The Navy has started an independent investigation of the brutal selection course for its elite SEALs after a sailor’s death this year revealed a tangle of physical abuse, poor medical oversight and use of performance-enhancing drugs in the course.
The order for the new investigation came from the highest levels of the Navy — the outgoing vice chief of naval operations, Adm. William K. Lescher. It was given to a rear admiral from outside the SEALs, signaling that the Navy had given it high priority and wanted it to be independent.
Admiral Lescher issued the order in a letter obtained by The New York Times. The letter is dated the day after The New York Times reported that the sailor’s death had exposed a number of problems at the harrowing selection course, known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs, or BUD/S for short.