Cost Effectiveness and Intensity of BUD/S Navy SEAL Training

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Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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Cost Effectiveness and Intensity of BUD/S Navy SEAL Training

        The U.S. Navy’s Sea-Air-Land Soldiers Teams encompass the service’s primary special operations capability.  The selection criteria for SEALs, are like those of U.S. Army Special Forces, although the endurance swimming constraints are much more rigorous.  SEALs were once drawn for the most part from the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams, but as time passed these teams were redesignated as SEAL Teams or SEAL Delivery Vehicle teams.  Nowadays, most volunteers are usually Navy personnel.  (Douglas 28)

        Intensity Of BUD/S Navy SEAL Training

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        To enter BUD/S, you can’t be more than 28 years old.  BUD/S volunteers are put through  25 weeks of  backbreaking training, fore the most part, at the Naval Special Warfare Center at Coronado, California.  With out a doubt, BUD/S is the toughest  program  available to U.S. soldiers.  Before attendees even get into BUD/S, they must first complete a two-week physical training module, just to prepare them for the arduous pressure that they will go through in BUD/S.

        The first eight weeks of training concentrates on physical conditioning, which includes: running, speed and endurance swimming, confidence and obstacle courses, calisthenics, along with small boat seamanship.  Then comes the infamous “Hell Week”, which takes place in the sixth week of BUD/S.  For the duration of this time, of extreme physical training, applicants are only allowed 4 hours of sleep.  The next seven weeks of  BUD/S  comprises of advanced instruction in sea navigation, open-and closed-circuit scuba, deep–sea diving, and underwater  demolition.  This segment is followed by 10 weeks of instruction in surface demolition, combat engineering, amphibious operations, land navigation, hand-to-hand combat, weapons familiarization, reconnaissance techniques and small unit tactics training at San Clemente Island.  After completing BUD/S, the volunteers are sent to Fort Benning to attend the Army’s three-week Airborne Basic Course.

        Why Should The Navy Not Lower Its Standards Because Of The High Attrition Rate?

To be considered the elite, it’s without a doubt, crucial that BUD/S volunteers be put through the laborious training that the program involves.  To support my argument, let’s put it into perspective.  Let’s say that an individual has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Would you want some wet behind the ears intern, just out of med school to remove the growth; the answer would definitely be no.  This line of thought, applies to the military as well.  If there is a war, or terrorist situation, where innocent lives are at stake, you want the best to handle the crisis.  It’s imperative that SEALs go through the regimen that the BUD/S program offers.

        The Cost Effectivness Of BUD/S And Why It’s Worth The Cost?

The question in this portion of my paper is, BUD/S worth the cost?  The Pentagon said it would begin offering bonuses of up to $150,000 for long serving Army, Airforce and Navy special operation troops who agree to stay in the military for up to six more years.  The bonuses are the largest ever paid to enlisted troops.  They reflect the difficulty in replacing highly valued troops such as Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, whose training takes years and costs about $300,000 per person.  (Moniz 2)  $300,000 dollars a person is chump change when you think of all the lives that Navy SEALs have saved.  Once again, the question is, BUD/S cost-effective?  To stipulate, can we as taxpayers put a currency value on human lives?  Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer or stockbroker, to be the best at your chosen profession costs money.  No ifs ands or butts, SEALs deal with death every time they go out on a mission.  Unlike the professions that I just mentioned, not only are Navy SEALs safeguarding others, they to, are putting themselves in harm’s way.  If it costs $300,000 to put a would be SEAL through the BUD/S program, well then so be it.

        Why Do Some Individuals Criticize The Intensity Of The Training, And Say That

        It Is A Waste Of Money?

        The majority of those who criticize the intensity of the training, are for the most part, individuals who did not complete BUD/S.  In other words, I’d have to say that we’re dealing with sour grapes.  The other detractors are usually bureaucrats, or government officials who have never served time in the military; all they see is the bottom-line;

        According to an article in USA Today: The Army, Navy and Airforce, shortages of elite special operations forces that are playing a leading role in the war against terrorism, military records show.  The shortfall of  Army special operations, Navy SEALs and Air Force combat controllers persists as the Pentagon seeks to expand the forces by 15% over the next four years to bolster the anti-terrorism campaign.  One reason for the shortage is the intense training.  The Navy says only 35 of 166 candidates will qualify as SEALs.  (Vanden 1)  Another critic states: Officially, the first phase of the nearly year-long regimen for becoming a Navy SEAL is called Basic Conditioning.  That’s an understatement if ever there was one.  During those eight weeks recruits endure “self torture” (immersion in 60F water), “drown proofing” (a series of underwater exercises with hands and feet tied), and the infamous “Hell Week,” 5 ½ days of sheer agony during which trainees sleep for a total of four hours.  No wonder just 25% of those chosen to enter the harrowing process actually finish.  (Business Week 104-105)

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        In conclusion, as MLA format dictates, I must give my personal opinion on the topic of this paper.  At the risk of sounding redundant, I have to state that the intense training that BUD/S offers is a necessity.  SEALs are without a doubt, the most conditioned soldiers that the world has to offer.  Without giving it a second thought, I would put them in the same category as world class athletes.  They are put through the arduous training for a reason; to save lives.  As far as being cost effective, how can you put a dollar sign on a human life?  If you want the best, it’s going to cost money.  In hindsight, as one SEAL so eloquently put it, “BUD/S is the closest thing to hell I’ve ever been through.  By the sixth week you pray that a shark gets you, just to get some peace; but when you get on the job you understand why it was the way it was.”

Works Cited

“Navy SEALs Don’t Mess With These Guys.”  Business Week  2006:  104-105

Moniz.  Dave.  “Military offering more, and bigger bonuses.”  USA Today  2005:  22

Douglas.  Walter.  C.  “Hell Week.”  News Week:  28

Kreisher.  Otto.  “In The Fore Front Of The War On Terror.”  Sea Power  2002:  41

“The Men At War… And Their Gear.”  News Week:  2001:  20

Vanden.  Tom.  “U.S. elite forces face shortfall.”  USA Today:  1a


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Cost Effectiveness and Intensity of BUD/S Navy SEAL Training. (2018, May 06). Retrieved from

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