Navy SEAL teams don’t have enough combat rifles to go around, according to SEALs who have confided in Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
After SEALs return from a deployment, their rifles are given to other commandos who are shipping out, said Hunter, a former Marine who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. This weapons carousel undercuts the “train like you fight” ethos of the U.S. special operations forces, they said.
Hunter said he’s been contacted by several SEALs, but he declined to provide further information about the weapons they use in order to protect their identities.
U.S. military officials said they were looking into the issue.
Sharing rifles may seem inconsequential. It’s not. The weapons, which are outfitted with telescopic targeting sights and laser pointers, are fine-tuned to individual specifications and become intensely personal pieces of gear.
They want their rifles,
Hunter said. “It’s their lifeline. So let them keep their guns until they’re assigned desk jobs at the Pentagon.”
Rifles are among the least expensive items the military buys, leading Hunter to question the priorities of Naval Special Warfare Command, the Coronado, California, organization that oversees the SEALs.
“There is so much wasteful spending,” he said. “Money is not reaching the people it needs to reach.”
Hunter wrote last month to the Naval Special Warfare Command’s leader, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, about the alleged weapon shortage and also asked him for a full accounting of how the command’s budget was spent last year. Losey has told Hunter to expect a reply by Wednesday.