Navy Times | Target Areas Announced for SEAL Diversity

The latest marketing campaign to recruit more minorities and diversify the Navy’s special warfare community will focus on Southern California and the mid-Atlantic, and it may include metropolitan areas with heavy concentrations of Arabs, Persians and Hispanics.

Those minority communities of Detroit, Miami and the area from Atlanta to North Carolina’s Research Triangle are the Navy’s latest hopes to find and recruit young men with diversified backgrounds and the physical stamina and desire to undergo the famously rigorous training it takes to become a Navy SEAL.

The force today is about 85 percent white, much higher than the Navy overall, so the Coronado, Calif.-based Naval Special Warfare Command wants to broaden the look of the community and draw in men of different ethnicities and races that more reflect U.S. society. Doing so, officials have said, would enable its forces to blend into foreign places where they may operate and help build relationships with allies.

The diversity effort, part of a June 22 request for proposals issued by NSWC, extends to the community of SWCCs, the special warfare combatant-craft crewmen who man gunboats and operate with SEALs.

Command officials want a contractor to help it expand regional awareness and education campaigns “with the intent of increasing self-selection to a career as a Navy SEAL within minority communities broadly defined for this purpose as: African American, Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab American and Persian American,” according to the RFP.

The marketing campaign will target three key regions:

• Mid-Atlantic: The Norfolk/Tidewater area and Richmond, Va., along with the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor, will be 40 percent of the campaign’s focus.

• Southern California: San Diego to Los Angeles will comprise 20 percent.

• Another metro area: Detroit, Miami and the area from metropolitan Atlanta north to Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro, N.C. — one of these three will represent 40 percent of the work.

For that third group, the contractor will study all three areas and recommend one, but the final selection will be made by the SEAL/SWCC Scout Team, said Scott Williams, a spokesman for the team in Coronado.

The command couldn’t cover all three areas, each of which have sizable minority populations, Williams said: “It’s a matter of resources, both in manpower and in money.”

Potential contractors have until July 11 to submit their proposals, and it will take two to three weeks for command and contracting officials to review them, Williams said, with a start date in early to mid-August.

While efforts in recent years have boosted the number of minority candidates vying to become SEALs and SWCCs, many minorities failed to complete the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Course and SEAL Qualification Training. The dropout rates for minorities far exceeded that of white males in most catagories.

While it’s not a direct recruiting pitch, the contractor is expected to broadly reach out to at least 2,000 young men from 16 to 24 and get them to attend awareness events and programs. The contractor also must get at least 100 coaches, counselors, clergy or other “influencers” in the minority communities “who have influence on career decision-making of potential SEAL candidates” to assist in recruiting efforts.

A key goal, the solicitation states, is to get 300 “high potential minority candidates” over the contract period, which is one year with possible annual renewals for four additional years.

The command also issued a separate contract solicitation in June for a contractor to help with finding officers, including minorities, to become naval special warfare officers.

July 12, 2012
Navy Times | Target Areas Announced for SEAL Diversity

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