The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR), in collaboration with the U.S. Army Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) G-38 – Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), has announced the 2019 Raven’s Challenge Interoperability Exercise, a national training event to prepare and counter the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
(A sneak peek at the Department of the Army funded exercise called Raven’s Challenge. Under the direction of Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives EOD Techs from around the country get the opportunity to get real world training on a plethora of explosive problems. Courtesy of ATF and YouTube.)
The exercise will run at multiple locations throughout the United States, March 19 through July 20, 2019 as follows:
March 10-15, Camp Blanding in Starke, FL
April 8-12, State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, NY
May 6-10, YMCA of the Rockies in Winter Park, CO
June 10-14, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in North Vernon, IN
(Learn More. Raven’s Challenge is a series of interoperability exercises that are designed to give Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians and Public Safety Bomb technicians the opportunity to merge their resources and perform Counter-IED operations together in a realistic environment. Courtesy of ATFHQ and YouTube.)
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.
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 along with partner agencies which includes the Army, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
This annual, interagency counter-IED (C-IED) exercise will have an emphasis on subterranean operations and evidence collection procedures.
Scenarios will 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 (USAF), Army, U.S. Navy (USN), and U.S. 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.
International exposure has increased to include seven partnering NATO nations involved in the 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.
The Raven’s Challenge objectives tie directly to guiding policy regarding C-IED national preparedness efforts.
The 2018 Raven’s Challenge executed 374 training iterations comprising more than 1,000 personnel involved in the participation and execution of the exercise.
(Learn More. Raven’s Challenge is a multi-agency Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) exercise involving military and public safety bomb squads to include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is held in multiple locations throughout the continental United States. Courtesy of ATFHQ and YouTube.)
This includes EOD units within the U.S. Armed Services; state and local PSBS; federal Special Agent Bomb Technicians (SABT), investigators, observers, and various support personnel.
Exercise participants from 32 states and seven countries participated in last year’s Raven’s Challenge Raven’s Challenge continues to grow public safety partnerships between international, state and local jurisdictions for the prevention, protection, mitigation and response to man-made threats faced by our nation and its communities.
This close collaboration, coupled with tailored scenarios, which 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 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 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.
(Learn More. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal teams are among several agencies from around the world that take part in Raven’s Challenge Interoperability Exercise opportunities annually. The EOD division from within the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Readiness directorate coordinates participation of Air Force teams and ensures they have the tools and equipment to excel. Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center public affairs specialist, Brian Goddin, reports on the multi-agency, integrated Raven’s Challenge exercises from Camp Dawson Army Training Site, West Virginia. Courtesy of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and YouTube. Posted on Aug 14, 2018.)