Rear Admiral Hugh Howard, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command

Rear Admiral Hugh Howard

Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command

Hugh Wyman Howard III is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. He is a fourth-generation Naval Officer and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a BS in International Relations. He holds an MS in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, and an MBA from the London School of Economics. He has also received numerous other educational opportunities through the military.

Howard is a SEAL who assumed command of Naval Special Warfare Command in September 2020. He previously commanded Special Operations Command Central leading joint operations forces across the Central Region. He was among the first to deploy to Afghanistan following the attacks of September 11, 2001, deploying consistently since.

He has also served at the Pentagon as director of operations for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, deputy director for Global Operations, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and director for Counterterrorism Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

He is an Eagle Scout.

In the News…

U.S. Navy SEALs are moving through a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities to better address battle threats from global powers like China and Russia.

For the past two decades, many SEALs have been fighting in the desert of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. Now they are focused on going back to sea.

Rear Admiral Hugh Howard, top commander for the SEALs, said the new plan cuts the number of SEAL platoons by as much as 30 percent and increases their size to make the teams more lethal and able to counter sophisticated maritime and undersea adversaries. There will also be a new intensive screening process for the Navy’s elite warriors, to get higher-quality leaders.

“We are putting pressure on ourselves to evolve and understand our gaps in capability and what our true survivability is against these threats” posed by global competitors, he said.


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