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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 15, 2016
Contact: Public Affairs Division

ATF's National Center for Explosives Training and Research Announces 2016 Raven's Challenge Interoperability Exercise

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR), in partnership with the U.S. Army, HQDA G-38 and Joint Program Office for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices, announce the 2016 Raven's Challenge X Interoperability Exercise, a national training event to prepare and counter the threat of improvised explosive devices.  The exercise will run between April 17 and June 24 at venues in Fort Wolters, Texas; the New York State Preparedness Training Center, Oriskany, N.Y.; Camp Blanding JRTC, Fla., and the SATSOP Nuclear Power Plant, Elma, Wash.

The Raven’s Challenge Interoperability Exercise began in 2004 as an ATF-led joint military explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and public safety bomb squads (PSBS) training event in Seattle, Wash. The exercise matured into what is now the largest EOD/PSBS training exercise in the world.

The Interoperability Exercise is an annual, interagency counter-IED exercise that incorporates scenarios focused on capabilities between public safety bomb squads and military EOD units in operational environments. The Raven’s Challenge exercise involves military EOD from all four services (Active Duty and National Guard), state and local PSBS, the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), international law enforcement, and military and industry partners. The close collaboration and participation of these organizations is a testament to the counter-IED expertise and professionalism of all involved and the importance of the subject matter. Raven’s Challenge objectives tie directly to guiding policy regarding counter-IED national preparedness efforts.

Last year’s 2015 Raven’s Challenge was an overwhelming success which resulted in the training of more than 1000 law enforcement and military EOD technicians from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Participants traveled to the four venues and participated in select IED challenges, including IEDs encountered in a maritime environment, 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 exercise is funded by the U.S. Army and is organized by a multi-agency team involving ATF, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army, the Transportation Security Administration as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement of DHS, the United States Secret Service, and state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. 

 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. Raven’s Challenge is also in direct support of the National Preparedness Goal formed out of the President’s 2011 published 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.

The NCETR consolidates ATF’s key explosives, fire, canine and response operations in Huntsville, Ala. NCETR consists of the Explosives Enforcement and Training Division, the Explosives Research and Development Division, and the Fire Investigation and Arson Enforcement Division, all located at Redstone Arsenal, along with 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 our military’s explosives ordnance disposal. The main NCETR facility and explosives ranges make this center an extremely unique resource in the fight against explosives-related violent crime and the whole-of-Government counter-IED effort.

For a video on last year’s Raven’s Challenge visit:


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