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How to Become a Navy Seal or SBS – A Complete Guide

Do you want to learn what it takes to become a Navy SEAL or SBS? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a Navy SEAL or British SBS.

Navy Seals are trained to be able to operate in all environments, sea, and air and land, even though they are part of the naval force. The Navy Seals in the United States are the Navy’s principal special operations force. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent of the Navy Seals is the Special Boat Service (SBS), a Special Forces unit of the UK’s Navy. The SBS come from the Royal Marine Commandos.

In Australia, the closest equivalent to the U.S Navy Seals is the Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment. In Canada, the closest equivalent to the U.S Navy Seals is the Joint Task Force (JTF) 2

What is a Navy Seal?

Simply put, a Navy Seal is defined as a member of the Special Forces unit who is trained for unconventional warfare and combat situations on air, land and sea.

Navy Sea, Air, and Land Forces, also referred to as Navy SEALS are operatives that have been intensely trained in the Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations division of the U.S Navy. These operatives perform secret missions that are carried out behind enemy lines, conduct counter terrorism operations, participate in direct warfare, and capture or eliminate enemy targets.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Navy Seal or SBS

There are several things that are required of a navy seal, and they have been spelt out below. The duties and responsibilities of the Special Forces unit of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada which enables them carry out their set tasks are:

  • Accomplishing covert Special Warfare/Special Operations missions by conducting insertions and extractions.
  • Capturing of terrorists and high-value enemies around the world.
  • Collating and collecting intelligence and information through special Reconnaissance missions
  • Carrying out small unit missions against military targets by using direct action.
  • Performing reconnaissance underwater, and also demolish any natural and man-made obstacles before an amphibious landing.
  • Carry out special operations capabilities to support the defense force, by providing unique capabilities that will support sensitive strategic operations.

Tools and Equipment Used by a Navy Seal or SBS

A hard case which carries:

  • Mini-Multi Tool which comprises pliers, stainless steel, wire cutter, awl and file.
  • 14mm minimum 8 hours luminous button compass
  • LED Squeeze light
  • Fire starting kite
  • Water storage device
  • Water purification tablets
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • Signal Mirror
  • Thermal blanket
  • Kevlar line
  • Safety pins
  • Can opener
  • Stainless steel wire
  • Duct tape
  • Magnifying lens
  • Waterproof note paper
  • Ink pen
  • Broad Spectrum antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton pad

A soft case which contains

  • Hacksaw blade
  • Razor blade
  • Moleskin Adhesive Patch
  • Kevlar Thread
  • Downrigger cable
  • Navigation magnet
  • Ferro Cerium Rod
  • Cotton Ball
  • Bobby pins.
  • Handcuff shim
  • Universal Handcuff key
  • Guns like the carbine, HK USP tactical and the Glock.

How to Become a Navy Seal or SBS – A Complete Guide

Facts, Figures and Labor Market Situation for Naval Special Forces

  • In the United States

There were 2,200 Navy Seal members as at 2006, currently there are 2,500 active members. There are 9 active duty SEAL team. There are also 2 Reserve SEAL Teams of previously active duty members. There are no women Navy SEAL. The Navy SEAL was founded in 1962.

  • The attrition rate for intending Navy Seals in the Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS) is always 70-80%.
  • The Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is usually for 6 months, and includes a 5 1/2 day hell week; a week intended to push the human body to the absolute limit.
  • The BUD/S physical training consists of running of 1,300 miles in sand with boots, and swimming in 150 miles of open water.
  • The hell week’s duration of 132 hours consists of running 200 miles on sand in boots, and sleeping only 4 hours for the week.
  • Only U.S citizens can join the Navy SEAL
  • Only those serving in the Navy or have joined the Navy can become SEAL members.
  • Women are not eligible to apply even though the law was looking to change on that,
  • Vision requirements for Navy SEAL members cannot be waivered.
  • Waivers are granted on age grounds for males who are highly qualified.
  • 1,000 sailors are given the opportunity to attend SEAL training.

