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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 17, 2017
Contact: Public Affair Division

The ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research Announces 2017 Raven's Challenge XI Interoperability Exercise

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR), in partnership with the U.S. Army Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) G-38 – Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), announce the 2017 Raven's Challenge XI Interoperability Exercise, a national training event to prepare and counter the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 
The exercise will run at multiple locations throughout the U.S. between March 12-Aug. 4 as follows:
  • March 19-24, Pinal Airpark in Marana, Ariz.
  • April 9-14, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in North Vernon, Ind.
  • April 9-14, Camp Dawson in Kingwood, W.V.
  • June 25-30, Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • July 30-Aug. 4, Camp Pendleton in Miramar, Calif.
The Raven’s Challenge began in 2004 as an ATF-led training exercise for both military EOD teams and public safety bomb squads (PSBS) in Seattle, Wash. The exercise matured into what is now the largest EOD/PSBS training exercise in the world. The Raven’s Challenge is funded by the U.S. Army and is executed by ATF and partner agencies including the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. 
This annual, interagency counter-IED (C-IED) exercise incorporates scenarios focused on capabilities between public safety bomb squads and military EOD teams in operational environments. It involves EOD teams from the U.S. Air Force (USAF), Army, Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), including their active duty, reserve, and guard components; state and local PSBS; Departments of Defense; Department of Justice; DHS; international law enforcement; and military and industry partners. The close collaboration and participation of these organizations is a testament to the C-IED expertise and professionalism of all involved and the importance of the subject matter. The Raven’s Challenge objectives tie directly to guiding policy regarding C-IED national preparedness efforts.
The 2016 Raven’s Challenge X Inoperability Exercise was an overwhelming success which resulted in the training of more than 800 law enforcement and military EOD technicians from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Bahamas and United Arab Emirates. Participants trained in select IED challenges; including IEDs encountered in diverse environments, vehicle-borne IEDs, and IED attacks on transportation systems. The training increased the interoperability and familiarity of local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and prepared military participants to fight and win on today’s global IED battlefield. This year’s event promises to be just as challenging.
The Raven’s Challenge continues to grow public safety partnerships between international, state and local jurisdictions for the prevention, protection, mitigation and response of man-made threats our nation and communities face. This exercise is also in direct support of the National Preparedness Goal formed out of the Presidential Policy Directive-8: National Preparedness, which describes the nation’s approach to preparing for the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to the security of the United States. This full-scale exercise embodies the highest level of effort to achieve the overall goal of national preparedness.
ATF NCETR consolidates all of the agency’s key explosives, fire, canine and response operations out of Huntsville, Ala., with two actual training locations. It consists of the Explosives Enforcement and Training Division; Explosives Research and Development Division; and the Fire Investigation and Arson Enforcement Division, all located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. There is also the National Canine Division in Front Royal, Va., and the National Explosives Task Force in Washington, D.C.
ATF provides outstanding training facilities and the unmatched expertise of its training staff in the delivery of life-saving advanced explosives and arson training for our nation’s explosives handlers, bomb technicians, criminal investigators and military EOD teams. The main NCETR facility and explosives ranges in Huntsville make this center a unique resource in the fight against explosives-related violent crime and the government-wide C-IED effort.
To see more information about the Raven's Challenge Interoperability Exercise, view a video about last year’s event at