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.
Operator Training (32 Weeks)
“As an HRT operator, you are going to be on the cutting edge of what the Bureau does tactically, both in the United States and overseas,” said Special Agent John Piser who runs the unit’s selection and training programs.
Following the selection course, special agents relocate to HRT’s headquarters in Quantico, VA to begin what the FBI calls the “New Operator Training School.” A 32-week (8 month) course that seems to be styled after Delta Force’s own Operator Training Course (OTC).
Operators learn how to fast-rope out of helicopters, SCUBA dive, extensive close-quarter battle (CQB) training, tactical driving, and operating in extreme weather environments. Following completion of training, the graduates join their respective teams and for the first year they continue to hone their basic assault skills and also specialize in a specific skill-set such as breacher, communicator, or medic.