In the United Kingdom

A minimum of 200 and a maximum of 250 men make up the SBS at any time. The SBS was founded in 1940. The size is that of one regiment, and it is a branch of the naval service.

  • The SBS is the sister unit to Special Air Service (SAS) with almost same operational capabilities, the main exception being the training of the SBS in maritime and amphibious environments.
  • The SBS during combat in an enemy controlled environment operate in small parties.
  • The SBS has 4 squadrons C, Z, M and X that is configured for general operations and one Reserve unit – the SBS (R), where the candidates are only those with previously military experience.
  • The number of operators which are 200 or 250, are always divided into the 4 squadrons.
  • Each squadron rotates between Counter Terrorism Duties and Conventional Operations and tasking.
  • The SBS also operates on land.
  • The SBS consists of only males.

In Australia

The figure for the members of the SASR is between 500 and 700. The Regiment was formed in 1957. The size is that of 1 regiment and is a branch of the Australian army.

  • Close links with the US Navy SEAL and the UK SBS are maintained by the SASR.
  • More men have been lost in training since its formation, than in combat due to the training regime.
  • Since its inception in 1964, SASR has lost 48 members in operations or training incidents, with more than 200 injured.
  • All SASR members are parachute qualified. Each patrol member has at least one specialization, which includes signaler, medic, linguist, or explosive expert.
  • SASR Operators are among the highest paid soldiers in the Australian Defense Force.
  • SASR members are not only males, there are females too.

In Canada

JTF 2 was established in 1993, and even though the numbers of the members are classified, it is being pegged at 250. The JTF 2 is a part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

  • The unit was activated with 100 members in 1993, which were drawn from the Canadian Airborne Regiment and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
  • As at 2001, JTF 2 has 297 members with intentions to increase to 600 members within 4 years.
  • JTF 2 members have also acted as bodyguards to Canadians traveling abroad.
  • The JTF 2 is believed to operate with the SBS.
  • The term Joint Task Force 2 indicates that the force is made up of 2 or more elements of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Is the Demand for Navy Seal Profession Declining?

The demand for Special Forces Unit will always grow and can never be over saturated. Except in the United Kingdom’s SBS, where there must always be 250 active members, the Special Forces in the other 3 countries (United States, Australia, and Canada) are always looking to increase its members due to more terrorists’ threats worldwide. Therefore, for these 3 countries, the supply might be under saturated as compared to the demand.

Effect Of The internet Technology on the Navy Seal Profession?

The Positives

  • Those intending to join have had tips from online resources, from training guides to physical requirements.

The Negatives

  • The Special Force unit has been mystified due to much information on the internet.
  • There is the fear of members’ exposure over the internet, therefore comprising them.

Career/ Professions That Exist Within the Navy Seal Profession

There are no close or equivalent professions that exist within the niche, but similar occupations are:

  • SWAT Teams, Counter Terrorism Units: SWAT teams are usually a group of elite police members, who are marksmen and specialize in high-risk situations like hostage rescue.
  • Federal Law Enforcement: This is an organizational unit of the federal government whose principal function is in preventing, detecting, and investigating crime, and also apprehending alleged offenders. These units consist of the Secret Service, Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
  • Intelligence Community: This is a federation of agencies that work together and separately to carry out intelligence activities, which are considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations, and the national security of a nation.
  • Private Military or Security Firm: This is a private business corporation that provides armed and unarmed security services, as well as expertise to public and private clients.
  • Trainer or Instructor: This is one who trains the police department, military or intelligence services in skills that have been authorized for teaching.

Professional Bodies and Associations That Exist within the Navy Seal Profession?

The relevant professional associations and bodies for Special Forces and the Navy seals are:

United States

  • UDT-SEAL: This is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization. It helps to foster good will and preservation of the SEALs history, as well as advocates for the benefits of members.
  • Navy Seal Foundation: This is a foundation that intends to preserve the SEALs and their families, as well as creating a high standard and accountability.

United Kingdom

There are no professional associations for the SBS nor its sister unit the SAS.

