Philippine Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM)
NAVSOCOM Insignia
ActiveNovember 5, 1956 - Present
CountryPhilippines
BranchPhilippine Navy
TypeSpecial Operations Forces
RoleSpecial Operations
Direct Action
Counterterrorism
Special Reconnaissance
Unconventional Warfare
Hostage Rescue
Foreign Internal Defense
Counter-Proliferation
Counter Narcotics Operations
High Value Target Raids
Airborne Operations
Part ofAFP Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
Garrison/HQNaval Base Heracleo Alano (Naval Base Cavite)
Nickname(s)SWG, SWAG
Mascot(s)Shark
AnniversariesNovember 5
Engagements

Operation Enduring Freedom

  • Philippines
  • Anti-guerrilla operations against Abu Sayyaf
  • Anti-guerrilla operations against ISIL

War on ISIL

Decorations
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge
Presidential Streamer Award
Commanders
Current
commander
COMMO DWIGHT STEVEN M DULNOAN PN
Notable
commanders
COMMO AP TUMANDA JR PN-NAVSOCOM
CAPT DSM DULNOAN PN-NAVSOG
CAPT AVP ABAYON PN-NAVSOG
CAPT AP TUMANDA JR PN(COMMO)-NAVSOG
CAPT RB FAJARDO JR PN(COMMO-RET)-NAVSOG
CAPT RJ GALANG PN(RADM-RET)-NAVSOG
CDR EC RAMOS PN-NAVSOG
CDR RP DAVID PN(RADM)-NAVSOG
CDR SZ FELIX PN(RADM-RET)-NSWG
LCDR RM SARMIENTO JR. PN-NSWG
CAPT PR ACACIO PN-NSWG
CDR RF NAPILIAN PN-SWG
CAPT JL ADVINCULA PN-SWG
LCDR PI FILIO PN-SWG
CDR RS REYES PN-SWG
LCDR BM GEMPIS PN-UOU
LCDR LG DEL MUNDO PN-UOU
LTJG RV NAVARRO PN-UOT-UOU
LTJG RN BALUYOT PN-UOT
Insignia
US-RP Navy SEAL Team Badges
Naval SCUBA Diver Badges
RP-US Airborne Badges
EOD Badges

The Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM)[1] is a separate command of the Philippine Navy trained in special operations, sabotage, psychological and unconventional warfare and is heavily influenced by the United States Navy SEALs. NAVSOCOM is headquartered at Naval Base Heracleo Alano Sangley Point, Cavite City.[2] It has eleven units located across the Philippines, from Naval Operating Base San Vicente at Santa Ana, Cagayan in the north to Naval Station Zamboanga in the south.

The unit's tasks were also expanded to cover all facets of unconventional warfare in a maritime and riverine environment. This includes but is not limited to demolition, hostage rescue, harassment, force protection and maritime tactical operations.

History

The predecessor unit to the NAVSOCOM, the Underwater Operations Team or UOT was activated on 5 November 1956 as a special operations unit of the Philippine Navy.[3] Patterned after the US Navy Underwater Demolition Teams and the Italian Decima Flottiglia MAS with modifications for Philippine conditions, from its founding the UOT was charged with conducting underwater operations in waterways, beach areas and harbors in support of Philippine naval operations. These operations included underwater explosive disposal, mine countermeasures, salvage and search and rescue. In 1959, the UOT was expanded and redesignated the Underwater Operations Unit (UOU), then as the Underwater Operations Group (UOG).[4]

The UOG was then renamed Special Warfare Group (SWG) in 1983,[5] then Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG), and later on as the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) on May 30, 2005.[6]

The unit took the Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM) name on July 7, 2020.[7] Among the changes included the name change from the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) to the Naval Diving Group (NDG).[1]

On August 20, 2022, the Philippine Navy made NAVSOCOM a regular combat support command with Commodore Alfonspin Tumanda Jr as the commanding officer, taking over from Captain Dwight Steven Dulnoan.[8]

On November 6, 2022, Vice President Sara Duterte paid a visit to the unit in Sangley Point, Cavite during the 66th anniversary celebration of the unit's founding.[7]

