|09-04-2004, 08:45 PM||#1 (permalink)|
U.S. Marine ( FAST )
Join Date: Sep 2004
Rear Admiral Albert M. Calland III
Rear Admiral Albert M. Calland III is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1974, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training (class of 1982) and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) 1996.
Calland has commanded at all levels, beginning as platoon commander of both a SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) platoon and a SEAL platoon and, most recently, a commander, Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). In August 1987, while executive officer of Special Boat Unit Twelve, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Earnest Will as commander, Naval Special Warfare Task Unit, Pacific. In November 1992 he took command of SEAL Team ONE until January 1995. From June 1997 until June 1999, he commanded the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, a CNO Priority One Major Command. He assumed command of SOCCENT in July 2000. Following September 2001, he transitioned his headquarters war fighting functions from MacDill AFB, to the forward-deployed Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command, directing more that 3,000 U.S. and coalition special operations forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He began his current assignment as commander, Naval Special Warfare Command in August 2002.
Calland's other assignments include senior instructor BUD/S training; Naval Special Warfare Group ONE RDT&E officer; Naval Surface Forces, Pacific NSW/EOD officer; COMNAVSPECWARCOM assistant chief of staff for Programs/RDA; USSOCOM Directorate of Resources, Programs Division branch chief; Deputy J3 Joint Special Operations Command; and executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Interviewed by Jeffrey McKaughan, SOTECH editor.
At press time, Rear Admiral (lower half) Albert M. Calland III had been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral.
Q: Good afternoon Admiral Calland. To set the stage, could you give SOTECH readers an overview of the structure and organization of Naval Special Warfare Command?
A: I sure can and first of all, thanks a lot - I appreciate the opportunity to be able to tell the Naval Special Warfare story. As I think you know, we are the maritime component to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the special operations component to the U.S. Navy. Our forces are actively engaged around the world and have been obviously a key force and a key effort in the war against terror.
Specifically, my mission here at Naval Special Warfare Command is to provide, train and equip forces in order to be able to plan and execute special operations, primarily from a maritime and riverine environment in support of the geographical component commanders around the world. We're comprised of Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatantcraft Crewmen (SWCC). SWCCs are our boat drivers and maintain our operational craft. Of course as SEAL indicates, we operate in all the environments - sea, air and land - as we demonstrated both in OEF and OIF operating on the ground as well as in the seas of the Arabian Gulf.
Our relationship with the big Navy is really the key to our ability to leverage their platforms and their capabilities to better enhance our posturing and positioning to carry out the variety of missions that we are going to be asked to do.
In regards to force structure, we have an active duty force in Naval Special Warfare of a little over 5,000 and that includes both operators and support personnel. We've got approximately 2,400 SEALs and approximately 600 Special Warfare Combatantcraft Crewmen. That totals about 3,000 operators compared to about 2,000 in the support area - by any tip to tail ratio we are pretty lean in that area. Our reserve force is about 1,200 personnel, of which about 300 are SEALs, 100 are Special Warfare Combatantcraft Crewmen and about 800 support folks.
Major operational components in Naval Special Warfare, my major commanders, the operational component commanders, are Naval Special Warfare Group 1 and Group 3 here in San Diego and Naval Special Warfare Group 2 and Group 4 in Virginia Beach, VA. These components support our SEAL teams, our SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams (SDVT) and our Special Boat Teams (SBT) worldwide to meet training and exercises and continue to support wartime requirements of the theater commanders.
In the war on terrorism, you really have to be forward in order to be able to make a difference. I've always said, in the war on terrorism, it's about two primary things: operational speed and relationships. Since all the targets in this manhunt for terrorism know we are looking for them and if they get any indication we are close, they are going to move. So these targets are almost always time sensitive and require an operational speed capability. By relationships, I mean those relationships with coalition partners or relationships across the joint boundaries to be able to work with other forces as well as our interagency relationships, which includes obviously the State Department and the various intelligence agencies. All of these relationships are extraordinarily important to be able to build the trust and confidence we need to be able to execute the war on terrorism.
