Global Counter-IED MapPolice counter-IED units

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

atfLocation: Washington, US


Type: Police

The ATF aims to protect the public from crimes involving firearms, explosives, arson, and the diversion of tobacco products. It does this by regulating lawful commerce in firearms and explosives and providing worldwide support to law enforcement, public safety, and industry partners.

In regard to explosives, the ATF role includes regulating and educating the explosives industry on the safety and regulation of explosives, as well as protecting the public from inadequate storage and security. Their main role is to prevent the misuse of commercial explosives.

Explosives covered include: dynamite and other high explosives, black powder, pellet powder, initiating explosives, detonators, safety fuses, squibs, detonating cord, igniter cord, and igniters.

As part of the International Response Team program foreign governments may request that ATF provide technical/forensic assistance and oversight in arson and explosives investigations. They have provided assistance in Albania, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

The ATF also houses the United States Bomb Data Center (BDC) that is also part of the International Bomb Data Center Working Group, and the National Center for Explosives Training and Research. As part of its BDC work the ATF monitor explosive incidents and engage with other experts nationally and internationally to share information of IEDs. The training center is typically frequented by military and other law enforcement personnel, as well as industry partners.

This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.