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Expeditionary Forensics

Monday, February 9, 2015

What is it?

Forensics exploitation provides for undeniable scientific associations between people, places, events and materials and allows us to identify and detain nefarious actors. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Defense Forensics Science Center (DFSC) has an expeditionary forensics lab capability that is a battlefield enabler and has multiple applications across the range of military operations.

A commander can use expeditionary forensics to support the development of timely actionable intelligence and support follow-on operations. As applied to current contingency operations, information derived by forensics science has proven to increase imprisonment and identify dangerous actors who have migrated around the globe. This capability aligns with the Army’s readiness policies by providing joint force commanders with smaller, leaner expeditionary forensic capabilities able to perform missions across the entire range of military operations.

What has the Army done?

The DFSC, as a force provider in support of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, creates and deploys tailorable and scalable forensic exploitation teams and lab capabilities. DFSC also provides Forensic Technical Representatives to the combatant commands and other key agencies to provide staff subject matter expertise on the proper application of expeditionary forensic capabilities. These forensic experts participate in a variety of activities including partner nation engagements and exercise support. Recent Army resourcing decisions approved additional limited manpower authorizations to enable DFSC’s mission support in a post Afghanistan global environment. As the Army focuses on other operations, from Theater Security Cooperation to crisis response and limited contingency operations, DFSC forensic support will continue to contribute to helping the Army shape the operational environment.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The DFSC continues to codify forensic exploitation capabilities within Army requirements documents as well as Combatant Command Theater Security Cooperation Plans and Integrated Priority Lists. Additionally, DFSC is providing the combatant commands and Army Service Component Commands assistance to identify, document, and validate enduring requirements. Army expeditionary lab capability is in planning stages for establishment in the Pacific Command and Africa Command areas of responsibility in FY15 and beyond.

Why is this important to the Army?

Over the last decade, forensic exploitation has had a profound impact on the battlefield. The attribution of an enemy attack, whether via explosives or firearms, can now be traced back an individual through the fusion of intelligence and forensics. Since 2012, DFSC’s expeditionary labs have processed more than 20,000 cases and nearly a million exhibits, resulting in more than 600 convictions, essentially eliminating an enemy battalion from the battlefield. Forensic science is a valuable battlefield enabler for current and future operations, and will continue to improve with scientific and technological advances.


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