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Forensic Science Environmental Scan 2023



Henry Swofford


This environmental scan provides a broad view of the forensic science environment (as of 2023) and characterizes high-level historical and current issues and trends that might impact near and long-term decisions by forensic science research and standards programs, including the NIST Forensic Science Program. A historical perspective is provided followed by a more detailed summary of various issues relating to the state of forensic science across five different landscapes: governance, economic, societal, scientific and technological, and legal and regulatory. Each landscape includes a discussion of several issues that are potentially relevant to the administration of forensic science research and standards programs in the United States. The relevance of each issue, and manner in which it might impact those programs, are discussed under the heading "Considerations for Forensic Science Research and Standards Programs" within each subsection and outline potential approaches and priorities that those programs might consider as part of their longer-term strategy moving forward.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8515
Report Number


Forensic Science, Environmental Scan, Strategic Priorities


Swofford, H. (2024), Forensic Science Environmental Scan 2023, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created March 7, 2024