The United States Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as the Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy’s principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command and United States Special Operations Command. One of the SEALs’ primary functions is to conduct small-unit maritime military operations which originate from, and return to a river, ocean, swamp, delta, or coastline. SEALs can negotiate shallow water areas such as the Persian Gulf coastline, where large ships and submarines are limited due to depth. The Navy SEALs are trained to operate in all environments (Sea, Air, and Land) for which they are named. SEALs are also prepared to operate in a variety of climates, such as desert, arctic, and jungle.
As of 19 April 2016, all active SEALs are currently male and members of the U.S. Navy. The CIA’s highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) recruits operators from the SEAL Teams.Joint Navy SEALs and CIA operations go back to the MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War. This cooperation still exists today and is seen in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before getting accepted into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, a prospective candidate must pass a certain number of both mental and physical requirements. These tests include: Pre-enlistment medical screening, ASVAB, AFQT, C-SORT, and PST. Then, the candidate must get a SEAL contract by passing the SEAL Physical Screening Test: 500 yard swim in 12:30, 50 push-ups in 2 minutes, 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes, 10 consecutive pull-ups in 2 minutes, and a 1.5 mile run in 10:30. If the candidate receives a passing score, he may then be admitted into training to become a Navy SEAL. SEAL training is extremely rigorous. The attrition rate fluctuates, but averages at about 80 percent. However, it is not uncommon for BUD/S classes to see up to 90% of the students wash out. The average candidate spends over a year in a series of formal training courses before being awarded the Special Warfare Operator Naval Rating and the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 5326 Combatant Swimmer (SEAL) or, in the case of commissioned naval officers, the designation Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Officer.