Additionally for Naval Special Warfare, our Naval special warfare squadrons continually deploy overseas. We have two squadrons deployed all the time, one supporting CENTCOM and PACOM, and they split to meet those two theater requirements. The other squadron on the East Coast supports both SOUTHCOM and EUCOM. In addition to that, we have permanent bases for our Naval special warfare units overseas, and these are permanently stationed folks that live in the countries. They are located in Bahrain, Guam, Germany, Rota, Spain and, up until just recently, Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico, which recently closed down. That particular unit will come back and co-locate with Naval Special Warfare Group 2 in Virginia Beach.
In addition to that, we have on any day, and it varies based on exercises, Naval special warfare operators in roughly 25-30 different countries conducting exercises and operations every day. Our deployments are centered around the Naval special warfare squadron concept which was previously known as Naval Special Warfare 21. The core of which is a SEAL team, and we have four SEAL teams on each coast so they are in a one in four rotation.
They go through four phases of training, actually three phases of training and the final phase is deployment, and those are broken up into six-month blocks. It starts with individual training for six months where they can do those individual skills things as well as take leave and do that kind of stuff. The next phase would be unit level training where the SEAL team will train and a Special Boat Team will train together or at least as a unit. During this phase, for example, the Special Boat Detachment will work on their individual skills that they need as a detachment, and the SEAL team will work on their individual skills as a SEAL platoon and as a SEAL team. Then we bring them together in what is called squadron integration training for the six months prior to deployment, where we will bring all the elements together to form the squadron of SEALs, boat detachments and SDVs - the whole gambit of capability that will deploy with the squadron. This ensures that they work together as a single unit.
Q: Specifically dealing with the size of your force, and especially after hearing how large NSW is and the kind of deployments you are performing, do you see your force size having to grow both in operational and support personnel?
A: Yes, we are going to grow on both sides. The recent Program Decision Memorandum that came out of OSD essentially programmed growth for a SEAL team or a SEAL team equivalent on each coast. This will be phased in starting in 2006 and go through 2008. The amount of growth in Naval Special Warfare is about 400 folks total over that period of time. Out of that, about 300 are operators, so we are still in our same ratio - growing much heavier on the operator side and not nearly as much on the support side.
Those particular SEALs will be distributed amongst the existing SEAL teams to add depth and capability not only for the number of platoons that we will be able to deploy out to each deploying squadron but so we will be able to add some depth there. Additionally, in the command and control piece of that, we can break out and form up task unit organizations with the appropriate command and control on top of that.
The support piece of that will also be distributed throughout those squadrons to some degree but again, the intent of the deploying squadron is to have it be really lean and an operational element. One of my initiatives that will go into the next budget and program cycle will be to look at seeing if we can add a little bit more depth than we currently have on our support side as well.
Q: The Mark V has served Naval Special Warfare very well since it's inception, however, I would think that the recent OPTEMPO has put a strain and a burden on that boat. How has it held up and what are your plans for a replacement?
A: The original requirement for the Mark V, in the operational requirement document, was that we needed the reliability of 80 percent, and our Mark V has never been below 90 percent reliability. So they are holding up extremely well and are a very reliable platform. The Mark V has been used in [Operation] Iraqi Freedom as well as in the Arabian Gulf, the Mediterranean, with PACOM and around the world since they were introduced into service.
One of the primary concerns that I have with the Mark V is shock mitigation. One of the major problems as we designed that craft is that we probably didn't do a good enough job of really anticipating what open ocean transits in event moderate seas related to in terms of shock. We've recorded as much as 13g's of shock and 10-13g's over extended periods of time. The result of that has been that we've injured what I think are too many of our combatant craft crewmen as they spend a lot of time riding in those environments.
So what I'm looking at right now is we've got a assessment of alternatives for the medium range insertion craft (MRIC) which I envision to be a replacement down the line for the Mark V. In the interim, we have done work to build shock-absorbing seats into the Mark V to be a band-aid fix to mitigate the shock to the passengers and primarily the crew, since they spend the most time on the boat.
