U.S. Navy SEALs are being forced to buy some of the gear they need in order to deploy. The Navy is short on rifles for the SEALs to use during deployment, and they are having to turn in their rifles at the end of deployment so they may be used by the next SEAL team to deploy.
Navy Times reported that Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, wants to know why. Hunter said that it made no sense that SEALs should have to turn in gear that they require on a daily basis, not just for deployment but training too.
“I was in the Marine Corps. We just took what we could get and do what we were told. But you guys are special. That’s why you have special in your name.”
For those who have never served, the shortage of gear may not seem like a big deal. The military is famous for spending large amounts of money on gear. Weapons are very personal and must be customized for each user. Hunter went on to say that Navy SEALs aren’t getting their gear fast enough to work with.
“They don’t get weapons now to work up with for two years. They get their weapon when a guy comes back. They have to turn that weapon back in again even if they’re still in work-ups and they’re going to deploy nine months later.”
Navy SEALs tell lawmaker they don’t have enough combat rifles, @rplardner reports: https://t.co/TnokKNjDLd
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 7, 2016
Hunter said he was concerned over the fact that operators were being forced to turn in their weapons at various times during the deployment cycle. Each weapon has been finely tuned for the operator who is using it, and SEALs were having to turn their weapons over to other operators for use. Hunter questioned why Navy SEALs weren’t each issued their own weapon for use, especially when the Navy was given enough money to cover the purchase of weapons for all its operators.
Former SEAL Sean Matson spent $900 purchasing a helmet he said he needed to wear while in combat. Critics of the issue say that they don’t believe that Navy SEALs don’t have access to the gear they need and that it’s really a matter of acquisition, as Matson left the Navy and built a gear company that now sells to the Navy. They said that the issue is more about speeding up the acquisition process, and Hunter brought Matson to Washington to discuss the issue before Congress related to the acquisition of military gear.
— Allen West (@AllenWest) March 5, 2016
Fox News said that the issue of not having enough combat rifles was brought before Congress too. Navy SEALs are issued rifles at the beginning of their deployment, and once they return, the rifles are issued to other SEALs for use during deployment. Sharing may not seem like a big deal. For the Navy SEALs, it is, because the gear comes with telescopic targeting sights and laser pointers, and each of these pieces of gear has to be carefully customized for use.
The problem is not a lack of money or the cost of weapons. The military currently issues the M-4 carbine, and when bought in bulk, it costs less than $1,000 per rifle. Although the gear used by the Navy SEALs is more highly specialized, the cost wasn’t a factor there either. Several Navy SEALs spoke to Representative Hunter about the issue, although he declined to give further information in order to protect the identities of the operators he spoke to.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain]