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Fact Sheet - U.S. Bomb Data Center

June, 2020
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Fast Facts

  1. ATF’s USBDC is the sole source responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence data about bombings, arson and criminal misuse of explosives investigations.

  2. ATF’s USBDC skilled technicians use statistical modeling to identify trends and leads about explosives and arson cases.

  3. ATF’s USBDC serves as the national archive that holds nearly 584,000 bombing and arson related facts, evidence and investigation materials.

USBDC collects information and intelligence about the investigation of bombings, arson and the criminal use of explosives to support interagency criminal cases.  USBDC’s mission also includes increasing regional and national situational awareness, assist federal law enforcement agents; and prevent violent crime and acts of terrorism. The system produces statistical and technical information, as well as trends related to the criminal use of explosives and arson.

USBDC provides services such as the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS), arson and explosives intelligence, explosives tracing, and explosive theft and loss reporting in a single, web-based system. In addition, USBDC serves as an intelligence seeking information to support ongoing investigations. USBDC users include local, state, federal, tribal, military and international law enforcement partners.

The Numbers

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261

criminal cases were supported by USBDC nationwide, in fiscal year 2019.

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12,446

law enforcement personnel are authorized BATS system users. 

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583,662

bombing and arson related facts, evidence and investigation materials are stored in BATS.

Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS)

ATF's annual Ravens Challenge USBDC tactical training event BATS is an online case management system that provides local, state and federal arson and explosives investigators with free access to the latest data from across the nation. BATS provides Criminal Investigators with links to criminal case information and data to help them investigate violent crime with a nexus to explosives and fire. Along with BATS, the USBDC also produces unclassified public reports each year, including the Explosives Incident Report (EIR) and the Arson Incident Report (AIR), to share emerging trends in violent crime and acts of terrorism. 

USBDC instructors provide specific training on the use of BATS to various criminal investigative agencies throughout the country during the year. Instructors are also on hand at the annual Ravens’ Challenge exercise; a series of joint interoperability exercises hosted by ATF’s National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR) and the U.S. Department of Defense. Instructors also provide BATS specific training during scheduled courses at NCETR and the FBI’s Hazardous Device School (HDS).

A forensic specialist examines fragments of an exploded pipe bombIntelligence Branch

The Intelligence Branch of USBDC provides investigative intelligence and case support, including expert witness testimony, to local, state and federal agencies involved in the investigation of explosives and fire related matters. There are two units housed within the branch: the industry operations investigations unit and the explosives tracing unit. The industry operations investigations unit provides intelligence to ATF industry operations and criminal investigators on the theft and loss of explosives throughout the United States. The explosives tracing unit provides tracing information on the interstate and international movement of explosives as well as original manufacturing information.

New Enhancements and Outreach

USBDC enhanced its operational capability in 2018 by establishing the Interagency Fire Intelligence Exchange (IFIX) with interagency partners at the Federal, State, Local and International level. IFIX serves as an informational hub of intelligence regarding emerging and historical fire threats and compiles data from local, state federal and international agencies. IFIX promotes a collaborative information-sharing environment among authorities charged with investigating crimes involving arson and the use of fire as a weapon. They also provide arson and explosives training to interagency partners as part of this collaboration initiative.

Combating Violent Crime

In the past, police and fire investigation officials relied on disparate systems across multiple jurisdictions to piece together data on arson, explosives and bombing criminal incidents. This often caused delays in solving violent crimes, as a result, in 1996, Congress passed legislation to establish a national repository of data on arson, bombings and explosives incidents. Due to the increase in criminal explosives activities as well as criminal use of fire, ATF developed BATS and mobile BATS online platforms to provide investigative connectivity. These cross-jurisdictional systems are designed to help law enforcement officials and investigators quickly generate leads and track down suspects for prosecution.

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