Nov 06 2008

City to become 'explosives capital' Groundbreaking today on national training center

The aviation, missile and other Army programs on Redstone Arsenal will welcome a new government neighbor this morning during groundbreaking ceremonies for the National Center for Explosives Training and Research.

When the Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives opens the center in 2010, it will include three explosives ranges, a laboratory, eight classrooms, conference facilities and office space for ATF personnel and the bureau's federal, state, local and international law-enforcement partners.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, who helped secure federal money for the project, is to attend today's ceremony with acting ATF Director Michael Sullivan, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip and Gary Nenninger, a senior Army Aviation and Missile Command administrator, among others.

Shelby said the center "is a critically-needed training facility that will provide federal, state and local law enforcement with one-stop training in dealing with explosives.

"As the war on terrorism continues, most experts expect that explosives, from homemade bombs to improvised explosive devices, will continue to be one of our nation's biggest challenges," Shelby said in a statement. "The ATF will now lead explosives, forensics and technology research at Huntsville's NCETR, the 'Explosives Capital of the World.'"