The Most Elite Special Forces In The US


Ever since the Osama bin Laden raid, America has gone bonkers for U.S. Navy SEALs and Military Special Operators in general.


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The Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, is scheduled for spending and personnel increases while the rest of the military looks to be making cuts. End strength goals indicate that America's entire crop of military operators will top off at 70,000.

In fact, the number of operators has doubled since 9/11, and their budget tripled — from $3.5 billion to $10.5 billion. The trend will likely continue as the U.S. is in the middle of a shift to "smaller footprint" type operations.

Putting 100 thousand troops and countless private support personnel on the ground in any given country — sometimes referred to as "nation building" — is a costly strategy. Putting a boot or two on Osama bin Laden's door arguably cost more in political currency — Pakistan wasn't too happy — than actual currency.


Though it was the SEALs who performed that raid in Abbottabad, it's worth noting there are quite a few more SpecOps units in the U.S. than just SEALs — Green Berets and Marine Snipers, etc. — so we here at Business Insider have made things easy by assembling a comprehensive list of all the SpecOps units we could find (with help from the extensive descriptions on