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BORTAC is an initialism for the United States "Border Patrol Tactical Unit". BORTAC is the tactical/special response arm of the United States Border Patrol.

BORTAC Qualification Badge.svg
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyUnited States
Operations jurisdictionUnited States
General nature
HeadquartersBiggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

Parent agencyU.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 Immigration and Naturalization Service detention facilities, but this mission is now handled by the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement & Removal Operations (ERO), Special Response Teams (SRT). 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.[1]


BORTAC headquarters is co-located with its training unit at Biggs Army Airfield, within Fort Bliss U.S. Army base 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.


BORTAC is authorized a wide range of weapons systems such as:


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 a Kevlar assault vest. Boots worn by individual team members depend on the operator's personal preference and situation.


Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) and Laredo Sector Special Response Team—conduct a room-by-room search of a New Orleans hotel following Hurricane Katrina

During the 1980s War on Drugs, BORTAC worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration conducting counter narcotics operations in South America during Operation Snowcap.[2]

In April 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.[2]

Following the World Trade Center Attack in September 2001, BORTAC personnel were sent to high-risk areas around the country to help secure against future attacks.[2]

In 2002, BORTAC worked jointly with the United States Secret Service securing sports venues at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.[2]

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.[2]

In December 2010, BORTAC Agent Brian Terry was killed while pursuing members of a gang that operated along the border of Mexico and Arizona.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ "Napolitano confirms gang killed border agent in battle -".

External links[edit]