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Both Army Special Forces and Navy SEALS use underwater insertion means to reach objectives. But the SEALs take the underwater element to the next level; conducting raids from submarines while submerged.

Unlike in decades past, today, thanks to specially designed submersible attachments to several U.S. attack submarines the SEALS can deploy from and recover to a submerged submarine at sea. And in the world of near-peer conflict this is an incredible stealth special ops capability.

As Stavros Atlamazoglou notes in 19fortyfive:

In a conflict with China or Russia, submarine operations are a great way to deploy special-operations forces close to an enemy target.

The South China Sea, where Beijing is building and fortifying scores of man-made islands, or the Black Sea, where Moscow is turning Crimea into a fortress, would be ideal environments for such operations.

Atlamazoglou adds:

Submarine operations can be used to ferry a special-operations team close to a target without leaving a trace, making them the perfect starting point for a special reconnaissance, direct action, sabotage, hostage rescue, or personnel recovery operations.

Navy SEALs, the maritime component of US Special Operations Command, are the natural choice for such operations. From the start, SEAL training emphasizes the water element, and all SEALs get advanced underwater training.

But Navy SEALs aren’t the only special-operations unit in the US military that can launch from submarines. For example, Army Special Forces combat diver teams also train and conduct submarine operations.

The difference between the two units, however, is that Green Berets use combat diving as an insertion method — a way to the target — whereas Navy SEALs can also conduct direct action or sabotage operations at sea after launching from a submarine.

READ MORE ABOUT HOW SEALS TRAIN FOR THESE CHALLENGING MISSIONS AT 19fortyfive. ADN

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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