The SOAS program does not guarantee a slot at BUD/S. Officers seeking lateral and inter-service transfer should make every effort to attend SOAS. The SOAS program provides an opportunity for SEAL officer candidates to be assessed against their peers in an equitable training environment, regardless of accession source.

By: Naval Special Warfare
Posted: May 5, 2022

Related content:

  1. YouTube Podcast: How to Prepare for SOAS
  2. YouTube Podcast: A Day at SOAS
  3. YouTube Podcast: Post SOAS


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Podcast playlist: Learn all about SOAS. Discover what it's like, how to prepare, and what happens after?

The SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) process provides an opportunity for SEAL officer candidates to be assessed against their peers in an equitable training environment, regardless of accession source. Prospective SEAL officers will be selected based on the following characteristics:

  1. Honor
  2. Integrity
  3. Leadership
  4. Physical fitness
  5. Communication skills
  6. Commitment
  7. Academic performance
  8. Conduct
  9. Peer evaluations

Civilians, midshipmen and cadets must attend SOAS to be considered by the SEAL officer selection panel unless specifically waived by Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Program Management (OPNAV N137).

Officers seeking lateral and inter-service transfer should make every effort to attend SOAS. If you're unable to attend due to operational commitments, you must conduct an interview with SOAS staff members.


Applications for SOAS 2024 are due by February 2024.


Exercise Time Rest Average Minimum
Swim 500 yards (breast or sidestroke) Unlimited 10:00 minutes 9:00 12:30
Push-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 85 50
Curl-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 85 50
Pull-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 20 10
Run 1.5 miles Unlimited Event over 9:00 10:30
Use the SEAL officer PST calculator to find out if you've got what it takes to join NSW.


  1. Run by the Naval Special Warfare Assessment Command (NSWAC)
  2. Held at the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWCEN)
  3. Held at specified times throughout the summer
  4. Two weeks long
  5. By invitation only
  6. Mandatory for most
  7. You may apply for selection to the SOAS program as many times as you want
  8. If you don't DOR at SOAS you get two attempts to pass it
  9. If you do DOR during SOAS, you can reapply as many times as you want - there's no guarantee you'll be selected
  10. If you are in the SOAS program, and didn't get selected on your first attempt, you can reapply for SOAS the following year
  11. Meals ready to eat (MREs) and lodging provided
  12. Opportunity to eat at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Galley but you must pay
  13. Training gear is provided


  1. United States Naval Academy (USNA)
  2. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)
  3. Inter-service academies
  4. Officer Candidate School (OCS)
  5. Direct Commission Officer
  6. Lateral transfers
  7. Inter-service transfers (Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps)


For a chance to be invited to SOAS you first have to submit a standard Navy OCS package through Navy Recruiting Command (NRC). Submit it on time! If there's any delay in a specific package requirement (i.e. medical), request an extension from NRC and the SEAL Officer Community Manager (OCM).

Next, your SEAL officer package will be reviewed by the SEAL OCM. If the OCM decides you have the "right stuff", they'll call and invite you to SOAS. Here's a PDF  OCS package flow chart.

Dates to submit your Navy SEAL officer package are on the SEAL OCM webpage. Being invited to SOAS doesn't mean you get an automatic SEAL officer slot at BUD/S.


  1. Professionalism: Humility, military bearing, discipline
  2. Tenacity: Maximum effort on every evolution and test
  3. Leadership: Don't try to blend in. Instructors will learn your name; ensure it's for the right reasons
  4. Teamwork: Regardless of accession source, work together. Actively seek to get to know candidates outside your immediate accession group (i.e., USNA or ROTC)
  5. Be Yourself: Don't try to be someone you're not. We want to know exactly who you are, what you stand for, and what you do when faced with adversity
  6. Improve your fitness before SOAS by using the PDF  SEAL SWCC Physical Training Guide (PTG)


Week 1: Assessments

Assessment week is the crucible of SOAS and tests candidates physically and mentally on their aptitude in the desired characteristics of a NSW officer. Candidates will be placed under stress and participate in multiple evolution's while under constant observation by SOAS cadre and psychologists. Although candidates may Drop on Request (DOR), the aim of Assessment Week is to gain a complete and accurate picture of each candidate for the officer selection panel. The bottom 20% of candidates will be reviewed for performance drop consideration.

Week 2: Interviews and Cruise Week

  1. The interview process of two separate components: a psychological interview and an assessment interview. The psychological interview will last approximately thirty minutes and will be conducted with an NSW psychologist. The assessment interview will last approximately one hour and will be conducted by two members of the SEAL community, one officer and one enlisted. These interviews are an integral part of building a complete picture of each candidate.
  2. The cruise portion exposes candidates to a SEAL Team, Special Boat Team, and support organization personnel and operations. Candidates receive professional development in the NSW ethos and receive real-world lessons through interaction with active duty personnel in the community. Additionally, candidates will conduct basic physical and psychological testing evolution's.


  1. A Navy SEAL selection panel convenes in the month of September
  2. All candidates that complete the two weeks of SOAS will have applications reviewed by the SEAL selection panel
  3. The most qualified applicants are notified of their selection
  4. Selected candidates receive orders to BUD/S


Training gear issued:

  1. Camouflage uniform
  2. Wetsuit
  3. SCUBA Fins
  4. Swimming trunks
  5. Undershirt
  6. Triathlon shorts
  7. Booties (for fins)
  8. Socks
  9. Boots will be issued if needed

What to bring:

  1. Pillow
  2. Toiletries
  3. Towel
  4. Shower shoes
  5. PST swim gear
  6. You're highly encouraged to buy a pair of Nike SFB Gen 2 boots in black (non-Goretex). Break them in prior to arrival.
    * The Department of Defense does not approve, endorse, or authorize this company, its products or services.
  7. Running shoes (1 pair or more)
  8. Blue or black running shorts (1 pair or more)
  9. White t-shirt (2-3)
  10. Several pens and pencil
  11. Spiral notebook
  12. Spending money
  13. Other gear and information will be listed in the SOAS Warning Order



  1. Be able to run for an extended period of time on hard surfaces as well as soft sand
  2. Be able to run for an extended period of time carrying weight on your back and head
  3. Be able to demonstrate strength, agility, and endurance which will all be assessed


  1. Do NOT practice breath-holding or risky water training without proper supervision, preferably a certified lifeguard
  2. Always train with a “swim buddy”
  3. Never train in the water alone
  4. Be able to tread water for an extended period of time
  5. Be able to tread water in full clothing (shoes/boots included)


LT (SEAL) Andrew W. Dow, USN, Ret.
SOAS Program Manager