About the DEVGRU – SEAL Team Six

The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), or DEVGRU, is one of the United States’ four secretive tier-one counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. It is often referred to as SEAL Team Six. DEVGRU is administratively supported by Naval Special Warfare Command and operationally commanded by the Joint Special Operations Command. Most information concerning DEVGRU is classified and details of its activities are not usually commented on by either the White House or the Department of Defense. DEVGRU and its Army counterpart, 1st SFOD – Delta, are the United States military’s primary counter-terrorism units. Although DEVGRU was created as a maritime counter-terrorism unit, it has become a multi-functional special operations unit with multiple roles that include high-risk personnel/hostage extractions. The Central Intelligence Agency’s highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) often works with – and recruits – operators from DEVGRU.

Entry Requirements

Information about the unit is mostly highly classified, so little information is available about recruitment and selection.

It can be inferred from the quality of their pool of applicants that those considered are in peak physical condition, maintain an excellent reputation as operators within the Naval Special Warfare community, and have done multiple operational deployments with a SEAL Team. Candidates are put through a variety of advanced training courses led by civilian or military instructors. These can include free-climbing, advanced unarmed combat techniques, defensive and offensive driving, advanced diving, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training. All candidates must perform at the top level during selection, and the unit instructors evaluate the candidate during the training process. Selected candidates are assigned to one of the Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadrons; the others are returned to their previous units. Unlike the other regular SEAL Teams, SEAL Team Six operators were able to go to almost any of the best schools anywhere and train in whatever they wanted depending on the unit’s requirements.


Stage One – BUD/S Prep

The training curriculum begins at Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School. The goal: Improve the candidates’ physical readiness for the rigorous activity they will face at BUD/S. BUD/S Orientation is a course that introduces candidates to Coronado, the Naval Special Warfare Center and the BUD/S lifestyle. During Orientation, Navy SEAL instructors introduce candidates to BUD/S physical training, the obstacle course and other unique training aspects. This part of training is designed to prepare candidates for Day One of First Phase. The Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School utilizes your mental thinking ability by introducing you to a variety of written exams.

Stage Two: First Phase – Basic Conditioning

First Phase, the basic conditioning phase, is one day long and develops the class in physical training, water competency and mental tenacity while continuing to build teamwork. The class is expected to do more intense training exercises than before, and each man’s performance is measured by a timed obstacle course, standard shooting course and re-evaluation of basic tactical techniques. Because of its particularly challenging requirements, many candidates begin questioning their decision to come to BUD/S during First Phase, with a significant number deciding to Drop on Request (DOR).  Most importantly, candidates who have made a full commitment to their goal of becoming a SEAL and those who decide ahead of time that quitting is not an option, regardless of how challenging the training becomes, dramatically increase their chances.

Stage Three: Second Phase – Combat Diving

Second Phase, the combat diving phase, lasts two days. This phase introduces underwater skills that are unique to Navy SEALs. During this phase, candidates become basic combat swimmers and learn open and closed-circuit diving. Successful Second Phase candidates demonstrate a high level of comfort in the water and the ability to perform in stressful and often uncomfortable environments. candidates who are not completely comfortable in the water often struggle to succeed. Basic combat tests will also be issued such as marksmanship while under the water. Vehicle exercises will also be conducted in this stage that test the skills needed to drive submersibles and assault boats.

Stage Four: Third Phase – Land Warfare Training

This phase is four days long and involves basic weapons, demolitions, land navigation, patrolling, rappelling, marksmanship and small-unit tactics. Recruits will be tested through various exercises and training missions to improve tactical abilities in the field to meet the highest standards. Men who make it to Third Phase have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to becoming SEALs. They graduate BUD/S as Special Warfare Operators but have a long way to go before pinning on a Trident and becoming a SEAL.

Stage Five: SEAL Qualification Test (SQT)

SEAL Qualification Training is designed to provide candidates with the core tactical knowledge they will need to join a SEAL platoon. Before graduation candidates attend survival, evasion, resistance and escape training. It is the intermediate skills course that prepares candidates for the advanced training they will receive once they arrive at a SEAL team. This portion of the course will last five days.

SQT includes:

  • Weapons training

  • Small unit tactics

  • Land navigation

  • Demolitions

  • Cold weather training

  • Medical skills

  • Maritime operations

Before graduating, candidates also attend SERE training:

  • Survival

  • Evasion

  • Resistance

  • Escape

SQT training will also qualify candidates in:

  • Static-line parachute operations

  • Freefall parachute operations (High Altitude-Low Opening “HALO”)

  • Freefall parachute operations (High Altitude-High Opening  ”HAHO”)

Upon completing these requirements, trainees receive their SEAL Trident, designating them as Navy SEALs. They are subsequently assigned to a SEAL team to begin preparing for their first deployment.