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Increasing Underwater Visual Information Capability In Great Power Competition
by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Ace Rheaume
Naval Special Warfare Command
February 9, 2020

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Perlman recently earned the SCUBA diver qualification and the Navy SCUBA Diver pin during a graduation ceremony at the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City, Florida.

Perlman, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command, completed the SCUBA class as part of his endeavor to become an underwater photographer for the Navy.

November 5, 2019 - Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Perlman (left), assigned to Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) photographs U.S. Navy SEAL candidates participating in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. NSWC is the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command, and its mission is to provide maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Furey)
November 5, 2019 - Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Perlman (left), assigned to Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) photographs U.S. Navy SEAL candidates participating in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. NSWC is the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command, and its mission is to provide maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Furey)

"Underwater photographers provide a very unique force multiplier to our underwater operations," said Master Chief Navy Diver Mike Shields, NSW Group TWO Master Diver.

"They have the capability to dive and photograph underwater operations that would otherwise go undocumented. This visual feedback is valuable and gives us the opportunity to see the challenges and successes members of the special operations community meet while operating in an austere environment. We can take that information and make changes to improve everything from gear to tactical techniques and procedures."

Perlman attended the Navy’s 33-day SCUBA Diver course that provides non-diving personnel with the necessary training to safely and effectively perform as a dive-team member and SCUBA diver, including instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, basic diving physics and charting, basic diving medicine, SCUBA operations and underwater searching operations.

With the disestablishment of Navy Combat Camera commands in 2018, there is a targeted effort within the Navy to reconstitute and task organize high-end operational documentation capability across warfare domains to provide better support to operational commanders at all levels.

“The training and qualification that Perlman received and earned goes well beyond the NSW community,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO) Master Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mike Lewis. “Our ability to capture, edit, and rapidly transmit imagery in training and operational settings is absolutely critical to the Navy’s ability to engage effectively in the information environment in an era of great power competition. This is just one example of where we are investing in our cadre of mass communication specialists to support commanders’ requirements Fleet-wide.”

With additional training at NSW, Perlman will learn how to operate and manage underwater camera gear and equipment to include lighting systems, cameras and specialized housings. These skills will enable Perlman to capture underwater photos and video of various NSW mission sets for training and archive purposes.

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