FBI's Crisis Management Unit
Protecting Against Terrorist Attack
It's the Middle Name of the FBI's Crisis Management Unit
It's a small unit that gets around and does a lot: 12 Special Agents and 3 professional employees.
1. To work with state, local, federal, and international officials to plan security before high profile events that might attract terrorists.
2. To coordinate FBI logistics at such events.
3. To respond to crises world-wide, when tragedy strikes.
How do they operate? First, a call comes in--usually from an FBI field office or legal attache--asking for help with an event or a crisis situation. A crisis manager consults with the office by phone, makes an assessment, and, if needed, deploys an advance team of responders. This group has the full resources of our Critical Incident Response Group behind it, including crisis negotiators, tactical specialists, computer experts, and behavioral analysts--and, ultimately, it has the full resources of the FBI behind it.
In the case of preventing attacks against high-profile events, the unit works for months in advance with state, local, other federal, and international officials to 1) anticipate what could go wrong, 2) devise prevention strategies, and 3) have alternate scenario plans in place.
For example, at the June G-8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, we deployed more than 900 FBI employees to help ensure the participants'--and the public's--safety. Bomb technicians, Hostage Rescue Team members, Emergency Response Team members, even bomb-sniffing dogs.
In the case of full-blown crises, like kidnappings, aircraft hijackings, prison escapes, the release of a chemical or biological device, just to name a few, the unit 1) immediately dispatches needed personnel, 2) sets up a command post on site, complete with shelter, computers with connections to e-mail and law enforcement databases, fax machines, desks, and other office equipment...and gets to work. Depending on where the crisis is, the unit can get a command post up and running in as little as 2 hours.
In all cases, "we prepare for the worst," says acting Unit Chief Carlos Conejo, "to lessen or avert a potential threat."
How often does the phone ring? A lot, especially since 9/11. In fact, deployments of unit personnel increased from 44 in fiscal year 2000 to 157 in fiscal year 2003. As you might imagine, these dedicated employees are often on the road; some are away from home more than 200 days out of the year. But for them it's all in a day's--and night's--work .