So that's really my hope - to be able to maybe expedite the delivery of whatever the replacement for the Mark V is because again I think it's the basic hull design that's really causing the shock, and that's a fundamental boat to us. We need a new kind of hull design to be built, to have built-in shock mitigation.
Q: Going from on the surface to under the surface, are you in a position to talk about the ASDS very much as to what kind of operational advantages it might give your forces and also address the budget adjustments to the program? What does that do to your procurement plans?
A: I'm somewhat limited in being able to talk too much about ASDS. There has been a lot written on that including the GAO report, and it's gotten a lot of press over the years.
First of all, obviously it was a program that dragged on for a long period of time and there were a lot of technical challenges that had to be worked through. The good news is that it did pass its operational evaluation. It's not in perfect shape right now, but it is an operational capability as we speak. There are still some bugs we need to work out, and we are going to continue to work on those. We are planning a field exercise with it in the near future where we are going to be able to actually run full mission profiles. We want to get it out to the field and into the theater and be able to do some exercises with it to really flush out any other lingering things that we may need to work on.
I can tell you that based on the OPEVAL and the most recent work that we have done with it, we're very pleased with the capability it brings. Obviously the primary capability it allows us is to stay dry and warm, and it will protect some of our sensitive gear and so forth as we transport payloads and people. It really gives us an opportunity that we don't have with our wet submersibles to be able to loiter in an area for an extended period of time, to be able to recover our guys or to provide other important capabilities to the country.
Q: You mentioned the wet submersibles, are there any other surface or submersible programs that you are working on that you have high hopes will be able to deliver the kind of capabilities you want from them?
A: We're continuing to work on upgrades in different types of equipment that we can put into our wet submersibles that give us additional capability. Some of those are in the form of sensors and communications capabilities, etc.
I would have to say that on the surface side of things, one of the most exciting programs, besides the MRIC and the replacement for the Mark V that I've already mentioned, is the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy has really embraced special operations in their design of virtually all their new craft, everything from the DDX to the new carrier to the new amphibious platforms as well the LCS. Even to the point where the base Naval Special Warfare requirements, and also the requirements that apply to the joint SOF teams, are being built into the base design of the LCS.
That really gives us the flexibility to operate off of a variety of those ships once they are delivered and positioned around the globe. Once forward deployed, we can quickly and effectively link up with and be able to operate from them with great flexibility. This is really an exciting thing for us. We are looking forward to being able to operate off of these Navy surface platforms and helicopters and improving our interoperability with them as well as the Navy submarine force.
The LCS has three primary mission areas that it's being designed to. SOF is not one of those primary mission areas, but the fact that they are building our requirements into the baseline capabilities so that we can essentially plug into any of those LCS platforms and be able to operate from quickly is important. We are looking at the possibility of a SOF module. We are working through the program office to see what that may entail - it may or may not be necessary as they may already have everything built into the LCS program that wouldn't require us really to develop our own module, but we're investigating that.
Q: As far as other technologies and other pieces of equipment, were there any that performed up to or beyond your expectations during OEF and OIF?
A: I think that the new equipment and the equipment that USSOCOM has been able to field for all their operators - Army, Navy and Air Force special operators - have really proven their weight in gold.
For us, the key is small size. Things that are small, lightweight, easy to operate and rugged are the kinds of things we look for. Industry has developed a variety of optics that we can use. Target designation kits have all been reduced in size and give our operators reduced weight that they have to carry through the mountains of Afghanistan and through the plains of Iraq. These have given our operators better and improved performance and accuracy. That's obviously extremely important for us.
Additionally for us in the optics category is forward looking infrared systems that we're able to install on all our surface craft. This helps us in our ability to operate on the oceans at night as well as in our ground tactical vehicles. We also used tactical level UAVs that are essentially hand-launched and can get out in front of a patrol, get out in front of a vehicle convoy, and be able to see what's on the other side of the ridgeline or over the next hill. That's been as invaluable capability, and we've were able to make it happen in such a way that it didn't have a huge support tail with it that we had to drag along.
