The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ and Federal
Bureau of Investigation’s Arson and Explosives Intelligence Databases

Audit Report 05-01
October 2004
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix IV

Outline of the Features of the National Repository and BDC Databases

Database Details ATF National Repository FBI Bomb Data Center

  • Authorized National Repository staff
  • Access limited to one person within each ATF field division office
  • Read-only rights via a web-based querying feature to authorized state and local law enforcement agencies
  • A valid network username and password are required

  • Required software application provided by the Repository
  • Internet connection under mandatory connection provisions
  • Qualified law enforcement agencies must meet certain requirements and comply with specific conditions
  • A valid network username and password are required

  • Online via a secure network, accessible through a virtual private network
  • Different level of access to members of the BDC/SIG, which is obtainable when certain criteria are met
  • LEO members who meet certain requirements
  • A valid network username and password are required
Data Collection

  • Electronically transferred from N-Force through an acceptance or cancel option made available to the end user.
  • Hardcopy via mail, fax, email, reports of investigations, photographs, and phone calls.

  • Electronically from members that have access to BATS.
  • Hardcopy reports from an investigator's notes taken during an investigation or from reports from an agency's case management system.

  • Electronically into AIRS by members of the LEO and BDC/SIG
  • Hardcopy via mail or fax, on required incident and activity report forms
  • Activity reports submissions are restricted to Special Agent Bombing Technicians and bomb squad members24
User Interface25

  • Patterned after Windows Explorer with file structured for data storage
  • Customized toolbars
  • Navigational buttons for moving from one section to another
  • Data validation per work sections
  • Wizard guide
  • Incident search options
  • Different field types for letters and special characters
  • Drop down/pop-up boxes for selecting data
  • Drag and drop functions for merging records
  • Duplicate record reconciliation screens
  • Computer generated incident number
  • Hot key commands entered from the keyboard
  • Record sorting options
  • Editing features
  • Theft/loss reporting
  • Tracing of explosives
  • Automated data loading via web interface from federal reporting agencies
  • Imaging
  • Web-based querying and reporting
  • Printable reports

  • Web-based browser for productive use by the users
  • Maintenance screens to create and update records
  • Search options by incident, subject, or device
  • Import/export information to other users
  • Computer generated record number
  • Restriction/unrestricted options for data sharing
  • Geographic information system
  • Edit features
  • Printable reports

  • Web-style controls for productive use by the end users
  • Different work modes and section identifiers
  • Navigational buttons for moving from one section to another
  • Validation indicators per work section
  • User's guide link for referencing
  • Search features
  • Required field denotations
  • Drop down boxes
  • Duplicate entry detection
  • Computer generated report numbers
  • Categorization of reports in "draft" or "final" status
  • Printable reports
Data Field Categories26

  • Incident information
  • Suspects
  • Investigation participation
  • Evidence components

  • Incident
  • Investigator information
  • Incident details
  • Devices
  • Subjects/business information

  • Nature of Incident
  • Nature of Activity
  • Reporting Agency Data
  • Incident Data
  • Device Data
Types of outputs

  • Automated statistical summary reports
  • Standard reports per record numbers
  • Tracing reports
  • Reports from data extractions from AEXIS, NFIRS, and the UCR

  • Incident reports per record entry
  • Audit reports for managerial review
  • Management reports for the assessment an agency's performance

  • Multiple outputs in PDF, HTML, or Excel format for various scenarios by the end users or BDC staff
Sharing capabilities

  • Authorized members of the Repository staff
  • ATF field divisions
  • Information provided upon request to the law enforcement community by mail, fax, or telephone by AEXIS staff
  • Authorized members of the law enforcement community with read-only rights provided by ATF staff

  • Law enforcement agencies that have access to BATS under restricted or unrestricted options

  • Authorized members of BDC/SIG and LEO
  • Information provided upon request to the law enforcement community by mail, fax, or telephone by BDC staff

Source: This analysis is based on information obtained from the FBI's Bomb Data Center and the ATF's National Repository.


  1. These reports contain data on activities on training exercises that are specific to this segment of the law enforcement community.

  2. The purpose of this section of the analysis is to display the features available to an end user in interacting with the system to obtain arson and explosive intelligence information. The user interface for the AEXIS system should be viewed from the standpoint of the end user being the Repository staff interacting with the system to obtain arson and explosive intelligence information upon request to a given law enforcement agency.
  3. The available data fields within each of the respective categories are listed in detail in Appendix V.