USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Canine Training and Evaluation Section (CTES)


The primary mission of the Canine Training & Evaluation Section is to provide effective learning environments and opportunities, utilizing current and relevant training curricula and evaluation methodologies, to enable and challenge National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program Participants, and other designated transportation security professionals, to perform their duties and responsibilities in a highly effective manner. 


Provide, train, and certify highly effective canine teams.


OLE/FAMS Canine Training and Evaluation Section (CTES) prepare canines and handlers to support the National Canine Program (NCP) mission, and specifically to serve on the front lines of America's War on Terror. These very effective, mobile teams can quickly locate and identify dangerous materials that may present a threat to transportation systems. Just as important, they can quickly rule out the presence of dangerous materials in unattended packages, structures, vehicles, and on passengers allowing the free and efficient flow of commerce.

Law Enforcement Officers and Transportation Security Inspectors from all over the country travel to the Explosives Detection Canine Handler Course, and/or the Passenger Screening Handler Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. They are paired with a canine teammate, and the teams simultaneously learn explosives detection in an intense training environment. These canines are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Hungarian Vizsla and many other types of canines that are used in the program because of their keen noses and affinity for this type of work.

After canine and handler are paired, the new team completes a rigorous 10-week course to learn to locate and identify a wide variety of dangerous materials while working as an effective unit, or they could attend a 12-week course that teaches them the fine intricacies of passenger screening with a canine. This training includes search techniques for aircraft, baggage, vehicles, and transportation structures, as well as procedures for identifying dangerous materials and "responding" or letting the handler know when these materials are present.

Latest revision: 11 February 2013