Home Washington About Us Our People and Capabilities


Our People and Capabilities

The Washington Field Office is the second largest field office in the FBI. Our special agents and professional staff bring a broad range of talents and experiences to the workplace, helping to make it one of the “Great Places to Workaccording to The Washingtonian Magazine in 2007.

Our employees include special agents and a variety of specialized professionals such as intelligence and financial analysts, investigative specialists, language specialists, paralegals, electronics technicians, information technology specialists, forensic examiners, and security experts. In most cases our employees hold bachelors, masters, and/or doctorate degrees, often giving up higher salaries in the private sector to dedicate themselves to the FBI mission of protecting the U.S. and its citizens.

Members of the Washington Field Office SWAT Team


Our strength as an organization lies in our people, in our investigations, and in our collection, analysis, and sharing of intelligence that drives and supports those investigations locally, nationally, and internationally. In every case, we work to objectively gather the facts and to develop evidence that can stand up in a court of law. To do that, we interview subjects and witnesses, run undercover operations, analyze records and documents, conduct surveillance, and gather intelligence from around the globe. Our investigations today are multi-faceted, involving a wide range of public and private sector partners and spread across multiple jurisdictions. 

Among our specialized capabilities:

  • Evidence Recovery and Processing: Our Evidence Response Team (ERT) consists of 40 members divided into five teams. The teams conduct forensic investigations, process complex crime scenes, and consult closely with FBI Laboratory experts. The ERTs include personnel with specialized skills and forensics training in a variety of areas such as: photography; crime scene diagramming and sketching; latent fingerprint recovery and processing; bullet trajectory determination; DNA recovery; fiber and trace evidence collection; and post blast recovery. The team works with all of the FBI’s investigative programs and provides training and crime scene support to local law enforcement agencies throughout the area. ERT maintains response vehicles equipped with specialized tools and supplies to assist in the examination of any size crime scene. A special facility is also maintained for securing and processing special evidence.
  • Dive Team boat
    FBI Dive Team boat
    Underwater Search and Evidence Recovery: We maintain a 12-member Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team (USERT)—one of four around the nation—that provides all FBI field divisions with a group of highly-trained, well-equipped personnel to conduct underwater crime scene investigations and complex searches. The USERTs gather evidence underwater in an expert, competent, and systematic way that can stand up in a court of law. Its members are trained and certified in scuba, surface-supplied, helmet, swift-water, and ice diving as well as pier and hull searching. The team regularly trains and operates with local underwater search and recovery personnel and uses a variety of high-tech tools to facilitate their search efforts, including sector scan and side scan sonar; remotely operated vehicles; underwater photography and videography; and metal detection equipment. The team supports all investigative priorities of the Bureau and travels all over the world to assist with FBI investigations involving the search and recovery of evidence.
  • Tactical Support and Crisis Response: We have a Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team that consists of 42 team members with different specialties. Each volunteer member is specifically selected for the SWAT Team from a cadre of experienced special agents who meet the rigorous qualifications and prove their expertise in marksmanship, physical fitness, judgment, problem-solving, communications, and successful completion of other physical and mental challenges. Once selected, each member must complete both the SWAT and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) basic training courses. Specialized training is available for snipers/observers, mechanical/shotgun breachers, tactical helicopter/rappel masters, tactical trackers, and emergency medical technicians. The SWAT team plans and executes search warrants and arrests and conducts other operational missions with a higher-than-normal risk to innocent persons and suspects. Team members perform weapons and tactical training every month, honing their skills with semiautomatic handguns, shotguns, and assault and sniper rifles. They also rehearse variable problem-solving methods by physically practicing techniques for close quarter combat, felony car stops, and dignitary protection details.
  • Bomb Recovery and Analysis: We have special agent bomb technicians who can analyze and render safe a variety of explosive devices. Our bomb technicians work and train with local first responders and law enforcement agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They respond to calls about suspicious packages or objects and are deployed during bombing investigations, often working closely with our Joint Terrorism Task Force and our National Capital Response Squad. The bomb technicians gather diagnostic information from explosives that may be relayed as vital intelligence to local investigators and to the national Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.
  • Crisis Negotiation: The Washington Field Office has certified crisis negotiators and trained auxiliary negotiators who use specific techniques to bring about a desired behavioral change on the part of an individual who may pose a threat to himself/herself or others. Skilled negotiators can help individuals see safe and reasonable alternatives that avoid tactical intervention, often resulting in the rescue of hostages and/or the safe arrest of suspects. The role of a crisis negotiator is to: deploy with our SWAT team on high risk arrests/search warrants; to travel overseas on the kidnapping/hostage taking of U.S. citizens; and to cooperate with local law enforcement and assist them, as requested, on local barricade/hostage situations.
  • Hazardous Materials: We employ a 27-member Hazardous Material Response Team that includes special agents, professional staff, and task force officers from all investigative programs. All members of the team are trained and certified to respond to terrorist attacks and criminal incidents involving hazardous materials, including chemical, biological and radiological material. Our experts also work in concert with local officials and with Weapons of Mass Destruction experts at FBI Headquarters.
  • Computer Forensics: To seize, preserve, process, and forensically examine digital media and equipment, we have a Computer Analysis Response Team, or CART. CART provides technical capabilities, service, and support to the FBI, to the intelligence community, and to other law enforcement organizations. Full- and part-time forensic examiners include special agent and professional staff, as well as seven CART technicians and a storage area network administrator. All CART forensic examiners receive specialized training in computer forensics and are qualified as experts to present their results in a court of law.
  • Mobile Command Center: To manage even the most complex national security and criminal investigations, we run a Mobile Command Center—a 53-foot, 53,000-pound vehicle designed to respond at a moment’s notice to all special event and crisis situations that could arise in our area of operation. It is staffed by personnel from our Command and Tactical Operations Center (see below), by electronic technicians, and by technically trained agents. The Mobile Command Center has been equipped with multiple radio systems that allow our managers to direct and control both land-based and airborne assets. To ensure maximum portability, the center was designed with the latest cellular and satellite communications equipment and has the ability to physically “link up” with other FBI communication assets to provide even greater response capability for the Washington metropolitan area.
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    Mobile Command Center
    Command and Tactical Operations Center: Our Command and Tactical Operations Center, or CTOC, consists of agents and professional staff with tactical experience to support the SWAT team during field training exercises and tactical situations. The CTOC can communicate seamlessly with the Mobile Command Center and personnel on scene to bring the full resources of the FBI to a situation.
  • Language Program: Our Language Squad has more than 100 language specialists and contract linguists. Our on-board language capabilities include 26 different languages and dialects; in addition, mutual support agreements with other agencies and programs give the FBI almost immediate access to virtually any language. Our linguists are proficient in interpretation and in translating both written and audio files. Both FBI and contract linguists assist special agents on searches, document translations, and interviews. Many of our linguists travel both domestically and abroad in support of current cases. The Washington Field Office is actively looking for all qualified linguists. Please visit the FBI Jobs website for openings and other information.