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Navy to randomly test special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs
By Oliver Young // Oct 02, 2023

Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, has announced that the Navy will randomly test its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning next month.

Davids said the move is necessary to protect the health and military readiness of their troops.

The Army Special Operations Command is set to follow suit, but no start date has been set. The Air Force and the Marine Corps special operations commands have not requested a similar policy change. (Related: Former Space Force officer: WOKE AGENDA weakening, dividing US military.)

The Navy SEALs and Army's Delta Force, Green Berets and Ranger Regiment are often called on to do the military's most sensitive and dangerous missions. Some use performance-enhancing drugs to cope with the physical and mental challenges of their trainings and missions.

The use of these drugs has been a persistent problem across the military, but leaders previously refused to do more tests because they are highly specialized, costly and require contracting with the few labs that do such work. A special permission from the Pentagon is required to do routine, random testing.

Four units of the Navy will be randomly selected each month, and 15 percent of each will be tested. That will amount to as many as 200 sailors monthly, and those testing positive face discipline or removal.

This new policy is mainly driven by the death of Navy SEAL candidate Kyle Mullen early last year.

Mullen, 24, collapsed and died of acute pneumonia just hours after completing the SEALs' grueling Hell Week test. A report concluded that Mullen died "in the line of duty, not due to his own misconduct."

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However, a report by the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) stated that he was not screened for some steroids because the needed blood and urine samples were not available, and that multiple vials of drugs and syringes were later found in his car.

A wider probe by the NETC flagged the use of performance-enhancing drugs as a significant problem among those seeking to become elite commandos and recommended far more robust testing.

Investigations in 2011, 2013 and 2018 into suspected steroid use by SEAL candidates led to discipline and requests for enhanced testing. Random testing for steroids wasn’t authorized by the Department of Defense at the time.

New testing policy only affects active-duty military personnel and reservists

The new testing policy only affects the roughly 9,000 active-duty military personnel and reservists on active-duty orders in the command. Civilians are not included.

According to Davids, the random testing initiative is a commitment to the long-term health of every member of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community. The testing is expected to cost about $4.5 million per year for the next two years.

Davids said any number above zero is unacceptable, whether during training or downrange when sailors are deployed. He has urged sailors to talk to their teammates and commanders about the drugs and their risks.

"My intent is to ensure every NSW teammate operates at their innate best while preserving the distinguished standards of excellence that define NSW," he said in his message to the force.

Lt. Col. Mike Burns, spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, said it also has been approved for random testing and is working on developing a program.

The Naval Special Warfare Center conducted more than 2,500 screening tests between February 2022 and March 2023. It detected 74 SEAL or Special Warfare Combat crewmen with elevated testosterone levels. Three candidates ultimately tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The testosterone tests are more common but less precise, and additional screening is needed to identify steroid use.

The new random testing will require that sailors provide two urine samples. One will be sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, and one will go to the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory Great Lakes to check for standard drugs.

The sailor will be notified if the test result is positive. If there is no legal reason for the drugs, the sailor will be subject to discipline and removal from the force.

Watch a Navy SEAL as he describes post-traumatic stress.

This video is from the GalacticStorm channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

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