After a 45-year partnership with the U.S. Army, the FBI yesterday formally accepted primary responsibility for the Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, the facility that trains and certifies every one of the nation’s public safety bomb technicians.
The transition of responsibility ceremony, which occurred less than a week after homemade bombs exploded in New York and New Jersey, injuring 29 people, underscores the critical role the Hazardous Devices School (HDS) plays in the country’s national security. Some of the unexploded devices in last weekend’s incident were rendered safe by local bomb techs who received their training at the HDS.
“The bombing events in New York and New Jersey are a testament to the challenges faced by bomb technicians daily—and an unfortunate reminder of a threat that is both evolving and enduring,” noted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was on hand at Redstone Arsenal for the transition ceremony along with other Bureau and Army officials.
McCabe explained that the FBI has an obligation to provide “the best possible tools and training” to local, state, and federal bomb technicians and that the Bureau plans to significantly expand and upgrade the HDS facility over the next several years. The expansion will include state of the art facilities and equipment, he said, to ensure that the HDS “remains the nation’s single source of certified training for bomb technicians.”
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