It is the mission of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure public safety and provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime. Advancing the practice of forensic science is an important part of that effort. The more effective a forensic system we have, the better equipped we are to solve crimes, more swiftly absolving the innocent and bringing the guilty to justice. The second term of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) is set to expire on April 23, 2017. As part of the Department's continued efforts to advance the practice of forensic science following NCFS's expiration, the Department is seeking comment on how the Department should move forward to evaluate and improve the underlying science of forensic evidence; improve the operational management systems of forensic science service providers; and improve the understanding of forensic science by legal practitioners.
Issue for Comment—Commenters are requested to identify proposals to: (1) Improve the underlying science and validity of forensic evidence; (2) improve the operational management systems of forensic science service providers; and (3) improve the understanding of forensic science by legal practitioners.
In formulating a proposal, commenters may wish to consider the following questions:
(A) What are the biggest needs in forensic science inside the Department and at the federal, state, local, and tribal level?
(B) What is required to improve forensic science practices at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels?
(C) What is needed to improve capacity at federal, state, local, and tribal levels?
(D) What are the barriers to improving capacity and what resources are needed to overcome those barriers?
(E) What are the specific issues related to digital forensic evidence analysis and how can the Department address those needs?
(F) How should the Department, or any Department entity, coordinate with the Organization of Scientific Area Committees?
(G) What resources and relationships can the Department draw on to ensure thoughtful and representative input?
Proposals may include some combination of a Federal Advisory Committee, a new office at the Department, an inter-agency working group, regularly scheduled stakeholder meetings, etc. If the commenter believes a Federal Advisory Committee structure is appropriate, commenters are encouraged to address structural issues such as size, membership, work product development process, reporting structure (i.e., to whom recommendations are provided), opportunity for public comment, and opportunity for robust debate among members.
More information is available via the Federal Register notice.