Australia

  • SAS Regimental Association: This is an official organization and the only one that represents the members of the Special Air Service Regiment and its affiliated units.
  • Australian SAS Association: This is an association that aims at perpetuating close comradeship between present and past members, as well as providing support to the Regiment.

Canada

There are no professional associations for the JTF 2

Benefits for Becoming a Navy Seal or SBS?

  • Good Pay and Allowances: Navy Seals make good pay that might vary depending on rank and pay. As at 2013, a navy seal with an E-7 grade for instance could earn between $51,000 and $58,000 per annum. Also, navy seals receive dive pay, Special Delivery Vehicle (SDV) pay, HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) Parachute Duty pay, and special duty assignment pay.
  • Tax Advantage: This is a benefit that allows no taxation on pay allowances, food or housing allowances. Also those working in combat zones get tax-free pay.
  • GI Allowance Benefits: This is an allowance benefit that assists Navy members with their college education through 3 different financial programs such as; the Navy College Fund, the Montgomery GI Bill (which allows Navy members earn up to $50,000 for tuition after they had finished tours of duty) and the Tuition Assistance Program (pays for college costs for Navy members up to 75%).
  • Job Advantage: Navy members who want to leave service have a competitive edge with their resume over civilians especially in education and engineering fields, as well as government service and security outfits or corporations.
  • Miscellaneous Benefits: Navy members whilst relocating can receive money to offset moving costs, lodging assistance for those that encounter a delay into moving to new accommodations, or access to low interest rates for home loans. Other miscellaneous benefits include dental and medical care at no cost, 30 days’ vacation per year, retirement after 20 years, qualification and re-enlistment bonuses, and access to military facilities.
  • Brotherhood: Due to the same mental and physical training as well as live combat battles together, Navy Seals use this to forge a tight bond of brotherhood that result into lasting friendships and relationships.

Factors Discouraging People from Becoming Navy Seals?

  1. Physical Strain or Stress: The introductory course for Navy Seals is usually a BUD/S which is a physically stressful course, where candidates have to swim and run for hundreds of miles, and also endure sleep and food deprivation in order to graduate. During the course of this activity, Seal members might incur some injuries.
  2. Frequency in deployments: Seal members with families especially find this difficult as there are often frequent deployments leading to separation. The deployment is due to their skills, which means they can serve anywhere in the world.
  3. Low Income: Compared to the risks they take, the income for seal members is quite low even in addition to the allowances for dive pay and job pay.
  4. High probability of death: Navy seal members usually undertake very high risks assignment that could result in the loss of their lives.
  5. High Risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Due to several trauma – like the loss of a child, woman, or important hostage – that might occur during combats, some seal members are usually scarred by these experiences for life.
  6. Injuries and Wounds: From the introductory course to actual combat, seal members are exposed to situations that might cause minor or severe injuries.
  7. Inadequate Family Time: Seal members have to be ready to be on the move to anywhere, and at any time. Those with families miss out on quality family time, and also miss seeing their children grow. They also miss out on having time for their spouses and friends.
  8. Physical requirements: Good eyesight is amongst the physical requirements for a navy seal member; this and other requirements could discourage those wanting to become navy seal members.

How Much Do Navy Seals or SBS Earn?

A worker is always worthy of the wage. This is one of the reasons why people work. The earning pay for Navy Seal members and other Special Forces members in other states depends on their rank.

  • In the United States

The lowest ranked officer is an Ensign at pay grade O-1, and the basic pay for an Ensign who has completed Navy SEAL training is $2,784 per month or $33,408 per annum. An admiral is the highest ranked officer at pay grade O-10, and the basic pay for an admiral is $15,401 per month or $184,812 per year.

Enlisted SEALs such as a Master Chief Special Warfare Operator with a pay grade of E-9 gets a basic pay of $4,635 per month or $55,620 per year.

SEAL members are also entitled special payments and bonuses, which are added to their basic pay. A Master Chief Special Warfare Operator gets special pay and bonuses amounting to $6,981.72 per month, which when added to his basic pay increases to over $11,000 per month.

