The Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) is part of the Critical Incident Response Group. CNU is made up of elite staff, who are available 24/7 to assist all tactical units with incidents as they arise. This includes support in suicides, standoffs, kidnappings, hostage situations and hijackings. CNU personnel deal with both domestic and international crises involving the illegally detention of U.S. citizens by hostile parties. CNUs were created in 1990 and since have resolved over 300 incidents.

The FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit’s Purpose and Function

The Crisis Negotiation Unit gives strategies for negotiation, negotiating both in the field or in cooperation with FBI tactical units like SWAT and HRT. The CNU also manages and trains hostage negotiators, including studying prior incidents, and collecting evidence from reports in order to be prepared.

The CNU’s headquarters can be found at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, which is where occasional instruction and full-time training takes place. CNU members are Special Agents and are required to undertake a two week National Crisis Negotiation Course. The CNU also has many exchange programs with foreign government including the U.K. and Israel which help in updating tactical knowledge. The Law Enforcement Negotiation Support System is another operation of the CNU, and its responsibility is ensuring local and state police organizations have relevant information regarding incidents.

Job Description for the Crisis Negotiation Unit

CNU staff must be able to:

1. Investigate suspects in crisis incidents to determine whether they might be violent or amenable to cooperation.
2. Covertly enter the scene of incidents to start conversation with criminals and terrorists.
3. Spending extended periods of time in negotiation during an incident.
4. Have an ongoing knowledge of different types of crisises and relevant responses..
5. Train new and ongoing negotiators.
6. Undertaking and reporting with psychological assessments to establish tactical responses.
7. Managing databases of international incident records.

Salary for Crisis Negotiation Unit Staff

CNU staff are Special Agents, and the minimum pay grade is GS-10. If personnel are promoted to the elite Hostage Rescue Team, the relevant pay grade could be up to GS-14 or GS-15, however general field operatives are capped at GS-13. If CNU staff are considered supervisors or instructors they may also receive a promotion. There is also an adjustment of 12.5 to 28.7 percent for cost of living expenses. Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime is available for CNU field operatives, and all CNU staff will receive a benefits package with health care, life insurance, Thrift Savings Plan, long term care employment and retirement benefits following 20 to 25 years of service.