The SEALs problem

It was all a mistake, the Navy told U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. There is no shortage of rifles for Navy SEALs. Those whose rifles were taken so other SEALs could have weapons during deployments have had their guns returned.

Earlier this month, Hunter demanded answers after some of the SEALs whose guns were taken contacted him. The congressman was worried the Pentagon does not have enough rifles to arm everyone who needs one.

That could be a real problem for a reason that may not be obvious: Many members of the military become accustomed to the weapons issued to them. They are far more effective with their own rifles than with those borrowed from others.

But Hunter said this week he has been assured by a Navy admiral that the problem has been rectified.

After telling reporters that, Hunter added, “The problem is that SEALs should not have had to go to their congressman to get a process issue fixed.”

Precisely. Clearly, the SEALs would not have contacted Hunter if their superiors had dealt with the problem. For one reason or another, the SEALs – perhaps the nation’s most effective warriors – were not taken seriously by the Navy bureaucracy.

Hunter may be satisfied the Navy has taken care of this mistake. But lawmakers should be looking into why it occurred in the first place – and why the military did not correct it without, in effect, being told to do so.

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