  • In the United Kingdom

There is no information as regards the basic salaries or allowance compensation of The SBS members. SBS members are mostly drawn from the Royal Marines. The Royal Marines earn between £12,070 and £35,420. The SBS members earn higher than this, coupled with various allowances and bonuses for particular skills.

  • Australia

An SAS soldier earns $69,296 basic pay per year, and gets $32,000 extra for being on active duty.

  • Canada

There is no information as regards the basic salaries of the JTF2. However, compensations such as allowances are based on qualifying service, and ranges from $7,488 to $8,964 for general support personnel. Close support personnel get compensation allowances ranging from $13,680 to $16,356 and assaulters from $21,756 to $25,260.

How Long Does It take to Become a Navy Seal?

  • In the United States, it takes 2 years and 8 months of regular and advanced training before one can become a Navy SEALs.
  • In the United Kingdom, it takes 2 years of regular service before one can be accepted into the SBS.
  • In Australia, each of the squadron works on a 3 year training and operational cycle.
  • In Canada, it takes between 3 – 5 years before one can become a JTF2 member.

Educational Requirements for Becoming a Navy Seal?

Education is not really a requirement for becoming either a Navy SEAL or a Special Force unit. The requirements needed are to join a regular unit before one can become a member of Special Force.

  • United States

There are 3 paths to becoming a Navy SEAL.

  • Path 1: One can enlist from being a civilian through the Navy Recruiter. The candidate might be required to take an ASVAB mental aptitude test.
  • Path 2: One can enlist for the Navy; take an ASVAB mental aptitude test and a background screening, before waiting to receive a SEAL contract. Serving sailors can apply for a transfer to go for BUD/S. Also candidates with 2 or 4 year degrees are favored to candidates without.
  • Path 3: One can enlist from another military service branch by applying for the SO (SEAL) Rating.

United Kingdom

There are 2 selections, one in winter and the other in summer. A candidate has to complete a 2 weeks Special Forces Briefing Course.

  • Phase 1: This has an Aptitude Phase (Hill Phase) which runs for 4 weeks, with volunteers having to complete the Basic Combat Fitness Test, Exercise HIGH WALK, and the Test Week.
  • Phase 2: This is the continuation training for those that pass the first phase and it usually runs for 9 weeks.
  • Phase 3: This is the employment training that consists of surveillance and reconnaissance training and lasts for 14 weeks.
  • Phase 4: Successful candidates must complete the SBS Swimmer Canoeist Course for several months.
  • The final phase is that of a 1 year probation.

In Australia

  • Before you can become a SASR, they would have to be serving Australian Defense Force personnel.
  • After the initial screening, candidates have to complete a Special Forces Barrier Test, a test for physical fitness; 80 to 85% of candidates pass this stage.
  • Successful candidates then undergo a 21-day SASR selection course from the Special Forces Training Centre, where only 25 to 30% pass.
  • Successful candidates then proceed to an 18 months reinforcement cycle, where they learn a complete range of courses, before becoming a sabre squadron.

Canada

One can join after serving 3 years out of a 5 years contract or through the 4 phases. There are 4 phases before one can become a JTF2.

  • Phase 1: This is for members who apply from the unit level through their chain of command.
  • Phase 2: Applicants in this phase must complete the physical fitness test of JTF2. The minimum point for a physical fitness test is 90. Members that successfully complete the fitness process must undergo a screening process that includes a cognitive ability test, and then a selection interview.
  • Phase 3: This is a 7 day physical and mental high stress tactical assessment process, which is designed to assess the likelihood of a candidate’s success, and if they possess the personal attributes to become a JTF2.
  • Phase 4: This is a special operations assaulter course that lasts for 7 month.

Certification Required to Become a Navy Seal, SBS or related Special Forces

The only certifications available are majorly in fitness.

  • In the United States, you can enroll in a Sealfit Kokoro Camp
  • There is no certification available in UK
  • There are no certifications available in Australia.
  • In Canada, you can enroll in the diving institute for 7 months

The Cost Pertaining to the Certifications are:

  • In the U.S, the Kokoro camp costs $1,955.
  • In Canada, the diving institute costs approximately $29,000

Can You Become a Navy Seal by Taking Courses online?

