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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward
information management system, and significantly reducing the size of its backlog of examination requests. Laboratory staffing generally was adequate to manage the incoming workload, but backlogged requests continued to interfere with the timely analysis of incoming examination requests. The audit found that the backlog could increase as a result of unusually resource-intensive cases. We concluded that if these conditions are not addressed serious consequences may result, such as delays in making arrests and bringing offenders to trial.29
Department of Defense (DOD)
DOD’s forensic requirements are growing beyond the traditional realm of criminal investigations, casualty investigations, and medical examiner functions toward more intelligence and counterintelligence functions. DOD’s activities are primarily mission oriented, but they also serve specific functional roles in criminal investigations. A DOD Forensic Sciences Committee provides advice on forensic science activities across the department.
Like other crime laboratories, DOD has capabilities in most of the forensic science disciplines. Its major forensic entities include the Criminal Investigation Laboratory, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the Cyber Crime Center ($20 million annually), and the Central Identification Laboratory ($1 million annually), all of which are ASCLD/LAB accredited.30 The Army also maintains the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains, with more than 5 million DNA samples primarily from military service members. It also maintains a searchable database of DNA profiles from detainees and known or suspected terrorists. The Criminal Investigation Laboratory provides worldwide forensic laboratory services, training, and research and development (R&D) to all DOD investigative agencies.
DOD currently is developing a “Defense Forensic Enterprise System” to more centrally manage, integrate, and coordinate across the Services for both criminal investigation and warfighter operations, as well as to serve homeland security functions.31 Part of the system is the Joint Expeditionary Forensic Facilities, which are modular by design for deployment purposes
Office of the Inspector General. Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 2005-March 31, 2006. April 8, 2006. Available at www.usdoj.gov/oig/semiannual/0605/message.htm. Also see U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Audit Division, Audit Report 06-15. March 2006. Follow-Up Audit of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Forensic Science Laboratories Workload Management.
L.C. Chelko, Director, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory. Presentation to the committee. September 21, 2007.
R. Tontarski, Chief, Forensic Analysis Division, CID Command, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory. Presentation to the committee. September 21, 2007.