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Special Reaction Team

Commanders must provide an installation SRT capable of providing an enhanced response to developed threats in their area of responsibility within two hours of initial notification (see AR 190-52). The PM normally is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, and maintaining the SRT. The SRT is a specially trained team of military or security personnel armed and equipped to isolate, contain, gather information for, and, if necessary, neutralize a special threat. Specific missions and response capabilities are determined by the threat and availability of equipment and training time.

When major disruptions or special threats occur (to include acts of terrorism), resources must be committed in a graduated response to resolve the situation and restore law and order. SRTs are one of the commander's principal response forces in the event of a major disruption or special threat, and as such, are an integral part of an installation's security.

Some situations requiring SRT employment may include, but are not limited to--

  • Barricaded criminals.
  • Barricaded criminals with hostages.
  • Sniper incidents.
  • Counterterrorist operations.
  • VIP protection (as a response force).
  • Threatened suicide incidents.
  • Barricaded, mentally disturbed persons.

During hostilities, SRTs may be required to perform similar missions in a combat environment.

SRT priorities during an incident are--

  • Protecting lives, to include hostages, law enforcement personnel, bystanders, and suspects.
  • Securing the safe release of hostages.
  • Isolating/containing the incident.
  • Gathering information/intelligence. This is an ongoing responsibility from the beginning of an incident until its resolution.
  • Protecting property/equipment. Preventing escape.
  • Apprehending offenders.
  • Conducting an assault (only if all other alternatives have been exhausted, no other assistance is expected, and a threat to human life exists).




These mission priorities apply in all special threat situations. They must be stressed, planned for, and given the necessary command emphasis to ensure success. However, during a special threat situation involving a nuclear weapon, recovery of the weapon is the overriding consideration (AR 50-5).

To successfully meet mission requirements, it may be necessary for the SRT or SRT member to replace or augment the initial responding MP on the inner perimeter around the affected site.

PMs must ensure commanders understand the limitations of SRTs. Training scenarios used to test and evaluate SRTs must be consistent with team purpose and missions. Post crisis management teams, controllers, evaluators, and observers must be aware of team limitations and those circumstances under which more qualified forces will assume responsibility for an incident.

US Army involvement in terrorism counteraction is limited by HN responsibilities, Department of Justice and Department of State authority, legal and political restrictions, and appropriate regulations. US Army support to civilian law enforcement agencies during civil disturbance operations is limited by DOD Civil Disturbance Plan (Garden Plot), 18 USC 1385 (Posse Comitatus Act), and applicable laws and regulations.

Each installation has unique needs as determined by a current threat analysis and the installation's vulnerabilities. A detailed threat analysis is essential to support the process of identifying the desired level of SRT response capability. On one end of the spectrum the threat analysis may reveal the existence of only a low-level external threat requiring a general SRT manpower/equipment response capability. At the upper end of the spectrum the threat analysis could indicate a sophisticated threat posed by groups having unique abilities and seeking specifically identified targets. This would require an SRT of highly trained personnel possessing specialized training and equipment. However, the need for SRT response capabilities cannot be based entirely on the external threat, but must be approached within the framework of the definition of special threats found in AR 190-52. Action is taken to ensure that the installation and its personnel are prepared to meet any potential threat.

The knowledge and understanding of the existing threat is a viable tool essential to evaluating the installation's vulnerability. A survey outlining both the strong and weak points in an installation's ability to defend against a threat will assist commanders in training, equipping, and planning for the desired response levels for their SRTs. Available resources, materials, and personnel are factors that influence planning and establishing a workable SRT and initial response team. Resource availability will impact on the immediate SRT response capabilities. The long-range action is to plan for the unexpected, counter the threat, harden the installation's possible targets, and deal with special threats.

While the SRT will usually be the installation's response to special threats, consideration must be given to the requirement for an expanded response. Since it is impossible to predict the magnitude and peculiarities of incidents, installations identify, train, and equip personnel from outside existing MP assets to augment the initial response force. SRT actions in response to threats are determined by the EOC.


