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Ready When Crisis Strikes…and Even When It Doesn’t


Photopraph of RDLU AircraftWhen our investigators are called to the scene of a major crime, terrorist attack, or special event around the globe, there’s another team that springs into action, too.

It’s called the Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit (RDLU)…and its specialty is getting our personnel and all the necessary gear—literally tons of it—to the incident site as fast as humanly possible so our investigators can do their jobs.

What kinds of gear? Not exactly the comforts of home, but everything needed to run an investigation: computers, command post facilities, environmentally controlled tents, vehicles, power generators, prepackaged meals, bottled water, portable toilets, showers, and more.

The team has proved so useful during times of crisis—whether it’s terrorist attacks, natural disasters, plane crashes, or other incidents—that it’s been asked to set up temporary operations centers to safeguard major diplomatic meetings, international sports competitions, and other special events. Recently, it’s even been hauling building materials all over the globe for our new international offices under construction.

What happens when the call comes in? We’ll walk you through it:

  • First, initial assessment. RDLU team members, counterterrorism experts, lab personnel, military liaisons, medical staff, communicators, and others determine which investigative teams will respond and guesstimate how many personnel may need to deploy.
  • Next, an RDLU rep and subject matter experts arrive on the scene as part of a Crisis Advance Team (CAT). Among other critical tasks, the CAT determines exactly who and how many team people…and what specialized equipment is needed.
  • Then—no more than 24 hours after getting the call—the RDLU gets rolling. It pulls supplies and equipment from its warehouses and coordinates land transport or commercial and military airlifts.
  • Once on the scene, RDLU field specialists get our command post up and running with phones, fax machines, copiers, shredders, and computers linked to FBI offices worldwide. They set up places to live and eat. And they set up maintenance points so they can keep all equipment and systems functioning properly during the deployment.

We’ve called on the RDLU dozens of times in recent months:

  • To Athens, Greece for the 2004 Summer Olympics;
  • To Sea Island, Georgia for the G-8 Summit in June 2004;
  • To Montgomery County, Maryland, during the DC area sniper shootings;
  • To Iraq following bombings and terrorist attacks.

Says Unit Chief Thomas Hansen, “We’re the behind-the-scenes people—making sure our investigators have everything they need. If they’re happy, we’re happy.”

Links: Rapid Deployment Logistics Unit | Critical Incident Response Group