Special Agent Bomb Technicians (SABT) are specialized FBI officers whose job it is to identify, evaluate and neutralize explosive devices. These highly trained professionals utilize the latest technology like robots, x-ray machines, and ceramic body armor to defuse bombs and keep the public safe. Each field office in the U.S. has at least one assigned SABT who manages the safe removal of explosive devices.
In order to qualify for the highly respected SABT jobs, a Special Agent must first serve in the field for at least five years. Following approval of his/her candidacy, the Special Agent may attend the Special Agent Bomb Technician Program offered by the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School. This program utilizes decades of experience with bomb disposal to train FBI personnel to correctly recognize the type of device, its trigger function, the type of hazardous materials involved and what response is most appropriate.
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In the field, SABTs utilize specialized equipment that limit the lethality of the bomb. The FBI equips all SABTs with their own mechanized robot that has a number of cameras and manipulators. The robot is operated by SABTs at a safe distance in order to keep critical personnel outside of the blast radius, or the SABT may direct it from within a shielded cavity inside.
Special Agent Bomb Technician Program Job Description
SABT jobs often involve being the first FBI personnel called in to investigate a suspicious package, a hostage situation involving explosives or a potential suicide bomber. In these cases, the SABT utilizes specialized detection equipment like X-ray machines or bomb-sniffing canines. The SABT may then coordinate personnel and resources to ensure public safety, initiate dialogue or neutralize the devices.
SABTs are expected to provide the following services as part of their jobs:
- Provide expert advice about a crisis incident potentially involving explosive devices
- Maintain technical expertise and operational skills for utilizing robotic devices and other bomb disposal equipment
- Conduct dialogues with bomb-wielding individuals
- Instruct fire, police and other first responders on appropriate responses to ensure public safety
- Analyze and neutralize explosive devices
- Maintain comprehensive knowledge of available bomb types including WMDs
- Recertify every three years through the Hazardous Devices School
Special Agent Bomb Technician Program Salary
Special Agent Bomb Technicians are, as the name denotes, all Special Agents and, therefore, subject to the FBI’s standard salary structure. Although it is possible to have a GS-10 pay rating, most Special Agent Bomb Technicians receive a higher rating due to the five year period in which they must first serve as Agents in the field. Like other Special Agents, SABTs who remain in the field may reach a final pay grade of GS-13. This may be increased if they obtain a supervisor or executive position. The salary ranges for these pay grades in 2012 were:
These are only the base salary and are usually adjusted for cost of living and Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), which is usually an additional 25 percent of salary.
Want to find out more about becoming a bomb technician? Learn about the FBI’s hazardous devices school here.