The forensic science disciplines exhibit wide variability regarding training, techniques, methodologies, reliability, limitations, research, general acceptability, and published material. The release of the 2009 National Research Council (NRC) report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, highlighted areas where forensic science research was needed and made recommendations for improvements.
OSAC was established in 2014, in collaboration with NIST and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help the forensic science community address some of the issues identified in the NRC Report, specifically around the need to establish standards and best practices within and between disciplines related to terminology, methodologies, and training. The initial DOJ and NIST collaboration were formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in February 2013 and later updated in an MOU signed in April 2015. In February 2014, the concept of OSAC was announced to the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS). Then almost a year later, the first OSAC subcommittee meetings were held.
OSAC’s mission is to strengthen the nation’s use of forensic science by facilitating the development of technically sound standards, expanding the OSAC Registry with standards that have completed a technical assessment, and promoting the implementation of those standards by OSAC’s stakeholders and the forensic science community.
Today, OSAC has over 800 combined members and affiliates representing forensic science practitioners, laboratory managers, academic researchers, measurement scientists, and experts in statistics, human factors, legal, and quality infrastructure. These experts have and will continue to work together to develop and promote the standards needed to strengthen forensic science practice.