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  3. The Field Operations Academy: What to Expect

The Field Operations Academy: What to Expect

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The CBP Field Operations Academy (FOA) is responsible for the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of training that supports the CBP Office of Field Operations mission.

CBP Officer Trainees marching in formation as part of drill and ceremony.

The FOA provides basic and advanced training to address the mission requirements of CBP Officers, Agriculture Specialists, Import Specialists, Entry Specialists, and Seized Property Specialists. Located in Glynco, Georgia within the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), the FOA employs a fully accredited program to prepare new trainees to become CBP Officers.

Law enforcement awareness and demeanor are exemplified and reinforced throughout the rigorous 89 day training program. Upon arrival, trainees are immediately indoctrinated into the law enforcement environment. While the training can be intense, the FOA ensures trainees have a fundamental understanding of the duties, obligations, and philosophies that are essential to work within a dynamic and fluid law enforcement environment.

Initial instruction teaches trainees basic drill and ceremony procedures, and provides an awareness of the Field Operations Academy guiding principles of Pride, Esprit De Corps, Professionalism, and Integrity, and CBP’s core values of Vigilance, Service to Country, and Integrity.

During their time at the FOA, trainees learn the technical and legal requirements of the job, and participate in a vigorous physical fitness and conditioning program. Trainees learn the proper methods for handling firearms, learn to safely operate a law enforcement vehicle, and comprehensively employ these skills in more than 200 interactive scenarios that replicate situations routinely encountered in the field. In order to graduate, trainees must successfully pass a total of eight written exams and 25 practical exercises specifically designed to demonstrate skills necessary for success in the field.

CBP Officer Trainees learning about basic law enforcement skills, anti-terrorism, interviewing techniques, and other topics to gain skills to complete training.

Classroom Training

CBP Officers are required to know and understand a variety of legal and technical procedures related to the enforcement of immigration and trade law. For the initial two-thirds of the training program trainees receive several hours of classroom instruction each day. Lessons in basic law enforcement skills, anti-terrorism, interviewing techniques, immigration law, trade law, search procedures, and other topics provides trainees with the foundation needed to complete training and begin their career as a CBP Officer.


CBP Officer Trainee practicing how to use firearms with expert instruction.

Firearms Training

Trainees receive expert instruction in Firearms Safety and Maintenance, Basic Marksmanship, CBP Specific Tactical Training, Scenario Based Training, Interactive Cover Drills, Situational Response, Reduced Light scenarios, and the CBP Practical Pistol Course that is recognized as the industry standard for law enforcement officers. CBP Officer Trainees receive a total of 77 hours of weapons handling training including familiarization with the Remington 870 shotgun and the Colt M4/A1 carbine. The training is constructed upon the building block approach that leads trainees to the point where they will understand and articulate the legal policy of their actions regarding firearms in the operational field environment.

Three CBP Officer Trainees, holding firearms, practicing how to apply basic tactical concepts and methodologies to resolve a variety of use of force scenarios.

Tactical Training

Trainees will learn and apply basic tactical concepts and methodologies to resolve a variety of use of force scenarios. Utilizing tactical transitions, prioritization, contingency planning, and situational response techniques the basic trainees will achieve skill sets critical to ensuring their safety in a variety of law enforcement situations they may encounter in the field.

Two CBP Officer Trainees learning how to apply techniques necessary to control life threatening bleeding while under fire.

Tactical Medical

The Tactical Medical (TACMED) for First Responders program is designed to provide Medical Threat Assessment techniques, which includes a medical plan for a tactical operation. Trainees will learn how to apply techniques necessary to control life threatening bleeding while under fire. Additionally, trainees will perform these techniques to treat both life threatening and non-life threatening injuries during tactical field care scenarios. During the program trainees will demonstrate lifting, moving and extracting victims from a hostile and rapidly evolving environment.

CBP Officer Trainees in Tactical Response Training practicing defensive tactics.

Physical Training

For the safety of themselves and others, CBP officers must be able to handle the physical rigors required on a day-to-day basis as well as respond to dangerous situations when necessary. CBP Officers are expected to move crates, crawl under vehicles, disassemble cars, and lift heavy boxes or luggage in search of hidden caches and other signs of illegal trafficking. CBP Officers are expected to respond to violent situations as they occur in a responsible, professional, and safe manner.

FOA uses a Tactical Response Training (TRT) curriculum that blends physical conditioning, arrest techniques, and defensive tactics into a single comprehensive program. Each class is designed to help trainees develop the physical ability and mental agility you need to achieve the Fitness Graduation Standards and make quick, competent decisions in a variety of use of force encounters. In addition to physical conditioning activities, trainees should expect extensive training in arrest techniques, defensive tactics, electronic control weapon (ECW), collapsible straight baton (CSB), oleoresin capsicum spray (OC), ground defense, and edged weapons.

To graduate, trainees must successfully meet the following Fitness Graduation Standards: 220 yard run in 45 seconds or less; 24 or more push-ups in one minute; and completion of a 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes or less.



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Practical Exercises

During the final portion of the 89-day training program at the FOA, trainees are challenged to use their skills to complete hundreds of practical exercises. With the help of tools, technology, and role player interactions trainees face a variety of “real life” situations and learn how to appropriately respond. Instructors provide trainees with real time critical feedback necessary to prepare the trainees for real world situations they will encounter after graduation.


CBP Officer Trainees learning how to apply interview and document verification techniques during practical exercises.

The CBP Field Operations Academy (FOA) provides centralized leadership, direction, and delivery of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Basic Training programs. We support the CBP mission and strategic goals through domestic and international training that safeguards the homeland at, and beyond, our borders.

FOA Guiding Principles:


The honor, courage, commitment, and self-respect that defines us as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


The mission, common spirit and dedication to each other that the Field Operations Academy imparts to the men and women of U.S. Customs & Border Protection in preparing them to safeguard our nation.


Those qualities which validate to the public that our men and women of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection have been trained to the highest law enforcement standards.


The duty-bound truth, core values, standard of conduct, and regulations that the Field Operations Academy instills into the men and women of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection


  • Last Modified: May 26, 2023