Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Public Affairs Division – Washington, DC
Contact: Public Affairs Division
National Center For Explosives Training And Research
The National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR) comprises the National Canine Training and Operations Center (NCTOC) located in Front Royal, Va., and the Explosives Enforcement and Training Division (EETD) and the Explosives Research and Development Division (RDD), both located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The NCETR main facility is an 83,500 square foot conference, training, and research center that opened in October 2010. NCETR is the home of ATF’s explosives operational programs, training, and research. The NCETR facilities and approximately 1,000 acres of explosives ranges make this Center a unique resource in the fight against explosives-related violent crime and the whole-of-government counter-improvised explosives device (IED) effort.
NCETR manages all ATF canine training initiatives and operational responses, ATF's certified explosives specialist (CES) program operations, Explosives Technology Branch operations, and explosives enforcement officer operational responses. It provides basic and advanced explosives training and research that use lessons learned and best practices to safeguard the public and reduce deaths and injuries from explosives crimes and accidents and provides focused support to ATF's core mission of investigating the criminal misuse of explosives and regulating the industry, aligning this support with the whole-of-government counter-IED effort.
NCETR develops, coordinates, conducts, and facilitates the delivery of basic and advanced training courses for ATF personnel, U.S. and international law enforcement partners, the U.S. military, and other federal agencies. The Center’s goals are to foster explosives-related expertise and to promote interagency partnerships.
Explosives Enforcement and Training Division
Explosives Enforcement and Training Division (EETD) oversees ATF's explosives training and explosives enforcement programs; and manages the CES program. The mission of EETD is twofold — to lead the whole of government in combating the criminal use of explosives and to reduce injury and death to explosives investigators and first responders.
- The Advanced Explosives Disposal Training course. This mission critical training provides investigators and bomb technicians with the hands-on experience and instruction to deal with the most dangerous challenges bomb technicians routinely face today — explosives disposal.
- The Homemade Explosives (HME) course is an innovative program designed to provide deploying military bomb technicians and local, state, and federal investigators the skills to identify the hazards of mixed or partially mixed precursor chemicals, sample, and identify suspected chemicals, collect evidence, document scenes, use remote methods of removing, and safely dispose of HME hazards.
- The Postblast Investigation courses, tailored to investigators, as well as Department of State personnel and international customers, that provide a baseline and standardization of evidence collection to benefit investigators.
EETD also provides training for and oversees the policy for 233 CESs who are ATF's principal explosives investigators and liaisons with federal, state and local bomb technicians.
Research and Development Division
The Research and Development Division (RDD) oversees both the explosive Research and Development Program and the Explosives Technology Program. As part of these activities, the RDD conducts externally and internally funded explosives research to support the ATF mission to enforce and regulate the explosives laws of the United States. Currently, the RDD is conducting explosives research, testing, and general explosives support for the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security, and ATF. These research efforts include:
- Characterization of HMEs;
- Optimizing the post blast recovery of DNA;
- Documenting and characterizing foreign explosive initiators; and
- Improving the lock standards for explosive magazines.
Additionally, the RDD provides technical and operational support to field operations through:
- Providing on-scene assistance after an explosion;
- Rendering destructive device (bomb) determinations;
- Providing expert testimony regarding destructive devices; and
- Providing testing and competent authority review of new explosive materials.
National Canine Training and Operations Center
The National Canine Training and Operations Center (NCTOC) trains explosives and accelerant detection canines for federal, state, local and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies. ATF has trained approximately 800 explosives detection canines and approximately 157 accelerant detection canines since 1991. These ATF-certified canine and handler teams are located throughout the United States and in 21 countries.
Through a partnership with the Joint IED Defeat Organization, ATF has collaborated with the HME Military Working Dog Pre-deployment Course to train military working dogs on the detection of HME placed by insurgents in theater. This program has saved dozens of lives. The NCTOC also sponsors groundbreaking training to counter emerging threats such as those presented by suicide bombers.
For more information on ATF’s programs, please visit the website at www.atf.gov.