National Commission on Forensic Science

May 5, 2015 — Last week, the Attorney General renewed the charter for the National Commission on Forensic Science for two more years. As part of that renewal, it was also announced that the Commission is soliciting applications for additional members. The Vice-Chairs specifically mentioned interest in adding digital forensic experts on the subcommittees and at least one Commissioner. We encourage a high level of participation/application from all forensic practitioners. CFSO is always advocating that forensic practitioners should be well represented on any national oversight panel or in any local or national forensic discussion. We have some forensic scientists on the NCFS, but we need more practitioners to accurately represent the science to the other NCFS Commissioners. We encourage an overwhelming response from practitioners to this solicitation for new and replacement Commissioners and subcommittee members. Additional information is outlined below including the background on the Commission, its duties, the membership selection process, and information on where applications should be submitted.

Applications are due no later than May 28, 2015. All applications should be submitted to: Andrew Bruck, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530, by email at Andrew.J.Bruck@usdoj.gov, or by phone at (202) 305-3481. The subject of the email should be NCFS Membership 2015.

The National Commission on Forensic Science was chartered on April 23, 2013 and is co-chaired by the Department of Justice and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Commission provides recommendations and advice to the Department of Justice concerning national methods and strategies for: strengthening the validity and reliability of the forensic sciences (including medico-legal death investigation); enhancing quality assurance and quality control in forensic science laboratories and units; identifying and recommending scientific guidance and protocols for evidence seizure, testing, analysis, and reporting by forensic science laboratories and units; and identifying and assessing other needs of the forensic science communities to strengthen their disciplines and meet the increasing demands generated by the criminal and civil justice systems at all levels of government. Commission membership includes Federal, State, and Local forensic science service providers; research scientists and academicians; prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges; law enforcement; and other relevant backgrounds.

The duties of the Commission include: (a) Recommending priorities for standards development; (b) reviewing and recommending endorsement of guidance identified or developed by subject-matter experts; (c) developing proposed guidance concerning the intersection of forensic science and the courtroom; (d) developing policy recommendations, including a uniform code of professional responsibility and minimum requirements for training, accreditation and/or certification; and (e) identifying and assessing the current and future needs of the forensic sciences to strengthen their disciplines and meet growing demand. While these are the duties outlined, the work of the Commission has also focused on discovery procedures and other courtroom and legal evidentiary issues relevant to prosecutors and the courts.

Members will be appointed by the Attorney General in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the vice-chairs of the Commission. Members will also be selected specifically to support the inclusion of digital evidence. DOJ encourages submissions from applicants with respect to diversity of backgrounds, professions, ethnicities, gender, and geography. Members will serve without compensation. The Commission generally meets four times each year at approximately three-month intervals.

Applications: Any qualified person may apply to be considered for appointment to this advisory committee. Each application should include: (1) A resume or curriculum vitae; (2) a statement of interest describing the applicant's relevant experience; and (3) a statement of support from the applicant's employer. Potential candidates may be asked to provide detailed information as necessary regarding financial interests, employment, and professional affiliations to evaluate possible sources of conflicts of interest.