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Tel: 202 334-1713

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 Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community.

Project Scope

Congress called for the creation of an independent forensic science committee at the National Academy of Sciences to: "(1) assess the present and future resource needs of the forensic science community, to include state and local crime labs, medical examiners, and coroners; (2) make recommendations for maximizing the use of forensic technologies and techniques to solve crimes, investigate deaths, and protect the public; (3) identify potential scientific advances that may assist law enforcement in using forensic technologies and techniques to protect the public; (4) make recommendations for programs that will increase the number of qualified forensic scientists and medical examiners available to work in public crime laboratories; (5) disseminate best practices and guidelines concerning the collection and analysis of forensic evidence to help ensure quality and consistency in the use of forensic technologies and techniques to solve crimes, investigate deaths, and protect the public; (6) examine the role of the forensic community in the homeland security mission; (7) examine the interoperability of Automated Fingerprint Information Systems; and (8) examine additional issues pertaining to forensic science as determined by the Committee."

Meetings & Events

This website contains unedited verbatim presentations made by meeting participants and is not an official report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of other participants, the committee, or the National Academies.

November 14, 2008
Washington, DC

Meeting closed in its entirety

June 23-24, 2008
Washington, DC

Meeting closed in its entirety

March 24-25, 2008
Washington, DC

Meeting closed in its entirety

December 6-7, 2007
Washington, DC



* Glenn Langenburg: Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study, and Technology
* John Morgan: National Institute of Justice: Overview and Fingerprint Activities
* Kenneth Martin: International Association for Identification
* Vici Inlow and Deborah Leben: U.S. Secret Service and Forensics
* Itiel Dror: Cognitive Effects and Cognition of Forensic Experts
* P. Michael Murphy: Coroner System: Challenges and Opportunities
* Tom Witt: Survey of Non-Traditional Forensic Service Providers

September 20-21, 2007
Woods Hole, MA



* Barbara Gutman: Computer Forensics Standards: National Software Reference Library, Computer Forensics Tool Testing, Computer Forensics Reference Data Sets, PDA Forensics Research
* Peter D. Barnett: Teaching Ethics: A Case Approach
* James Burans, Ph.D.: The National Bioforensics Analysis Center
* Carole McCartney, Ph.D.: Forensics Science Regulation in England & Wales
* Michael R. Bromwich: Lessons Learned from the Investigation of the HPD Crime Lab
* William MacCrehan, Ph.D.: Catching Crooks with Chemistry: NIST Research, Current and Future Perspectives on Trace   
  Forensic Chemical Analysis
* Brandon L. Garrett, J.D. and Peter Neufeld, J.D.: Improper Use of Forensic Science in the First 200 Post-Conviction DNA    Exonerations
* Charles L. Cooke Jr., Ph.D.: Microbial Forensics: Gaps, Opportunities, and Issues
* Roger Koppl: Reducing Error Rates: A New Institutional Arrangement for Forensic Science
* Larry C. Chelko: Department of Defense Forensic Capabilities
* Richard Tontarski: U.S. Department of Defense Forensics Enterprise System

June 5th, 2007
Washington, DC



* Bruce Budowle, Ph.D: Forensic Science: Issues and Direction
*J.C. Upshaw Downs, M.D.: Federal Funding Issues: the Needs of the Medical Examiner
* Randy Hanzlick, M.D.: An Overview of Medical Examiner/Coroner Systems in The United States
* Peter T. Higgins: Fingerprint Data Exchange
* Peter D. Komarinski: Interoperability of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
* John Moalli, Sc.D.: Civil Forensics
* John Onstwedder III: AFIS Inter-Operability
* Richard W. Vorder Bruegge, Ph.D.: Forensic Photographic Comparison Analysis
* Victor Weedn, M.D., J.D.: Legal Impediment to Adequate Medicolegal Death Investigation

April 23-24th, 2007
Washington, DC



* Chris Asplen: Policy, Politics and the Phenomenon of Forensic DNA Technology
* Richard Bisbing: Forensic Hair Comparisons: Guidelines, Standards, Protocols, Quality Assurance and Enforcement
* Joseph P. Bono: Standards for Drug Analysis and Identification
* Robin Cotton, Ph.D.: Comments on DNA Analysis
* Barry A.J. Fisher: Physical Evidence: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom
* Ed German: Fingerprints
* Paul C. Giannelli, J.D.: Hair Evidence
* Max M. Houck: Forensic Hair Comparisons
* Gregory Klees: Practice and Standards of the Scientific Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks
* John L. Lentini: The State of the Art in Fire Investigation
* Stephen B. Meagher: Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology (SWGFAST)
* Michael J. Saks, Ph.D.: Comments
* Nelson Santos: SWGDRUG
* David R. Senn, D.D.S.: Forensic Odontology Bitemarks
* Peter Striupaitis: Toolmark Identification

January 25-26, 2007
Washington, DC



* Joseph A. DiZinno, D.D.S.: The Perspective of the FBI Laboratory and Other Federal Crime Laboratories
* Jamie Downs, M.D.: National Association of Medical Examiners Presentation
* Arthur Eisenberg, Ph.D.: Forensic Quality Services Presentation
* Bruce A. Goldberger, Ph.D.: American Academy of Forensic Sciences Presentation
* Max M. Houck: Presentation
* Jan L. Johnson, Ph.D.: Daily Operations and Challenges of the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center at Chicago
* John S. Morgan, Ph.D.: National Institute of Justice Research Program and Budget, Future Needs and Priorities
* Joseph L Peterson, Ph.D. & Matthew J. Hickman, Ph.D.: 2002 & 2005 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime   Laboratories
* Joe P. Polski: Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO)
* Joe P. Polski: International Association for Identification (IAI)
* Larry Quarino, Ph.D.: Presentation
* Irma Rios, Houston Police Department Crime Lab Presentation
* D. Michael Risinger, J.D.: Presentation
* Robert B. Stacey: American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB)
* David A. Stoney, Ph.D.: Opportunities for Improvement: Critical Areas


The Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community released its report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, at a public briefing on February 18, 2009.

Press Release

Opening Statement – Harry T. Edwards

Opening Statement – Constantine Gatsonis

Listen to the Briefing 


Harry T. Edwards, (Co-chair), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Constantine Gatsonis, (Co-chair), Director, Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University

Margaret A. Berger, Suzanne J. and Norman Miles Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Joe S. Cecil, Project Director, Program on Scientific and Technical Evidence, Federal Judicial Center

M. Bonner Denton, Professor of Chemistry, University of Arizona

Marcella Fierro, Medical Examiner of Virginia (ret.)

Karen Kafadar, Rudy Professor of Statistics and Physics, Indiana University

Pete M. Marone, Director, Virginia Department of Forensic Science

Geoffrey S. Mearns, Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

Randall S. Murch, Associate Director, Research Program Development, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Channing Robertson, Ruth G. and William K. Bowes Professor, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor,  Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Marvin Schechter, Attorney

Robert Shaler, Director, Forensic Science Program, Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University

Jay A. Siegel, Professor, Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, Indiana University-Purdue University

Sargur N. Srihari, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Director, Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Sheldon M. Wiederhorn (NAE), Senior NIST Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Ross Zumwalt, Chief Medical Examiner, Office of the Medical Examiner of the State of New Mexico 


This project was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice.

  Project Information  



Anne-Marie Mazza, Ph.D.
Director, Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
Phone: 202-334-2469

Scott Weidman, Ph.D.
Director, Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications
Phone: 202-334-1519

Steven Kendall, Ph.D.

Program Officer, Committee on Science, Technology, and Law

Phone: 202-334-1713