Special Agent Careers with the FBI’s
Counterterrorism Division

With counterterrorism as the primary focus of the FBI, obtaining a position in the Counterterrorism Division (CTD) is highly desirable among new Special Agents.  Within this important division are a wide variety of specialized areas in which Special Agents serve with distinction.  Agents with a desire to serve as a tactical operations specialist may be able to join the elite Counterterrorism Fly Teams, or a Joint Terrorism Task Force.  For those who would like to help gather and analyze intelligence about terrorists or their organizations may wish to join the Field Intelligence Groups or the Counterterrorism Analysis Branch.

The Breadth and Scope of the Special Agent’s Role in the Counterterrorism Division

The security of the country is the highest priority of the FBI and the Counterterrorism Division often takes the lead in identifying and dismantling terrorist organizations.  This involves monitoring the criminal activities of individuals residing within the U.S. as well as those located in foreign lands.  Within the U.S., CTD is committed to identifying individuals who have adopted the ideologies of terrorist organizations and attempting to harm U.S. residents, facilities or organizations through independent acts of terrorism.  CTD Special Agents are also tirelessly working to detect, apprehend and question members of terrorist sleeper cells who are currently in the U.S. and preparing for an attack.

On the international front, CTD Special Agents jobs involve monitoring the activities of known and emerging organizations with hostile intent towards the U.S. or its allies. In order to obtain reliable and current information about these groups, CTD personnel cultivate sources including human intelligence assets as well as electronic and technological methods.  CTD Special Agents also work to identify the financial support systems that fuel these terrorist groups; once the banks and financial operations are identified, swift action is taken to freeze assets and eliminate funding.

Job Description of Special Agents in the Counterterrorism Division

CTD Special Agent jobs involve performing the following functions:

  • Monitor the activities and communications of suspected terrorists within the U.S.
  • Investigate all potential terrorists or sleeper cell members with the intent to prosecute
  • Develop and execute operations to disrupt terrorist attacks against the U.S. or its allies
  • Maintain constant situational awareness about terrorist organizations
  • Monitor the status of all known Weapons of Mass Destruction stockpiles, technologies and scientists
  • Identify and dismantle the financial and arms networks of terrorist organizations
  • Identify areas of vulnerability within U.S. defenses and produce strategic modifications to remedy them

Special Agent-Counterterrorism Division Salary

All FBI Special Agents begin their careers at the GS-10 pay grade with the potential to rise to the GS-13 level if they remain active in the field.  If they obtain a supervisor or executive career, they may rise to the GS-15 level.  In 2012 the salaries for these pay grades were

General Schedule Grade
Pay Range
General Schedule 10
$45771-$59505
General Schedule 13
$71674-$93175
General Schedule 15
$99628-$129517

These are only the base salaries and are almost always adjusted for cost of living, which can be a 12.5 to 28.7 percent increase in salary.  Due to the 50 hour work weeks and 24 hour availability, Special Agents also receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay, which is 25 percent of salary plus COLA.

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