Working in the military in Special Forces used to be something that you had to be selected for, and advanced from within the military itself. That process is still one that is used, but now it is possible to actually be recruited from the civilian world directly into Special Forces or Special Operations training. This is a new program began by the Department of Defense to help support the increased operational tempo with the Iraq conflict and the War in Afghanistan. If you wanted to join Special Forces as a Green Beret in the past you had to be selected, now you can enlist in the Army with the declared goal of being a Green Beret.
Major General Dennis Cavin has started the new recruitment program to enlisted qualified candidates directly into the Special Forces Training program; it is still in its initial stages and is a program that has to prove itself. Major General Cavin is the leader and Commander of Recruitment for the United States Army. This new program is seen as a new recruitment tool and an exciting method of building the numbers of recruits because there is a lot of excitement for potential recruits. The first wave of candidates will be just 400 recruits, and the failure or success of this program will contend with what happens in the future. The education required to graduate as a full-fledged member of the Army Special Forces takes about a year, and each step of the process will require the personnel to achieve and pass intensive and comprehensive tests at each level of the process.
The Green Berets have long been a specialized and unique force in the Army, they have a large degree of additional training that normal Army personnel do not have. To qualify for this new program recruits will have to carry packs that weight 50 pounds across a cross county course, climb into the air 30 feet on a rope and swim a distance in a full uniform. If they pass this group of tests, they will proceed to boot camp.
After graduation from boot camp they will start the regular 71-week course work to become an Army Green Beret. It is challenging, and many people will not make it through, but those that do will serve to either make this a permanent program for the Army, or revert to the old method of choosing Army Green Berets.