The mission of the U.S. Bomb Data Center (USBDC) is to provide:
- Arson and explosives statistics utilizing all available sources of information to ATF, other federal, state and local law enforcement and fire service agencies and the public.
- Intelligence information in support of arson and explosives-related criminal investigations by maintaining a database that can be queried with data from all federal agencies and as many state/local law enforcement and fire service agencies as possible.
- Information regarding current arson and explosives issues to federal, state and local law enforcement and fire service agencies. Compiled data necessary to describe trends and patterns related to arson and criminal misuse of explosives.
- A method to enhance communication among investigators working to solve similar types of arson and explosives cases, as well as access to selected arson and explosives reference materials.
- Resource material to assist investigators with the identification of explosive material and techniques used to commit crimes involving arsons and explosives.
In 1996, recognizing ATF’s expertise in the investigation of fire/arson and explosives related incidents, Congress passed legislation directing the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a national repository of information regarding arson incidents and the actual and suspected criminal misuse of explosives throughout the United States.
The Secretary of the Treasury tasked ATF with carrying out this congressional mandate. ATF established the national repository of information on incidents involving arson and the criminal misuse of explosives. This information is available for statistical analysis and research, investigative leads and intelligence research. The USBDC incorporates information from various federal law enforcement sources and the U.S. Fire Administration, including the ATF Arson & Explosives Information System (AEXIS).
The USBDC is available to assist other federal, state, and local law enforcement and fire service investigators with arson and explosives investigations. The national repository is staffed with ATF special agents, intelligence research specialists and support personnel who are all experienced in arson and explosives related investigations.
The USBDC provides statistical information to authorized user groups via a secured website and help authorized investigators identify case-specific similarities regarding explosive and incendiary device construction, methods of initiation, types of fuels/explosives used and methods of operation.
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred the law enforcement duties and responsibilities of ATF from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of Justice (DOJ). In 2004, the U.S. Attorney General ordered the consolidation of all DOJ arson and explosives databases into what is now known as the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS).