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Better Bomb Containment: To Build or Not to Build

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2005
2 pages
This article focuses on the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) current priorities in the development of bomb-squad technology.
In the later 1990s, NIJ funded the development of an affordable, portable containment vessel for pipe bombs, which are the most prevalent type of explosive devices faced by bomb squads; however, the prototype containment vessel failed under testing. Before NIJ would commit to additional funding to rectify prototype problems, it asked the National Law Enforcement and Correction Technology Center-Rocky Mountain, which is NIJ's "Bomb Center," to conduct a needs assessment survey of bomb technicians. The survey found that only a slight majority (56 percent) gave high priority to the development of a lightweight portable bomb containment system. This finding was due to the standard practice for bomb squads to neutralize explosive devices at the scene rather than transport them to other locations for neutralization. Based on these survey results, NIJ is not currently investing additional funds in bomb containment vessels. Its focus is on information technology to enhance bomb-related information sharing, radio-controlled bomb mitigation, and suicide bomber detection. These efforts have produced an affordable bomb robot that meets more than 90 percent of the performance requirements preferred by bomb squads. Also, an NIJ-funded effort to establish a national strategy for dealing with radio-controlled bombs was started at the end of 2004.

Date Published: January 1, 2005