We have all heard of the Navy Seals, the SAS, Mossad etc, all of which would strike fear into any terrorist organisation contemplating some sort of an attack. Generally we would have thought that the best trained Special OP’s would have been the navy seals, but actually, the best trained special OPs are actually the Special Activities Division of the CIA.
CIA Special Activities Division
The special activities division are the paramilitary wing of the CIA. They are responsible for carrying out CIA directives in hostile environments, or undertaking dangerous missions that require unique military skills.
One does not apply for this duty, they are picked out of the highest levels of military training, and then more!
The other nations security services have these outfits in some guise or another, so the Special Activities Division is probably on par, but better equipped than many other groups around the world. France and Britain in particular are most likely to have very well trained and experienced operators.
These paramilitary operators are individuals who excelled in their various roles as special forces operators. They are the most competent and intelligent from all the special forces. So to extend the cliche, the are the best, of the best of the best.
On top of this they are extremely intelligent and well educated and are expected to have the skill set of regular intelligence officers, which in itself is a career open to only the most talented individuals, selected from the highest tier of those applying to the US civil service.
Best of the Best
In fact most are recruited directly. Special Forces takes only the very best fighters, and intelligence takes only the most clever and driven civilians. Special Activities paramilitaries are a combination of two best of the bests. They exist in a whole other level.
Because the nature of their job, and their missions is covert they don’t get media attention. Books aren’t written, and the personality traits that demand attention and the need to have ones story told aren’t the type the SAD looks for, their story goes untold. But they are the highest level of operation.
On top of being top notch military operators they are expected to be able to have the skills of civilian intelligence operators to gather, collate, distribute, and analyse intelligence. They are expected to excel physically and mentally to a degree higher than their former colleagues.