SWAT Counter Terrorism and Explosives Mitigation (SWAT CTU OPS)


Course Objectives:

To train members of SWAT and Special Operations tactical teams from Federal, State and local law enforcement TTP’s as they relate to counter terrorism operations and high threat criminal activities.

With threats increasing from groups like ISIS and the continued spread of radical Islam, lone wolfs and copycat criminals forcing the need for operators to be ready for these kinds of motivated perpetrators is more important now than ever before post 9/11.

These operations will include dealing with explosives which have repeatedly been used in terror Attacks all over the world and should be considered the terrorist weapon of choice. This course will deal with stand-alone (IED’s) and explosives in vehicles (VBIEDS) and personally borne IEDs (suicide bombers).

In addition the course will cover high threat hostage rescue in an urban environment and how to deal with barricaded subjects.

This training course is designed to provide the team members with the knowledge skills and practical training for hostage rescue intervention operations, take over operations, conduct raids and vehicle take downs with the consideration that the person or persons of interest have some kind of military training and are not just typical criminals looking to escape prison or gain financially. The key here is motivation.

Key learning points:

  • Containment and Call Out: Demonstrate containment techniques on the target location that isolate the structure and prevent the egress of target suspects, or the ingress of outsiders (innocent civilians, potential sympathizers, etc).
  • Describe methods of increasing pressure (based on rules of engagement/force continuum) to induce the surrender of suspects these TTP’s are proven in the field and comply with your agencies UOF policies and SOP’s
  • Techniques for responding to terrorists/high risk criminals in fortified structures
  • Work with intelligence to formulate the assault plan – Participants will formulate plan of assault based on intelligence and have the opportunity using reality based force on force scenarios to put their plan into effect.
  • Techniques for clearing structures methodically, stealth and dynamic.
  • Integration of snipers, bomb techs/ EOD, K-9 and medical support to operations and the use of tactical tools such as robots and cameras.
  • Techniques for interdicting terrorists in vehicles and on foot – (Take downs)
  • Conduct call outs against terrorists in schools, hotels and apartments
  • Accomplish entries into rooms using the proper TTP’s
  • Use the Bomb tech interoperable with the entry team (bomb tech integration on team)
  • Train participants on the techniques of the entry team
  • Train participants on how to conduct mobile assault options

Course duration and timing: This course will be a 10 hour (per day) training course to be conducted over a 4 day period. This course will include between 40 hours of instruction and drills, including class room presentation, dry drills, and reality based force – on - force scenario based training. The use of training aids such as inert explosives and pyro-technic devices will also be used to provide realism.

Instructors: The primary instructor for this training course will have real world and both US law enforcement and international experience on all subjects delivered. All TTP’s will have been proven in the field.

Specific course content and general order of training and basic outlines are listed below.



  • Must be a member of SWAT or SOP team

Lesson Goals:

  • The graduate of this lesson should feel confident in his ability to work as part of an 8-20 man team while surrounding an urban structure for both the purpose of hostage rescue and raids. Cover fire, ranges and limits as well as specific locations and duties will all be covered. Additionally communication, codes and protocols will all be discussed. Surrounding a structure with speed and safety is the ultimate goal of this part of the course.

Breakdown: Classroom (Power Point Discussion) in the AM, field in the PM.



  • Team drills
  • Cover fire and bounding tactics
  • Multiple entries
  • Stairway clearing both up and down
  • Hallway clearing
  • Stealth movement to Contact or Breach Point
  • Weapon transfer drills pistol to rifle and vise-versa



  • The graduate of this course should feel confident in his ability to work as part of a 4-8 man team exercises within an urban structure. Cover fire; for all tactical scenarios including jams and reloads will all be covered. Additionally 4-man entry into rooms of various sizes as well as halls and stair wells will be mastered. Searching a structure with speed and safety is the ultimate goal of this course.

4 man structure search techniques

  • Dry practice for 2 men on a doorway.
  • Room clearing, hall work.
  • Stairways.
  • Entire structure searches.
  • Stealth entry drills.
  • Hostage rescue attempts.



  • The graduate of this course should feel confident in his ability to work as part of a 4 + man team during a hostage intervention & assault. The focus will be on movement within the structure and select fire drills.

Participants should be dressed in full operations gear.

Hostage Scenarios

  • Movement from outside to inside the structure.
  • 4 man team searches of the interior structure.
  • Intervention team drills.

Note: this course of study is based on already having strong intelligence. This course does not include intelligence gathering methods.

Vehicle takedown for tactical teams

  • Use of vehicles for closing distance.
  • Breaking out
  • Firing from the vehicle
  • How to stop and surround the target vehicle
  • Cover, entry and search of the vehicle
  • Extraction and evacuation

Breaks during the course will be on an as needed basis and there will be a conclusion after every day and new exercise. Following the course there will be a small discussion and certificates will be issued.


Dear SSI™ Team,

I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank you again both from myself and my team for taking time out of your lives and away from your families to come and provide us with new skills, techniques and the wealth of knowledge you imparted. Your obvious command of this subject and the effectiveness of your ability to convey that knowledge to us was amazing.

We had a team meeting immediately after you left to discuss how this will change our policies and procedures. The changes will be made. We are to begin incorporating explosives and tripwires into our regular training plans. We will brief our command on what we learned and modify our internal policies.

We will begin research on local, national and international case law and use that in conjunction with our current procedures and case law to define our ROE for all SWAT ops to include terrorists and subjects with explosives (terrorists or not). This will be presented to our command and the prosecutors so we are all on the same page and are sure we are doing the right thing for the right reason.

Another result of this training is that we are coordinating our training schedules for next year with nearby Police Departments to allow “unofficial” cross training of operators for potential future major criminal and CT ops. I also started coordinating with our bomb techs to have our SWAT guys present at one of their upcoming explosives disposal operations so we can get a feeling for the shockwave and how cover can mitigate that.

I know, because everyone has made multiple comments to me, that we are all looking forward to training with you again in 2010. I believe there will be a waiting line for students and role players alike. We will be discussing potential topics for the advanced class in the coming weeks.

Can’t wait to see you guys in the spring,

Deputy Steve Haley
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office

Case Study

Subject: RE: SSI™ 

All is well here with us. Waiting for our chance to catch a terrorist like everyone else around the country.

Closest we have had is a recent narcotics warrant against the Mexican Mafia. We were led to believe that they were serious bad guys and likely the closest we will come to terrorists in my years on the team. They are one of the groups competing with the Zetas in Northern Mexico for the drug channels and money.

We used covert deployment techniques as you discussed in the SWAT Counter-Terrorism class because it was not a friendly neighborhood (I'll tell you about this later in private). The suspects had several residences in the area, so we used snipers looking inward and outward for "Mutual Security" (See I was listening). 

As I breached the front door, another operator breached the master bedroom window and we had guns on several suspects immediately. The main suspect crapped his pants (literally). After our dynamic entry into the front room, we switched to "Secure Search" mode and called everyone out to us from cover (Maximum use of cover). Once all were in custody, we posted 360 coverage while the Narcotics Detectives did their search.

In the end, the scariest part was that "Mom" had the bird flu and several of us had close contact. The docs assured us later that we would need more than momentary contact with her to get sick.

This whole operation was in conjunction with something like 23 other warrants being served across the state simultaneously and a couple hundred across the U.S. that morning. Washington being in the west, ours was one of the last to be served, so it was possible that our guys could have been warned we were coming. Didn't appear that had happened though. We used a lot of the techniques you taught us in the class and they proved themselves. The boys and I truly appreciate you for coming out and making us a better team.

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