Hostage Rescue Team Trains on Helicopter


When a dangerous suspect in a federal crime is on the run or there’s a crisis requiring FBI attention, we have tools, teams, and tactics at the ready to protect the American people and support the FBI’s law enforcement partners in their own work.

Hostage Rescue Team 

The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team is an elite group of agents who pass a challenging selection process and training course. They deploy in any environment or conditions to respond to hostage situations, barricaded suspects, high-risk arrests, undercover operations, and surveillance operations.

The Hostage Rescue Team: 30 Years of Service

The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)—federal law enforcement’s only full-time counterterrorism unit—is a highly trained group of special agents often called upon during the toughest times.

Getting Them to the Fight

Get an interactive look at how the mobility operators within the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team train to get to any location, under any conditions.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team  

FBI SWAT agents pass a rigorous fitness and marksmanship process to join the SWAT team.

Once on the team, these agents do difficult and dangerous work, including:

  • storming barricaded buildings
  • breaching locks
  • arresting dangerous suspects
  • rescuing hostages
  • climbing or rappelling in difficult terrain

Because the work is so dangerous, SWAT team members are heavily equipped with pistols, assault and sniper rifles, and shotguns.

Breaking Barriers

A special agent in the San Juan Division is one of just a few African American women in the Bureau’s history to be selected for an FBI SWAT team.

Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) 

The FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) provides rapid assistance to incidents in a crisis. Through CIRG, expert assistance is available in cases involving the abduction or mysterious disappearance of children, crisis management, hostage negotiation, criminal investigative analysis, and special weapons and tactics. CIRG also assists in the assessment, selection, and training of FBI undercover employees.

Behavioral Analysis 

The five Behavioral Analysis Units (BAU) in the FBI work cases ranging from terrorism to cybercrime to violent crimes against children. One unit is dedicated to research, strategy, and instruction. BAU experts provide onsite support in complex investigations, and they offer expertise and consultations on new, active, and cold cases.

Some of the services BAU offers include:

  • Criminal analysis
  • Investigative suggestions
  • Threat assessments
  • Interview strategies
  • Expert testimony
  • Critical incident analysis

Tactical Helicopters  

Sometimes FBI investigations take flight. When an investigator needs to make an arrest in difficult terrain, conduct a medical evacuation, or track a suspect’s vehicle, FBI helicopter pilots answer the call.

These pilots are trained to fly in difficult environments and weather conditions.

Bomb Technicians 

FBI bomb technicians do some of the most dangerous work in the FBI.

They respond and investigate actual and threatened bomb incidents, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Special Agent Bomb Technicians train and prepare extensively to do such dangerous and time-sensitive work.

Additionally, bomb technicians in the U.S. gets their certification at the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama.

Danger Beneath the Surface

Get an interactive look at how the FBI’s Underwater Post-Blast Investigation course prepares the nation's public safety bomb tech divers to counter threats in their home harbors and waterways.