with intelligence personnel, but this was a flawed arrangement because little in the training typically given to Navy intelligence sailors prepares them to support the SEALs’ post-Sept.
11 land combat missions, he added.
“‘Big Navy’ has a very different mission from supporting land operations, so getting a Navy intel guy fresh off the boat to come help [the SEALs], he’s pretty much relearning a lot of his fundamentals,” the Navy source said.
“An Army intel guy or a Marine Corps intel guy is much better suited for it straightaway,” he said, because of their background in supporting land operations. “There’s a lot of overlap.”
The Navy source expressed little doubt that his service would be able to fill the new organizations. The Navy has been “facilitating [the SEALs] with that support for the last five years anyway,” he said, adding that the new initiative is a formalization of that relationship.
“We’ve been getting these people overseas,” he said. “They’ve been showing up on deployment day for the last five years anyway. So now what we’re doing is saying, instead of this guy showing up five minutes before a deployment, now we’re going to detail him to a new command, he’s going to spend time training up specifically on how to support the SEALs.”
NSW Support Activity One’s two most senior officers are SEALs. Cmdr. Bob Newsom will head the unit, with Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Sean Dudley as his executive officer. Dudley is that rarest of SEALs – a graduate of the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Covering the ‘ints’
Most of the people in each support activity will be analysts, cryptographers, intelligence collectors and communications experts, “but with a good set of [SEAL] operators mixed in as well,” the spec ops community source said.
The Navy source said each unit would have people representing “all the ‘ints,'” a reference to the abbreviations for different types of
intelligence: human (humint), imagery (imint), signals (sigint), and measurement and signatures (masint).
“This thing continues to move around and morph,” the Navy source said.
“Initially, it was going to be primarily humint-based, using lots of SEALs, and then we realized that we don’t have the inventory [of SEALs] to do that, and so we looked at ? taking people from the Navy who are already doing this job for a living and making them more attuned to supporting us directly so that we could free up our SEALs to be SEALs again.”
The NSW Support Activity One unit motto, as depicted on its coin, gives a hint of the qualities it hopes to embody, according to the source in the spec ops community. He said the Latin motto reads Per Scientiam, Patientiam et Dolum – “Through knowledge, patience and guile.”
Several sources said the new units resemble the Intelligence Support Activity, an entity sometimes referred to by its Joint Special Operations Command code name, “Task Force Orange.” The ISA is an Army-led special mission unit that includes a mix of intelligence and special operations personnel from the different services and conducts some of the military’s most sensitive missions.
The NSW support activity units are modeled on TF Orange, said the spec ops community source. “But ? they’re not connected to Orange,” the source said.
“They’re trying to do something for the ‘white’ [i.e., unclassified] side.
It’s very well-thought-out, it’s very savvy. I’d see it as a great feeder for Orange.”
The Navy source said he partly agrees with others’ descriptions of the NSW support activity units as an attempt to provide the “white” SEALs with an ISA-like capability. But he said the two types of organizations have significant differences.
“The mission is very different from Orange,” he said. “They’re much more specialized in what they do, [with] a lot different authority. In theory, it’s similar in the sense that you have people who are not necessarily operators but do support operators on a daily basis ? being integrated in to help better effect operations. That part is consistent between the organizations. But it’s a different mission set, obviously, with different capabilities and authorities.”
San Diego Business Journal
SEALs, Related Units Appear to Be Moving to New Headquarters By BRAD GRAVES – 2/26/2007 San Diego Business Journal Staff A line in the draft federal budget for 2008 heralds the end of the Coronado headquarters for the Naval Special Warfare Command and a few hundred jobs there.
Now a Virginia congresswoman says she’s willing to go to the mat to protect some $51 million in military construction funding to build a new headquarters in her state.
The potential loss of the headquarters, which would not come immediately, would be small in the scheme of things. It would take several hundred people out of Coronado, a community that employs tens of thousands of people – both civilian and military personnel – at Navy bases.
The command that might move is the special warfare command. It oversees the Navy’s Sea-Air-Land commandos, more commonly known as SEALs, and related units. The command currently employs some 2,500 people in Coronado, with 300 of those at the headquarters.
While SEAL training would continue in Coronado, and SEAL teams would continue to be based there, Pentagon planners are contemplating moving the command’s leadership away from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
“It’s a proposal,” said Cmdr. Greg Geisen, spokesman for the command, saying if a move happened, it would be around 2011.
Reasons for the proposed move include the difference in time zones between members of the special operations community.
The U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees the work of all four military services, has its headquarters in Tampa, Fla. A move to Virginia would allow closer interoperation, said Geisen.
The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps have their special operations headquarters on the East Coast.
Rear Adm. Joseph Maguire, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, told a congressional panel late last month that he spends more than half of his time on travel, and that a move to Virginia would put him closer to his boss.
“I think that the move to the East Coast is looking like something that needs to be done,” Maguire testified before the terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
Questioning Maguire was Rep. Thelma Drake, a Republican who represents Norfolk, Va.
Drake issued a press release Feb. 17 saying that protecting the $51 million in construction money in the 2008 Pentagon budget would be one of her highest priorities. The budget goes to Congress in October.
Maguire testified that the Navy is “conducting site surveys in the Virginia Beach area for the possible headquarters location if that’s approved. And I believe that we have also even started on the environmental impact
(statement) on that.”
In published reports, officials with the command also cited a lack of space at Coronado’s Naval Amphibious Base.
Geisen said the command expects growth, and that 300 people at the headquarters operation will likely grow to 400 in the next four years.
The base houses a number of other commands, including that of the three-star admiral who oversees surface ships in the Pacific.
The amphibious base and its cross-town neighbor, Naval Air Station North Island, support 35,000 military and civilian personnel when all ships are in port, according to a base spokesman. The Imperial Beach landing field supports another 1,000.
The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2004, the military provided 149,000 jobs in the San Diego region and $11.7 billion in direct defense spending to San Diego’s economy.
Drake, the Virginia Republican, said the Navy special operations headquarters would be a prestigious addition to her district.