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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Public Affairs Division
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research Announces 2023 Raven’s Challenge Interoperability Exercise

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Center for Explosives Training and Research, in partnership with the U.S. Army Headquarters, Department of the Army G-38 – Explosive Ordnance Disposal, announces the 2023 Raven's Challenge Interoperability Exercise, an international training event to prepare and counter the threat of improvised explosive devices. The exercise runs at multiple locations throughout the U.S. as follows:

  • Feb. 26 - March 3, Pinal Airpark, Marana, Arizona
  • March 26 - 31, Fort A.P. Hill, Bowling Green, Virginia
  • April 23 - 28, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa
  • June 4 - 9, Fort Knox, Radcliff, Kentucky

Raven’s Challenge began in 2004 as an ATF-led training exercise for military EOD teams and civilian public safety bomb squads in Seattle. The exercise matured into what is now the largest EOD/PSBS training exercise in the world. Last year’s challenge had more than 820 participants and training staff from the U.S. and six countries.

Raven’s Challenge is funded by the U.S. Army and is executed by ATF and partner agencies including the U.S. Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local and state law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

This annual, interagency counter-IED exercise continues to be the cutting edge of EOD/PSBS training. Focusing on emerging threats and scene exploitation are key elements to anticipate future IED threats. Exercise scenarios focus on capabilities between public safety bomb squads and military EOD teams in operational environments. It involves EOD teams from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, including active duty, reserve, and guard components; local and state PSBS; Department of Defense; Department of Justice; and international law enforcement. International participation has increased to include not only North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations but also other European and North African nations. Raven’s Challenge is a NATO-recognized C-IED exercise.

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. Supporting military and public safety bomb technician annual training requirements, Raven’s Challenge guides policy regarding C-IED national preparedness efforts.

Raven’s Challenge continues to grow public safety partnerships between local, state and international jurisdictions for the prevention, protection, mitigation, and response to man-made threats faced by nations and their communities. These collaborations, coupled with tailored scenarios that expose participants to emerging threats in diverse environments, keep this full-scale exercise extremely relevant and at the cutting edge of C-IED global exercises.

ATF NCETR consolidates the agency’s key explosives, fire, canine, and response operations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. NCETR consists of the Explosives Enforcement and Training Division; Explosives Research and Development Division; and the Fire Investigation and Arson Enforcement Division. Other components include the National Canine Division in Front Royal, Virginia, and the National Explosives Task Force in Washington, District of Columbia.

ATF provides training facilities and the expertise of its training staff in delivering 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 efforts.

For more information and videos, visit Raven's Challenge Interoperability Exercise.

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