New TSA canine training center opens in San Antonio

National Press Release
Friday, March 4, 2016

SAN ANTONIO – The Transportation Security Administration today announced the dedication of a new canine training center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The new facility is designed to support the mission to provide, train and certify highly effective explosives detection canine teams. The 25,000 square-foot facility has seven new classrooms and a 100-seat auditorium and administrative space, along with a parking lot and courtyard. The new building is a partnership among TSA, JBSA-Lackland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which built the facility in a little more than a year.

The new $12 million training facility is “an ideal complement to the existing training center campus, where our canines and their handlers come to learn the skills necessary to demonstrate proficiency in four key elements: the canine’s ability to recognize explosives odors, the handler’s ability to interpret the canine’s change of behavior, the handler’s ability to conduct logical and systematic searches and the team’s ability to locate the explosives odor source,” said TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held earlier today to mark the completion of the facility.

The program outgrew the original facility, which was located on base but not adjacent to where the dogs and handlers train at venues that replicate real-life scenarios. The new facility is now across the street from the field training center and kennels. The structure will be certified at the LEED Silver standard for sustainability set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design of the U.S. Green Building Council. This energy-efficient, water-conserving building was erected using green resources and materials as part of federal leadership in sustainable construction. 

TSA trains and deploys both TSA-led and state and local law enforcement-led canine teams in support of day-to-day activities that protect the transportation domain and provide a visible deterrent to terrorism. Annually, TSA trains about 250 canine teams at JBSA-Lackland to operate in the aviation, multimodal, mass transit, and cargo environments.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officers from across the country travel to San Antonio to take the 10 - 12 week courses. They are paired with a canine teammate and undergo strenuous training. These very effective, mobile teams can quickly locate and identify dangerous materials that may present a threat to transportation systems.

The classrooms will be used to conduct sessions on canine health and wellness care, obedience, search patterns and techniques, explosives handling and safety, and myriad other mission critical topics. Thirteen indoor venues are located on the premises that mimic a variety of transportation sites, such as a cargo facility, an airport gate, a checkpoint, a baggage claim area, the interior of an aircraft, a vehicle parking lot, a light rail station, a light rail car, and an air cargo facility.