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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Fact Sheet

Field Division: 

For Immediate Release

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Contact: Public Affairs Division

National Center For Explosives Training And Research

The National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR) consolidates the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) 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 (EOD) operators at the NCETR.

ATF is the only U.S. Government (USG) agency with fire and arson investigation as part of its core mission, and the programs that support that mission are now located at NCETR. ATF serves as the fire investigation and training experts for the USG.

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-improvised explosives device (IED) effort.

Some of the resources and capabilities at NCETR include:

  • Providing basic and advanced explosives and IED training
  • Providing explosives scene processing training
  • Providing advanced explosives disposal techniques training
  • Providing identification, process and disposal of homemade explosives (HME) training
  • Processing of complex homemade explosives and post blast scenes training
  • Conducting explosives and IED research
  • Developing explosives technical information and intelligence
  • Program oversight of explosives detection canine imprinting and training
  • Program oversight of explosives detection canine operational support
  • Providing IED render-safe operational support
  • Utilizing advanced IED disassembly techniques
  • Multi-discipline explosives resource center for subject matter guidance or expertise
  • Providing explosives-related subject matter expertise for operational response support
  • Explosives training facilities and ranges
  • 83,500 square feet of administrative, laboratory, classroom, training and conference rooms within the facility on a 27-acre site
  • More than 1000 acres of explosive ranges
  • Characterization of HMEs
  • Optimizing the post blast recovery of DNA
  • Documenting and characterizing foreign explosive initiators
  • Improving the lock standards for explosive magazines
  • Providing on-scene assistance after an explosion
  • Rendering destructive device (bomb) determinations
  • Providing expert testimony regarding destructive devices
  • Providing testing and competent authority review of new explosive materials
  • Integration of ATF’s fire investigation and arson enforcement operational and training programs, and support to the field through the National Response Teams (NRT), Certified Fire Investigators (CFI), and bomber and arsonist profilers

Operationally, NCETR oversees the NRT, which responds to major bombings, explosions, IED incidents, as well as major fire and arson incidents requiring resources beyond the capabilities of our state and local partner agencies. NCETR also oversees the combined Certified Explosives Specialist (CES) and Explosive Enforcement Officer (EEO) program, which consist of ATF’s subject matter experts for explosions, bombings, explosives, and IED investigations related to criminal activity. Not only does NCETR manage the training of these personnel, but it also coordinates the operational responses of ATF personnel to large incidents nationwide, and worldwide on request from foreign partners through the U.S. State Department.

ATF is responsible for investigating the criminal acts involving explosives, bombings and explosive threats which are non-terrorism related resulting in more than 90 percent of all nationwide incidents. In addition, ATF investigates the origin and cause of accidental explosions.

NCETR provides training to our military partners on a frequent basis. Through a long partnership and a full-time liaison position with the Department of Defense (DoD), ATF delivers the Homemade Explosives-Identification, Process and Disposal (HME-IPD) course to a mixed class of public safety and military bomb technicians. NCETR program personnel have also developed HME-related and advanced post-blast investigation courses in support of requests by the U.S. military.

For more information on ATF’s programs, please visit the website at

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