Command and control actions pertaining to SRTs are planned, coordinated, and directed by the EOC which is activated immediately when a special threat occurs. The TMF, the tactical element of the EOC, is drawn from installation resources that respond to major disruptions on the installation. The TMF commander, normally the installation PM or his representative, is the on-site commander and has operational control for all response forces. The TMF commander gathers and disseminates information/intelligence about the incident and provides it to the EOC. Strategic planning decisions are developed at the EOC.

The TMF includes the initial response force, inner and outer perimeter security elements, SRT, negotiation team, and investigative team:

  • The initial response force, normally on-duty law enforcement personnel, isolates, contains, and evaluates the incident, and provides the initial report to the PM.
  • Inner and outer perimeter security elements secure the incident site, control access to the area, and provide security to the remainder of the installation.
  • The SRT provides an enhanced response capable of controlling the situation. During initial employment, the SRT begins preliminary tactical planning to resolve the situation. (Rescue and assault missions are performed only under special circumstances.)
  • The hostage negotiation team sets up direct communication with the perpetrators. Negotiations are conducted to further develop the situation for key decision makers.
  • The investigative team investigates the incident while it is ongoing and concludes the investigation after the incident is resolved.

When selecting SRT personnel, the most qualified volunteers are those persons who--

  • Have at least one year of military service as MP.
  • Are in the pay grade of E4 or above.
  • Are highly disciplined and morally sound.
  • Are mature and able to handle pressure.
  • Have passed the Army Physical Fitness Test.
  • Have a minimum qualification of sharpshooter with assigned weapon.
  • Possess individual special skills (that is, demolitions, emergency medical treatment, and the like).
  • Have prior combat and/or small unit operations experience.
  • Have prior law enforcement experience.
  • Exhibit an ability to work with others.
  • Possess good eyesight.
  • Can be retained (one year recommended).
  • Have had no derogatory data revealed during the background investigation.

Additionally, all volunteers considered for selection to SRTs are psychologically screened before assuming their duties. This screening can be done through command channels without any adverse effects to individuals or their military careers.

A suggested SRT consists of not less than nine people. This team composition best conforms to and allows for the suggested rank requirements contained in most MP unit TOEs and TDAs.

Ideally, consideration is given to training one or two nine-man teams per installation. The goal is to have one SRT available at all times. Additionally, as situations dictate, it may become necessary to alert or employ more than one team and combine or augment teams to meet threats beyond the capabilities of one nine-man team.


The suggested nine-man SRT composition
is as follows:



  •    E6 or Above (Civilian Equivalent)


  •    E4 or Above


  •    E4 or Above


  •    E4 or Above

ELEMENT (If Needed)


  •    E4 or Above


  •    E4 or Above

It is critical to SRT functions that all team members be cross-trained in at least one alternative position within the team. The team leader must be familiar with all aspects of each member's duties.


Selection of equipment used by SRTs is important to the total effectiveness of the team in accomplishing assigned missions. Specific missions and response capabilities are partially determined by selection, availability, and assignment of equipment. It is suggested that an SRT SOP, including an equipment list, be included as an annex to installation security plans. This action will assist in procuring and programming funds for SRT equipment not organic to the installation.

Equipment authorized by CTAs, TOEs, and TDAs is used to the maximum extent to equip SRTs. Additional government supply sources include Self-Service Supply Center, Training and Audiovisual Support Center (TASC), US General Services Administration (GSA) Supply Catalog, GSA Federal Supply Schedule, The Army Authorization Documents System (TAADS), and source selection advisory council (SSAC).

Local procurement or one-time purchases may initially be necessary to obtain some specialized equipment until appropriate authorization documents are revised. Equipment not listed in an authorization document at present, but required, is identified and submitted for evaluation and approval to the US Army Military Police School, Directorate of Combat Developments, ATTN: ATZN-MP-CM, Fort McClellan, AL 36205-5030, using DA Form 2028 in accordance with AR 310-34.

Individual equipment such as load bearing equipment, heavy body armor, survival vests, and the like, is determined by the commander using common sense, careful analysis of the opposing threat, and specific mission assignment. The basic suggested SRT uniform is composed of--

  • Work gloves with liners.
  • Battledress uniform (BDU).
  • Cap, woodland pattern (BDU).
  • Brown T-shirt.
  • Black combat boots.
  • Lightweight body armor.
  • Eye protection.
  • Hearing protection.

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