Late in August, the Navy SEAL Teams went through a significant restructuring, with two units being disestablished and consolidated into a new one. Naval Special Warfare Group 3 and Naval Special Warfare Group 10 were deactivated and their “headquarters, missions, functions, and tasks” combined in the new Naval Special Warfare Group 8.
The creation of NSWG 8 is yet another sign of Naval Special Warfare’s pivot to great-power competition with near-peer states, namely China and Russia.
As US Special Operations Command’s dedicated maritime special-operations force, Naval Special Warfare would play a significant role in that competition or a future conflict.
America’s dedicated maritime commandos
Naval Special Warfare Command comprises the Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC). There are about 8,000 personnel assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command, but less than 3,000 of them are special operators – SEALs and SWCCs. The rest are military and civilian support personnel.
NSWG 3 contained the SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Teams, a capability unique to the Navy SEALs. Equipped with mini-submarines, SDV Teams specialize in underwater insertion and extraction of special-operations troops, underwater special operations, and special reconnaissance.
NSWG 10 was established in 2011 to give the SEAL Teams an organic intelligence-gathering and low-visibility capability.