For the first time, the US Army is starting to recruit for its Special Forces enlisted ranks from the new enlistment force. Previously a person wanting to join the Special Forces had to join the military in the Infantry, and then win approval to start the education and training to become an Army Green Beret/Special Forces member. But with the increased operational tempo, and the demands on the Army from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, Major General Dennis D. Cavin has opened up recruitment directly into the Special Forces. Major General Cavin is the Army’s Recruitment Commander who is the leader of the Recruitment arm of the Army.
This is seen as a new exciting recruitment tool, and one that is being tried out on a trial basis. The first wave will be just 400 soldiers nationwide, and the success or failure of the first group will decide the continued existence of the program. The education needed to become a Special Forces Member is that a recruit needs to have excellent basic skills. A new recruit will have to pass a number of physical and mental qualification tests, then if they qualify the Army will send them to boot camp, and directly to Special Forces education and training.
The education and training given to Special Forces Green Beret Army members is over and above the training normally given to Army personnel. The Green Beret’s have long been a specialized elite force, and they will continue to be so. After boot camp, the Army will take qualified candidates in this new program and give them a total of 80 weeks of training. Training and education will consist of basic boot camp for 9 weeks, then 71 weeks of specialized training in a variety of settings. Methods of fighting terrorism, special weapons and tactics, as well and unconventional warfare will be taught to the candidates that participate in this first round.
The Army has high hopes for this program. It is resting a lot of the future of this direct recruitment process on how well this first set of 400 Special Forces recruits do. To qualify recruits have to demonstrate a number of physical abilities including carrying 50 pound packs cross country, climbing a rope into the air 30 feet and swimming in uniform. After qualifying for the program and following boot camp, recruits will begin the 71-week special training program to become a green beret at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the home to the Special Forces Training School.