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BORTAC is an initialism for the United States "Border Patrol Tactical Unit". BORTAC is the tactical team of the United States Border Patrol.

Bortac 5f1.gif
Badge of the BORTAC.
Agency overview
Formed 1984
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency United States
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
Operational structure
Headquarters Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas
Parent agency U.S. Border Patrol



The mission of BORTAC is "to respond to terrorist threats of all types anywhere in the world in order to protect our nation’s homeland." [1]


The unit was first formed in 1984 to deal with disturbances occurring within INS detention facilities, but this mission is now handled by ICE Detention & Removal Operations Tactical Intervention And Control (TIAC) teams. Since its inception BORTAC has steadily expanded its scope and mission capabilities, and is now a rapid response unit capable of executing both foreign and national level domestic operations. BORTAC members have operated in 28 countries around the world. Missions have included international training/advisory functions, counter terrorism operations, counter narcotics operations, high-risk warrant service, dignitary protection, interdiction & patrol operations, and tactical training to other U.S. agencies and military units. [2]


BORTAC headquarters is collocated with its training unit at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas. The BORTAC training unit is currently responsible for conducting all CBP tactical team training. In addition the unit also provides specialist training to other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. As part of a joint Department of State/ Department of Justice training program, BORTAC has also provided tactical team and counter narcotics training to several foreign governments police, paramilitary, tactical, drug, and specialist units, including the El Salvador National Police's Grupo de Respuesta Policial (GRP) tactical unit.


Border Patrol Agents wishing to become members of BORTAC must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of three (3) years of continuous Border Patrol service in good standing
  • Obtain a passing score of 90% or better on the Border Patrol Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) & the firearms qualification course of fire (at least 324/360)
  • Pass an oral interview panel conducted by current BORTAC members
  • Successfully complete a BORTAC Selection Course
  • Be available for extended deployment (90 days or more) anywhere anytime.
  • Make proper application for consideration to HQ-BORTAC

The five week BORTAC basic training course is considered one of the most difficult and arduous training courses in civilian law enforcement. Qualified BP personnel may volunteer for the unit. After an initial screening process, which includes a strenuous physical fitness test, prospective BORTAC operators are scheduled to attend the next BORTAC Basic Training Session. The course covers such diverse subjects as operations planning, land navigation, patrolling, tactical tracking, rappelling and fast roping, close quarters battle (CQB), riot control techniques, defensive tactics, firearms marksmanship, and air assault operations.


BORTAC is authorized a wide range of weapons systems such as: Beretta 96D in .40 S&W Brigadier Service Pistol, Heckler & Koch USP in .40 S&W, SIG P229 DAO 9x19mm Parabellum, Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun with 14" barrel, M4A1 carbine, M16A1 or M16A2, M14 rifle 7.62mm NATO, HK UMP in .40 S&W, Remington 700 .308 rifle, M40 rifle XBKS .308 rifle, M79 grenade launcher, M203 grenade launcher, 37 mm gas guns, Heckler & Koch MP5, Heckler & Koch HK33A2, Heckler & Koch HK53 A2 or A3, and the Steyr SSG rifle. The Remington shotguns have been specially modified by Scattergun Technologies.


When conducting operations BORTAC personnel normally wear OG-107 uniforms, or sage green flight suits with a subdued Border Patrol patch sewn on. Each team member is also equipped with a Kevlar ballistic helmet, and an Kevlar assault vest. Boots worn by individual team members depend on the operators personal preference and situation.


During the 1980’s War on Drugs, BORTAC worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration conducting counter narcotics operations in South America during Operation Snow Cap.

In 1992, BORTAC was deployed to Los Angeles to help restore order after rioting broke out in the wake of the Rodney King trial.

In April of 2000, the BORTAC conducted Operation “Reunion,” in which it executed a raid on a home in Miami, Florida and safely returned Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez to his family in Cuba. Following the World Trade Center Attack in September of 2001, BORTAC personnel were sent to high-risk areas around the country to help secure against future attacks. In 2002, BORTAC worked jointly with the United States Secret Service securing sports venues at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. Recent natural disasters have vaulted BORTAC personnel into tactical relief operations (TRO) by providing hurricane relief aid to Gulf Coast residents and law enforcement support to law enforcement agencies affected by Hurricane Katrina.



See also

External links



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