February 22, 2013

FBIs HRT: Selection and Training

As part of the FBIs 30th anniversary special on their Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), I recently posted an article that included a recent video of the unit in training which can be found here: FBIs Hostage Rescue Team Marks 30th Anniversary

Part 2 and 3 of the HRT special have been recently released that includes information on their selection and training process which the FBI has historically kept a tight lid on.

HRT selection is held once a year where FBI special agents from field offices around the nation flock to Quantico, Virginia for a chance to successfully meet the standards and earn a coveted spot on one of the three tactical teams within HRT. The unit is not only very selective but also incredibly small as only 300 special agents have been chosen to serve on HRT since the unit’s inception in 1983.

Selection (2 Weeks)

The selection course is two weeks long designed to induce physical and mental stress on the candidates. Similar to a military special operations course, HRT instructors are looking to see how candidates work as individuals and as team-members when they are taken to the point of exhaustion due to lack of sleep (sometimes 1-2 hours a night) and physical exertion. Day one starts off with a pre-dawn physical fitness test that includes running, swimming, and stair-climbing with a 55-pound vest and a 35-pound battering ram.


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  • endrsgm

    @The Midnight Philosopher  @ArcticWarrior  @JHR  @Switzerland dade county has a really great tactical unit, probably the best of any police department in america.i was a fast marine atlantic stationed in virginia before they eliminated fast pac and split the teams and pre-positioned them all over the world. large chunks of my training were done in quantico. we used the same tire house as hrt and many of the same ranges. dade county is good, but they arent even in the same ballpark as hrt.

  • EasyDay

    @majrod In the book "Cold Zero: Inside the HRT" The clases started with 35 candidates with only 7 graduating from selection.

  • Zee M

    @ArcticWarrior  @Switzerland    From what I have heard BORTAC along with BORSTAR are great units too. However my knowledge of them is definitely limited... basic at best. I do know they were involved with Operation Snow Cap too, heard some stories of guys coming back with parasites from being in the jungle for a while.

  • Zee M

    @ArcticWarrior  @Switzerland  Oh yeah Snow Cap was definitely a great thing to point out, forgot about that! A lot of the older Agents who participated in Snow Cap actually had to go through a "simulated" Ranger School (I say simulated because the Ranger Instructors tended to be nicer towards the Agents compared to other Ranger Candidates). Finishing Ranger School meant qualification for the DEA Jungle Teams.   Yeah I was able to talk to a guy that went through HRT selection twice and he said he liked the way DEA did their selection with FAST rather than HRT. They are extremely picky with the Agents that they select to join HRT(sometimes there are only 1 or 2 slots open BUT there are plenty of guys who finished selection process) and that's when he brought up having to reapply year after year because of not being chosen. Either way both groups are high speed and are definitely great assets to have for the Federal Agencies.

  • Zee M

    @ArcticWarrior  @Switzerland  DEA FAST is quite a Unit, especially because their primary mission is Counter Narcotics/ Counter Narco-Terrorism... From talking to someone who was able to complete the selection course he said the course was pretty much an imitation of SF training (target shooting/ CQB/ physical readiness). Goals of the course(like others) included being able to manage a huge amount of mental stress, lack of sleep, being able to handle yourself physically, and of course being part of a team when necessary. The Agent said the instructors were all former SOF, and like other military courses completing the course wasn't enough... You had to excel in all phases in order to be chosen to be placed on 1 out of 5/6 teams or on a waiting list (which is a difference between FAST and HRT/ In selection for HRT if you are not chosen you must reapply and come back the following year). Usually FAST guys are deployed on rotations and work right along side SOF where ever necessary. That includes anywhere from Afghanistan to the jungles of South America and even now the Caribbean(Places considered to be "Hot Spots"). Sometimes when not deployed on foreign soil FAST Operators/Agents keep their skills up to par by helping local offices with high risk warrants. Pretty amazing stuff.