By Ed Morrissey
This can’t be true, right? The US Navy can’t be forcing their elite commando units to rotate their rifles with other units as they come back from deployments, leaving them only to train with unfamiliar weapons. According to Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Republican who represents the San Diego district with a major SEAL community, it is — and it’s not a question of overall funding:
Navy SEAL teams don’t have enough combat rifles to go around, even as these highly trained forces are relied on more than ever to carry out counterterrorism operations and other secretive missions, 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.
This cannot be a funding issue. According to NavySeals.com, there are just 2,450 active SEALs and 600 special-boat operators (the AP puts the combined total at 2,710). Even if each rifle costs $5,000 fully tricked out for special-operations use — and according to the AP, the DoD gets its M-4 carbines for around $1,000 — that would put the cost of properly equipping the SEALs at $15.25 million. The proposed US Navy budget for FY2017 comes to $155.4 billion. Using the $5000 cost as a baseline, providing every single SEAL and SWCC with a new rifle in FY2017 would eat up 0.0098% of the annual budget.
Read more: Hot Air