WASHINGTON — The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted.
Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it necessary to protect their health and military readiness. The Navy will be the first to begin random testing, but Army Special Operations Command said it will soon follow suit, although no start date has been set.
The Army and Navy have the largest and most well known special operations forces, including the Navy SEALs and Army’s Delta Force, Green Berets and Ranger Regiment. They are often called on to do the military’s most sensitive and dangerous missions. The physical and mental challenges of getting through their selection and training programs and the pressures of the risky missions can lead to some to use performance-enhancing drugs, although officials say the numbers are small.