The Special Activities Division, sometimes referred to as the 'Special Operations Group', was made up of Paramilitary Operations Officers. CIA Paramilitaries are typically ex-military personnel and veterans of military special operations units such as the Green Berets or Marine Force Recon. SAD also recruited from within the Agency. Regardless of background, SAD operators underwent extensive specialized training.
Part of the CIA's National Cladestine Service, the Special Activities Division was thought to include around 150 paramilitaries, pilots and other specialists. When deployed to the field, they typically operated in 6 man or fewer teams, with many a mission carried out by a solo SAD operative. CIA Special Operations Group Paramilitaries often worked on joint operations alongside Delta, DevGru, Special Forces etc.
SAD Ground Branch operatives were experts in field craft, surveillance, small arms, hostage rescue, CQB and advanced driving. Many former Army Special Forces soldiers and Delta Force operators find their way into Ground Branch.
SAD Maritime Branch's focus was on amphibious operations and as such tends to recruit ex SEALs and Force Recon Marines as its operators.
Air Branch was the aviation wing of the CIA's Special Activities Division (SAD). Their role was to fly covert missions in support of CIA operations.
In 2016 Special Activities Division was renamed to Special Activities Center (SAC). The Special Operations Group (SOG) is a department within SAC responsible for operations that include high-threat military or covert operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, unit members, called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers, do not typically carry any objects or clothing, e.g., military uniforms, that would associate them with the United States government.