July 3, 2015:
A new book on U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 collects a lot of known information about the organization, plus some recently declassified data and lots of interviews to produce a clearer picture of the size of Team 6 and the scope of its activities since 2001.
SEAL Team 6 was created in the 1980s as an elite of the elite commando unit. The United States currently has about 3,500 SEALs, divided among eight SEAL Teams (each with about 120 SEALs and about 200 support personnel), plus DEVGRU (the official designation for SEAL Team 6). Most SEAL Teams are trained for operations worldwide, while Team 3 and 10 specialize in Middle Eastern operations. For a long time the manpower strength and structure of DEVGRU/SEAL Team 6 was highly classified. A decade ago estimates placed the personnel strength at 200 SEAL commandos and 300 support personnel. Recently released documents put strength as 300 SEALs and 1,500 support personnel. It was already known that Team 6 has been very active since 2001 but the new revelations show that Team 6 was probably the most active American commando unit. This was always suspected but because nearly all SEAL operations are classified it was difficult to know exactly how active. As with the army Special Forces, SEALs, especially Team 6 were trained and often used for CIA espionage or surveillance missions. It was also confirmed that there is one special espionage unit of about a hundred SEALs, some of them female.