The Difference between SEAL Teams and SWAT Teams The Difference between SEAL Teams and SWAT Teams By Brannon Gudith Composition I Mrs. Kirsch May 24, 2010 Abstract The SEAL’s trainings and the SWAT’s trainings are based on the particular situations they will encounter within their missions. The SEAL’s operations are based on a global front requiring more planning, more intelligence, and more entities whereas SWAT’s operations are based on a local, home front requiring quick response, split second decision making, and using available resources.

The SEAL’s tactics come from an array of experience, technology, and intelligence given to them either by their superiors or from another team while the SWAT’s tactics come from experience and intelligence from those who have been in that circumstance before or have witnessed that circumstance and have lived to tell about it or they must find out themselves through training and practice. The Difference between SEAL Teams and SWAT Teams

In the 1960’s a need for specialized teams in the United States Navy and in Law Enforcement had risen: one on a global front to battle the enemy and gain valuable ground, internationally and domestically, and the other on a local front to deal with political and social turmoil within the cities and counties. The United States Navy formed SEa, Air, and Land (SEAL) teams to combat this global front and local Law Enforcement formed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to handle the local front.

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The United States Navy SEAL teams are very different than the Law Enforcement SWAT teams but none more so than in their training, operations, and tactics. Training The SEAL team training starts with a five week indoctrination, learning the expectations and ways of the Navy SEALs. Next is eight weeks of basic conditioning, involving swimming, calisthenics, running, drown proofing, surf torture, and small-boat operations and in the middle of these eight weeks in “Hell Week”, five days and five nights of training with four meals a day, constant training evolutions, and only four hours of sleep.

Once finished with basic conditioning comes eight more weeks of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) and combat swimming training. This is followed by nine weeks of land-warfare training consisting of intelligence-gathering, structure penetration, long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, close-quarters battle, sniper attacks, edged weapons attack, vehicle driving, high speed and evasive vehicle techniques, and hand-to-hand combat, (Obringer, 2008) The SWAT team training begins with long runs, pushups, sit ups, weight training, and agility training by way of an obstacle course.

SWAT members are required to be master marksmen so the training involves hand guns, long guns, sub-machine guns, fire while moving, selecting between a hostile and a non-hostile target within seconds of seeing the targets, and fire with a high degree of accuracy. SWAT teams also use practice scenarios and simulations to train for unknown possibilities. This is where mistakes can be made, pointed out, changed and re-done, because in the real world there are no “do over”, (Grabianowski, 2007) The SEALs start with an indoctrination, teaching the way of the SEALs, whereas SWAT starts with general physical fitness.

The SEALs then move to basic conditioning, which is their physical fitness but it is also a mental fitness too, while SWAT moves on into firearm training because SWAT members must be extremely accurate with the shots, but the SEALs have one fitness regimen that SWAT doesn’t have and that is “Hell Week” it is the most intense week anyone could be put through on a voluntary basis, in other words they asked for it. Then the SEALs move into some more advances training like SCUBA, swimming, and land-warfare, where SWAT moves into simulation training and practice scenarios.

Operations The SEAL’s operations are set in motion and accomplished on a world-wide platform with precision, swiftness, and a high demand on stealth maneuvers, while SWAT’s operations are handled on a local or national platform with a high demand to respond quickly, safely, and with an acute sense of problem solving on the move. According to Lee Lerner and Brenda Lerner (2004), “SEAL team operations are noted for their mobility, swiftness, and precision. ” However, SWAT teams may be called out to handle a myriad of situation apart from their normal daily operations.

There are five main categories that SEAL teams could be sent to perform which are: Unconventional Warfare, using guerilla tactics in battle, Foreign Internal Defense, building relationships with foreign nationals through training, Direct Action, going against an enemy target, Counterterrorism, a response to a terrorist operation or the prevention of a terrorist operation, and Special Reconnaissance, the gathering of intelligence both overtly and covertly for the mission ahead, conversely, SWAT teams are called out to handle situations like a High-Risk Warrant, an arrest that is going to be made at a home of a person who is likely to be armed, a Hostage Situation, when a negotiator has tried negotiations but the attacker refuses to give up, a Barricade Situation, when criminals have barricaded themselves in a building or room and are firing at police and civilians, a High-Risk Person, someone that needs to be transported to a destination and there is a possibility of an assassination attempt, an Armed Terrorist Attack, similar to Columbine High School and Virginia Tech shootings, or a Riot, when groups of people have lashed out committing violence on other people or property, (Grabianowski, 2007 & Obringer, 2008). Tactics

The SEAL teams tactics are precise, well planned, and with zero to minimal flaws. SEAL tactics include getting in and out quickly, not being seen, gathering intelligence, destroying targets, performing rescues, handling explosives, infiltrating enemy lines, doing recovery (snatch-n-grab) techniques, properly handling prisoners, tactical ambushes, sniper assaults, close-quarters combat, underwater demolitions, combat-swimming attacks, using close air support, using naval gunfire support, conducting raids, and hydrographic reconnaissance. All of these could be used on one mission and with such precise timing that the enemy doesn’t even know what happened (Obringer, 2008).