The bottom line is that we also have to be masters of the low tech and the no tech. It just really falls on the professionalism and capability of our individual guys and the imagination they have to be able to make things work.
Q: What kinds of unmanned platforms did you primarily use ?
A: Primarily, the Pointer on the aerial vehicle side and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). I think unmanned whatever is obviously real important to everybody. For us to be able to do beach reconnaissance, look for mines and to be able to scout out in front and see what's out there was a real asset.
Those UUVs are all real important to the development of our ability to work in very shallow water areas and the Navy mine clearance units obviously have the lead on that. We also want those capabilities that are going to help us chart beaches and harbors, which is also very important to us.
For OEF, there is one capability I thought was really important to us. We developed a Mission Support Center that is essentially a reach back node that allows us to connect with various agencies around the world. It's based here in the San Diego area and was extraordinarily useful to our forward deployed forces out on the front line. When they needed to reach back and get specific information, for example, where are the minefields in Afghanistan, the Mission Support Center could sit back here and do the research, pull the information together and push it to the guys in the field so they could develop an overlay that they could put on their maps. When the guys are sitting there in MOPP Level IV gear in Kuwait or other places in Iraq because there's a Scud alert, it sure makes it easier to be able to have somebody sitting back here and not worried about that to be able to get the information and do the research required to perform the mission.
Q: Was that center being developed and worked on before OEF or was it spooled up as a result of September 11?
A: No, we actually started that before September 11 occurred. Rear Admiral Bill McRaven, who was the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 at the time, started the center as an experiment, and it has been an experiment up until just recently. In the last several months USSOCOM has made it a bona fide program. So now it is locked in place and we've got funding lined up for the future so we can continue to improve the capabilities.
Q: As would be expected, Naval Special Warfare does a lot of on, or under, the water. How much emphasis have you placed on RDT&E and new technologies dealing with underwater navigation and communications?
A: As with all of our underwater equipment, we are continually looking for the ability to improve our existing systems. I've just returned from a visit to Panama City, FL, where we have the Naval Coastal System Center, which is our lead for development for everything from the ASDS as well as other underwater systems. They're working on several projects with several others under development. They include underwater navigation systems and through-water communication systems that allow the operator to better communicate diver-to-diver or diver-to-other platform. They have several other programs from improved batteries to a variety of different sensors that can be operated from UUVs or surface autonomous vehicles and robotics. There are all kinds of things that are being developed that we are looking at, evaluating and determining the application for their use in Naval Special Warfare.
Q: We have touched on what the LCS will bring to Naval Special Warfare. Do you think the Virginia class submarine will be a tool that significantly affects the way you do business?
A: Absolutely, and I think whether you talk about the LCS or the Virginia class submarine, the important thing is that the Navy understands the importance of their ability to interoperate with not only Naval Special Warfare but joint SOF. To build into the design of these new platforms the capability to ensure that there is appropriate interoperability with SOF forces is a huge step for the Navy, and it's exactly, in my view, the right way to go.
I think that for us to quickly integrate with whatever platform happens to be available or whatever platform is in the area is extremely important for our ability to be able to respond quickly. When indications are that we have found a bad guy and whether that bad guy is transiting on the sea or whether he is somewhere on land, we need to get forces on scene. We may not always have the ability or time to establish some kind of base, build up helicopters and fly them to support missions. So to have those platforms out there that we can quickly fall in on and operate from effectively is extremely important. This goes all the way down to ensuring that we've got the command and control and communications capabilities embedded in those platforms and that they can receive the appropriate level of classification of information. Many ships out there do not have the capability to receive some of the really highly classified material. These are the types of things that we're working with the Navy to ensure are included in future designs. This will give us the best opportunity to quickly react to indications that we've got terrorists.
Q: Joint operations is the wave of today and the future. How has that affected your training methods and the procedures used to prepare your warfighters?
A: Since USSOCOM stood up in the late 1980s, special operations forces have been joint in everything from the design of the radios that we have to our tactics, techniques and procedures. Across the board, we operate routinely with both Air Force and Army aviation assets. We interoperate routinely with the Army Special Forces. We go through the same training, we attend the same schools, some are managed by Air Force special operations, some are managed by the Army Special Operations and some are managed by us.
