Investigative Programs
Critical Incident Response Group

Mission Statement
Operations Support Branch
- Crisis Negotiation Unit
- Crisis Management Unit
- Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit
NCAVC - National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime
- Behavioral Analysis Unit
- Child Abduction Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center
- Violent Criminal Apprehension Program
Tactical Support Branch
- Hostage Rescue Team
- Operations Training Unit
Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC)


The Operations Support Branch (OSB) of CIRG consists of the Crisis Negotiation Unit, Crisis Management Unit, and Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit. The OSB has various functions including the rapid delivery of personnel to a scene, whether it be a bombing or crimes against children investigation. The OSB also stresses training and international law enforcement cooperation to ensure the most impressive capability.

Crisis Negotiation Unit | Crisis Management Unit | Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit

Crisis Negotiation Unit

The Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) is an integral part of the FBI's Critical Incident Response Group. As such, the CNU is responsible for the FBI's Crisis (Hostage) Negotiation Program. The mission of the CNU is four-fold:

  • operations;
  • training;
  • research; and,
  • program management.

The CNU maintains an immediate operational response capability to conduct and manage on-scene negotiations during any significant crisis event in which the FBI is involved. This response capability is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As part of the CNU's operational mission, negotiators deploy overseas to assist in the management of kidnapping situations involving U.S. citizens. The FBI is considered the negotiation arm of the United States government for international incidents. Since 1990, the CNU has deployed to over 100 such incidents worldwide. CNU negotiators also routinely provide telephonic assistance to both FBI field negotiators and domestic police negotiators during domestic crisis situations.

The FBI has approximately 340 crisis negotiators in the 56 field offices. The CNU is responsible for managing these assets and providing whatever training and equipment is necessary for the field office negotiators to successfully resolve crisis situations.

At present, the CNU is staffed by a Unit Chief, nine Supervisory Special Agents and four support staff. The unit is based with all other Critical Incident Response Group units at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The CNU has adopted the Latin phrase pax per conloquium, "resolution through dialogue," as its motto.

The CNU is responsible for the initial training of all FBI negotiators, which includes a two-week national negotiation course conducted at the FBI Academy. The unit also provides advanced and periodic update training to FBI and other law enforcement negotiators at the FBI Academy, regionally and internationally. Exchange programs are in place with British, Canadian, Australian, Israeli, German and South African law enforcement agencies. The CNU also provides crisis negotiation concepts to FBI decision-makers and selected law enforcement managers in appropriate forums.

The CNU is engaged in an array of research projects, case studies and other initiatives targeted at expanding the FBI's capabilities to assess, manage and successfully resolve critical events. An integral part of this research effort is the Law Enforcement Negotiation Support (LENS) System. LENS is a computer-based project developed to provide all law enforcement negotiators with additional tools to help resolve crisis situations. Part of this effort is a research project known as the Hostage Barricade Database System (HOBAS). HOBAS was undertaken to gather and analyze statistics on hostage, barricade, and/or suicide incidents in the United States. There are currently over 2,000 incidents in HOBAS, contributed by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

The CNU is available to assist any law enforcement negotiator with operational issues around the clock, seven days a week. The CNU may be contacted at (703) 632-4256 during normal business hours. After hours contact may be made by contacting the FBI Academy switchboard at (703) 632-1000 and asking to be connected with a CNU crisis/hostage negotiator.



Crisis Management Unit

The mission of the Crisis Management Unit (CMU) is to operationally support FBI field and headquarters entities during critical incidents or major investigations. The CMU also conducts crisis management training and related activities for the FBI, and other international, federal, state, and local agencies or departments. Thus, the CMU assists in the FBI's response to, and management of, worldwide incidents. In support of this mission, the CMU conducts several regional field training exercises each year. Each exercise involves multiple field offices and hundreds of employees. Effective liaison is also maintained with other federal agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Defense. In addition, the CMU maintains contact with international, state, and local agencies as required.



Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit

The mission of the Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit (RDLU) is to coordinate administrative and logistical matters for deploying the Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) Program, including transportation, assistance in sustaining field operations, Department of Defense affiliation/specialized training, and budget planning. The RDLU is also responsible for the coordination of all military and commercial airlift deployment requirements for the CIRG and other FBI entities.

In October 1999, the RDLU was formed to centralize logistical planning, ensuring that RDT deployments are smooth, efficient and effective. The RDT initiative was established by FBI Headquarters in September 1998, in response to the bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Photograph of  blast damage to U.S. Embassy in Dares Salaan, Tanzania Photograph of blast damage to U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya
Aerial view of blast damage to U.S. Embassy in Dares Salaan, Tanzania. Aerial view of blast damage to U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

Additionally, the RDLU is responsible for the coordination of all Rapid Start Information Management System (RSIMS) matters in support of major investigations and operations. This system is designed to provide law enforcement personnel with the capability of managing large volumes of investigative data in major cases and crisis incidents. It allows the user to build a case-specific data base and track leads into a variety of reports. The RDLU manages a resource pool of RSIMS data loaders, Rapid Start specialists and systems facilitators for the CIRG to augment offices during crisis incidents, major training exercises and special events. The RDLU trains FBI, state and local law enforcement personnel to operate the RSIMS application.