Role

The unit specializes in Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) operations ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations in support of overall naval operations. The unit gained prominence in a number of counter-terrorism operations, most notably against the Abu Sayyaf Group, and is known for its highly-demanding physical training program which is based on the United States Navy SEAL program.[9]

Training

The NAVSOCOM training program is known as Basic Naval Special Operations Course (BNSOC). The program is physically and mentally demanding and is regarded as one of the toughest military selection programs around the world. Candidates have to swim 3 kilometers and run 10 kilometers every day. Furthermore, they must swim 14.6 nautical miles from Roxas Boulevard in Manila to Sangley Point, Cavite City without any rest. They also undergo "Hell Week", considered as the most demanding week of BNSOC training.[5] Candidates have to carry out demanding physical team events with their boat crews without any sleep at all for an entire week. In one BNSOC class, only 21 students remained from 79 applicants who originally started the BNSOC training program. These are only the common and basic training phases of BNSOC, with further evolutions of the training (including interrogation resistance) remaining highly classified.

Under Filipino law, women can apply to become SEALs, but thus far none have. Prospective SEALS are put through BUD/S, which lasts for four months and can often stretch into six with breaks between phases.[10]

United States influence

There are similarities between the Philippines Naval Special Operations Command and the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. NAVSOCOM operators are trained and operate in a manner similar to the U.S. Navy SEALs. They also wear a trident similar to their U.S. Navy counterparts.

NAVSOCOM Operators (Aiming) with counterparts from Australian Special Forces during Balikatan 2019

The Filipino counterpart of the U.S. counterterrorist United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) is the Philippine Naval Special Reaction Group (SRG), which operates under the direction of Naval Intelligence.[11]

A Philippine Navy SEAL Team demonstrates their capabilities to the 74th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference in Manila, Nov. 8, 2007

They frequently train with their American counterparts and operate alongside the Philippine Marines and the Philippine Army's Special Operations Command (SOCOM).[12][13]

Units

NAVSOCOM is composed of the following units as of 2020:[14]

Type Groups

Naval Special Operations Units (NAVSOUs)

Each unit is made up of 3 to 6 special operations and support teams, each of which have 8 sailors (1 officer, 7 enlisted).

Equipment

NAVSOCOM is known to use the hk 416 M4 assault rifles, M60 GPMG and M110 sniper rifle and night vision pvs 14s some may use pvs 31s.[15]

10 fast boats were acquired by the unit in December 2020.[16]

References

  1. ^ a b https://navy.mil.ph/downloads/1644813486-ROUGH%20DECK%20LOG%20DECEMBER%202021%20ISSUE.pdf
  2. ^ https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1129558
  3. ^ "AFP chief vows more support for elite naval group". www.pna.gov.ph.
  4. ^ Military balance : the annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics 2017. Arundel House, Temple Place, London, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis for The International Institute for Strategic Studies. 2017. ISBN 978-1857439007. OCLC 960838207.
  5. ^ a b Conboy (1991), p. 46.
  6. ^ "NAVSOG | Careers". navsog.navy.mil.ph. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b https://mb.com.ph/2022/11/06/ph-navys-special-ops-command-gets-vp-saras-back/
  8. ^ https://mb.com.ph/2022/08/20/ph-navy-activates-command-of-elite-naval-troops/
  9. ^ Manalo, Eusaquito P. (2004). The Philippine Response to Terrorism: The Abu Sayyaf Group. Storming Media. ISBN 9781423521877.
  10. ^ "NAVSOG: The past, present, and future of the Philippine Navy SEALs". SOFREP. 18 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Special Warfare Group (SWAG)". ShadowSpear. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Smoking-cessation classes, counseling among options offered on U.S. bases in Pacific". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  13. ^ "CARAT 2004: Philippine and U.S. Forces Train to Fight Terrorism" - Asia-Pacific Defense Forum, Winter 2005
  14. ^ "NAVSOG - Organization". Archived from the original on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  15. ^ https://mb.com.ph/2022/11/20/bacarro-is-now-a-navy-seal/
  16. ^ https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1125433

Bibliography