No, you cannot become a Navy Seal or a member of Special Forces by taking an online course. While one could watch trainings and tips online, becoming a Navy Seal or Special Forces member requires one to be physically present so as to undergo physical and rigorous training that cannot be learnt online.

Career Opportunities That Exist in the Navy Seal Profession

As a Navy Seal or Special Forces unit, the other career or industries they can work in include:

  • Author: Most ex special force men write about their experiences either through fiction or non-fiction, while they had been in the unit. The book is often seen as a guide by those intending to join, or those interested in learning about the tactics used by the Special Forces.
  • Movie Technical Consultant: Movies that are based on war or adventure usually employ the services of ex- special force men to gain an insight into how to portray the movie genuinely.
  • Military Analyst: The military is often sometimes engaged in combat and most times an analyst gives an insight into actions taken, or probable actions that are to be taken. This enables people to be able to correctly judge the military actions.
  • Cross fit Trainer: Due to the physical regimen undertaken during the course of being a Special Force, some who have left the service become fitness trainers, and sometimes give out extreme trainings to those that might require it. A cross fit trainer is one who instructs on core strength and conditioning program.
  • Governor or Politician: A governor is one who administers the affairs of a state. Most ex-service men become governors or politicians out of the desire to advocate for citizens or fight for them on a political platform.
  • Military Contractor: A military contractor is an individual or a business organization that provides the military or intelligence department of the government products or services.
  • Juvenile Delinquent Boot Camp Drill Instructor: A drill instructor is a non-commissioned officer that works in a juvenile correction program and carries out drills for offenders.

Skills and Traits Needed by a Navy Seal to Become Successful?

The skills of the Navy Seal or other Special Forces are regarded as not only regular skills but survival skills as well. The skills are:

  1. Diving Skills: This requires one to be an expert diver as water can be used to move clandestinely or stage an attack, either by using a submarine or a battleship.
  2. Competitive Skills: Every member at every point till graduation strives against other members of his unit.
  3. Confidence: A member must be confident about his ability to finish a mission, giving room for no doubt about his ability to do so.
  4. Quick Decision making: A member must be able to make quick decisions at any level and with little information.
  5. Evasion skills: A member must do whatsoever it takes to evade capture – either immediately or at all, or death.
  6. Room entry and clearing skills: This is a skill that requires a high amount of concentration, as members are to hit the right enemy targets while sparing hostages.
  7. Weapons Handling: Members are skilled at handling whatever weapons or equipment proficiently.
  8. High Altitude, Low Opening (HALO) Skills: This is a skill that is needed to jump from very high altitudes at night, evading the enemy, and opening up of parachutes at low altitudes.
  9. Concealment Skills: This is camouflaging in such a way as to avoid detection, or disappearing from view.
  10. Listening Skills: This is a skill needed especially during combat to hear low instructions or the stealthy approach of the enemy.

Tips and Advice That Will Help Advance your Career as a Navy Seal

  • Attention to Detail: Most tasks are in the detailing, paying attention to details ensures that there is a high chance of successfully carrying out a designated task.
  • Set realistic goals: Setting a series of small realistic goals will help in achieving the huge ones.
  • Work hard: Working hard is a continuous effort as it helps in becoming successful and achieving set aggressive goals.
  • Not making excuses: This involves not making excuses for failures, and acknowledging strengths and weaknesses and getting feedback from trusted advisers.
  • Not underestimating one’s self: Underestimating one’s self might lead to the inability to enduring or finishing a designated task.
  • Willingness to fail and try again: One must be willing to try out at a task and not allow the fear of failing overcome the desire to try.
  • Not backing down: Due to the fact that the services of the Navy Seals or Special Forces are usually done for the nation, the option of backing down should not be entertained.
  • Making Sacrifices: Realizing that certain things or life’s comfort have to be sacrificed for the greater good and for success.
  • Taking responsibility: Mistakes are likely to be made whilst carrying out a designated task, learning from the mistakes and turning the consequences into something positive is a good way at taking responsibility.
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