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NSW Strengthens Program for Former Candidates

by MC1(SW/AW) Benjamin Kittleson, NSW Center Public Affairs
16 November 2022 Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Center, responsible for preparing the next generation of elite maritime special operations commandos, is reinforcing and improving policies and processes for its Phoenix Division, a special department within the command that teaches, coaches, and mentors disenrolled Sailors for reclassification to find their next career in the Navy.
Since the inception of the Navy SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) communities, tens of thousands of highly talented and motivated Americans have entered Navy special operations training. Historically, more than two out of every three Sailors who enter the program will be disqualified due to a medical issue, an inability to meet the rigorous mental and physical standards, or “drop on request” (DOR) where Sailors self-select themselves out of the assessment process.
When those Sailors leave the training environment, they are assigned to the Phoenix Division, responsible for preparing and assisting these Sailors to find a new rating in the Navy for a successful career and transition. 
Based on feedback from candidates and staff instructors, NSW Center training officials updated their Phoenix Division mentoring processes to help Sailors chart a new career course as they recover and adjust from the Navy’s most mentally and physically taxing “A” school.
“We’ve taken a hard look at understanding the needs of the Sailors leaving the community and returning to the Fleet,” said Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kyle Baumann of NSW Center Operations Department. “Within the division, we are spearheading a mentorship program to ensure our Sailors are ready to enter their follow-on “A” school or check on-board their next ship or command with the tools and knowledge to fit in, day one, as a part of their new team.”
This mentorship program solicits experienced Sailors from combat support rates to brief and encourage the Phoenix Division personnel on the opportunities available to them to reclassify ratings and work within the NSW community again in the future. Some of the combat support rates include:

  • BU-Builder and other Seabee rates
  • ET-Electronics Technicians
  • GM-Gunner’s Mates
  • HM-Hospital Corpsman
  • IT-Information Systems Technician
  • IS-Intelligence Specialist
Sailors in Phoenix Division are further prepared for transition with a physical readiness test, psychological assessment, and medical checkup. Sailors are given a weekly schedule that includes mentorship and professional development sessions to ensure they are postured to succeed in the Navy.  NSW Center continues to reinforce to these Sailors that despite not completing NSW’s assessment and selection, they can still have a successful and impactful career in the Navy. Previous disenrolled NSW candidates have gone on to be Flag Officers and Master Chief Petty Officers of the Navy.
“We are committed to sending intelligent, motivated Sailors who, for one reason or another, were not able to complete SEAL or SWCC training, into the Navy with the necessary tools and resources to not just succeed, but thrive in their new command,” Baumann said. “With the right focus and motivation, and the support of their leadership, they may even return in a couple years to give the teams another shot.”
Naval Special Warfare Center, located on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, provides initial assessment and selection and subsequent advanced training to the Sailors who make up the Navy’s SEAL and Special Boat communities. These communities support the NSW mission, providing maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives.
For more information on the NSW pipeline, visit