We always have other services in all our schools, and we are trained to similar standards. We obviously have slightly different missions that we have to perform, but across the board, we work very closely together and it's ensured that we get on the battlefield like in Afghanistan and Iraq and there is no issue with communications between SOF elements. It's not quite the same with the other joint partners out there. They have had, and continue to have, problems in some cases communicating with each other because of the difference in their systems.
Q: The quality of Naval Special Warfare, and especially the mystic of the SEAL, is legendary. Referencing the increase in your force size, how are you going to go about bringing in the same quality of people that you are looking for? Is this an area of concern?
A: Well, I don't know about the legendary part - I guess you've been watching the Discovery Channel. No, we're real happy with the product of our training. The guys on the ground have proven themselves time and again, and so I think we're doing what's right in training.
The thing that we need to be able to do better is to recruit better applicants or better SEAL candidates, and the Navy again has stepped up and said you are exactly right. What we are going to do now is,Â through the Navy recruiting command and Navy N1, recruiters have been tasked to meet certain goals in recruiting SEAL candidates around the world. Whereas before, the recruiters never had a goal to recruit SEALs, they do now have a goal of recruiting annually 900 SEALs. The recruiters have a PT test that they will administer prior to signing up candidates to go to boot camp, so we'll ensure that we'll have a level of fitness there.
Once they get into boot camp, we have several SEALs working in Great Lakes who will monitor their progress throughout boot camp to give them additional instruction and training if they need. For instance, many of the candidates can run and do pushups, do pull ups and have great strength, but they may not have as strong swimming skills as they will need to be able to be successful in our program. Through boot camp we give them additional training in swimming skills and we work with them to improve their ability to operate in the water, to give them a better opportunity to make it through the training. You know it's hard to look into somebody's heart to determine whether they are going to be able to endure the hardships of training, but if we feel that we can improve the quality of the candidate in the front door, then we'll be able to improve the numbers that we get out the back door.
Q: My final question, Admiral, is: As challenges can always be viewed as opportunities, what do you see as the most important opportunities that face the command in the coming year?
A: As I think that you know, Secretary Rumsfeld has articulated numerous times that there's a new mind set required for the war on terrorism. In order to get there, we really have to transform not only how we do things, but how we think about things. The war on terrorism is not a conventional fight. It's not a fight of massing forces against each other, and how we define mass now has even changed. The conventional mindset was divisions of heavy armor and wings of airplanes and those kinds of things that define mass, but a very small amount of firepower precisely placed can have dramatic effects on the battlefield and we saw that in Afghanistan.
So I think that the challenge for the U.S. military, as it continues to wage this fight against terrorism, will be to understand how we need to transform in thinking and our disposition of forces. We use find, fix and finish in general terms - find the bad guy, fix his position to know exactly where he is, and then be able to finish the capture or kill part of the mission - are all elements to that. In order to do that, it's all about speed, that operational speed. It's being able to get the appropriate force to the appropriate place, before the bad guys know about it. Maintaining the element of surprise requires that, in many cases, you have to go with a very small group and that aligns well with what special operations does.
However, one of the challenges is that, from one that's been trained in the conventional military thought process, if they want to reduce risk, in may cases the answer from a conventional viewpoint is to increase combat power - in other words increase the mass. The way I've been brought up all along in a SOF environment is that it may be just the opposite - in order to decrease the risk, you decrease the size of the force so it can be able to move undetected. It has speed, it has agility and it can maintain the element of surprise, and that's going to be critical. As plans and operations flow up through the various chains of command, some might look at a special operation using a very small force as being a very risky mission and, in some cases, that can stop it dead before it has a chance to move on. So I think it's a continual understanding and education process to the entire military so that we'll be better able to understand the capabilities and limitations and be able to understand what risk really means.
Every commander has to look at that and decide. They have a balance between risk to the mission success versus risk to the force. That's always a fine balance and to make those kinds of decisions are what commanders get paid to do
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