Friday, January 13, 2006

US Defense Lab Accredited

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors' Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) has accredited the Defense Computer Forensic Laboratory (DCFL). DCFL is the US DoD (Department of Defense) organization that performs electronic and computer media forensic restoration, enhancement, and analysis for all of DoD.

This reportedly makes DCFL the largest accredited lab of its type in the world. DCFL was spun up some years ago by merging a unit of the US Air Force's Office of Special Investigations (AF/OSI) with resources from the Army and Navy, if memory serves.

In case you are wondering what 'computer forensics' has to do with sound and light, DCFL's mission also includes cell phone, pda, audio, and video forensics. As noted in previous posts, this is the case in many organizations.

External, independent accreditation is now being sought, or at least considered, by most US audio/video forensic labs. This wasn't done in the past, but electronic/computer media labs have started becoming more like their 'wet lab' brethren and instituted drives for certification/accreditation. This is not to say that the labs did not approach their responsibilities professionally before. All US and European labs, in my experience, developed and maintained their skills, processes, and procedures through a combination of their own in-house training (including examination and mock-jury trials), vendor training (provided by equipment manufacturers and former professional examiners), law enforcement association training seminars (e.g. NATIA training seminars), and red-blue team comparisons. (Disclaimer: I have been and continue to be involved in forensic R&D, training, and red-blue teaming in my day job). Accreditation will now document and subject the processes and procedures to external review and certification.

As the saying goes, nothing is constant except change...

Hat tip to Government Computer News.

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