The tactics SWAT teams use vary depending on the situation but typically SWAT members will start to prepare their gear and head towards Police Headquarters (HQ) waiting for the official activation on the SWAT team by a high-ranking police official. It could be an hour or more before all SWAT members assemble. Once all members have assembled they will be briefed on the situation and then load into the SWAT vehicle for transport to the scene. At the scene they will set up a command post, it will be close to the scene but in a safe place. They will then start receiving information on the suspect, layout of the area, known weapons, any hostages, and potential motives.

At this point negotiators will try to contact the suspect and try to de-escalate the situation so no one gets injured or killed. If negotiations fail a recon unit of two SWAT members will be dispatched out to gather more vital intelligence from the scene using stealth methods and surveillance equipment, (Grabianowski, 2007). As stated by Ed Grabianowski, “the optimal outcome of any SWAT team call-out is one which no one is needlessly killed or injured” and “SWAT tactics are meant to intimidate and confuse — using deadly force is a last resort. ” The SEALs tactics are well planned therefore giving them the advantage on training for their mission.

The SEALs have time to smooth out the rough edges, eliminate the problems, and practice, practice, practice, but SWAT isn’t allowed such a luxury, there is no practicing till its right, no smoothing out the rough edges, no eliminating any problems, it is suit up, arrive on scene, set up command structure, then here is the situation that we are facing, how soon can you take care of it, and oh, by the way, we don’t want anybody to get seriously hurt or killed in the process. The SEALs don’t have to worry about not shooting the enemy because they know exactly who is the enemy and who is not, but with SWAT though it’s here is the bad guy, he has seven hostages, he is strapped with high explosives, and he is wearing body armor. SEALs seem to have it a little better than SWAT does but on the other hand SWAT doesn’t have to deal with the international ramifications that the SEALs do if their mission is a failure or there are complications. The United States Navy SEAL teams and the Law Enforcement SWAT teams are different in their training, operations, and tactics.

The SEAL teams training is very intense they train psychologically as well as physically and SWAT teams train to respond with precision within seconds of seeing what you have but there is no finish line for SEAL teams training or SWAT teams training it is a never ending regiment. The SEAL teams have exceptionally precise plans for their operations where as SWAT teams don’t have that luxury all the time they have to respond and neutralize the situation as quickly as possible with little to no injury to themselves, the criminal, or anyone else involved. The training, operations, and tactics that the SEAL teams use is completely dissimilar as to what the SWAT teams use and in this essence SEAL teams and SWAT teams are very much two different specialized teams. References * Grabianowski, Ed. (2007). How SWAT Teams Work. HowStuffWorks. com. * http://people. howstuffworks. com/swat-team. htm. * Klinger, David A. (2002). Police: Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Teams. ” * Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice. Ed. Joshua Dressler. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. New York: * Macmillan Reference USA. 1114-1116. Encyclopedias. Web. * http://go. galegroup. com. proxy. itt- * tech. edu/ps/i. do? &id=GALE%&7CCX3403000189&v=2. 1&u=itted&it=r&p=GVRL. Ency * clopedias1106&sw=w. * Lerner, Lee and Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth. (2004). “SEAL Teams. ” Encyclopedia of * Espionage, Intelligence and Security. Ed. K. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale. 53-55. Encyclopedias. * Web. http://go. galegroup. com. proxy. itt- * tech. edu/ps/i. do? &id=GALE%&7CCX3403300674&v=2. 1&u=itted&it=r&p=GVRL.

Ency * clopedias1106&sw=w. * Obringer, Lee Ann. (2008). How the Navy SEALs Work. HowStuffWorks. com. * http://science. howstuffworks. com/navy-seal. htm. * Paschall, R. , Frank, B. M. , & McNaughton, J. C. (1999). Special Operations Forces. The * Oxford Companion to American Military History. John Whiteclay Chambers II, Ed. * Oxford University Press. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. ITT * Educational Services. * http://www. oxfordreference. com/views/ENTRY. html? subview=Main&entry=t126. e0868-s0003. * Phelps, S. and Lehman, J. (2005). “Swat Teams. ” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. * Ed. 2nd ed. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale,


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