CORONADO, Calif., April 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. Navy program to boost the elite SEALs force is starting to pay off, the Navy Times reported Monday.
The newspaper said that the Naval Special Warfare Command had overhauled both its recruiting and training techniques in the past year in a bid to boost volunteers to the under-strength force and also to boost recruits in their efforts to pass the unit's demanding training program.
The NSWC and the Navy had even set up a mentorship program to ease the transition of recruits in their training process, the newspaper said.
The paper said a new recruiting division at Recruit Training Command had been established to strengthen teamwork concepts among recruits, boost physical training levels and capabilities and boost their overall general performance.
The Navy Times said the program was already showing some improvements in recruitment figures and in the percentage of recruits who made the grade.
It said that SEALs class 263, which completed a six-month basic course on March 30, produced 46 men SEALs out of 144 class members who started the program, giving a success rate of 32 percent. This was a significant improvement on the old average completion rate of 26 percent, the Navy Times said.
U.S. security concerns have created a growing demand for the skill sets of the SEALS. However the current force level of 2,270 SEALS is below the officially required level by 12 percent. The Pentagon wants the force to grow to 3,038 SEALs by 2011, the report said.