ASB Response to NIST Request for Information on OSAC


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Source:  Mary C. McKiel, PhD, ASB Communications Liaison Officer

On August 30 of this year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a Request For Information (RFI) on potential organizational changes to the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC). NIST, along with the Department of Justice, established OSAC to facilitate development of sound forensic science standards and promote the adoption of those standards by the forensic community. Now, after three years of operation, NIST is seeking input on assessing OSAC’s performance as well as the operating structure of the organization.

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB), because of their direct work with the OSAC, felt it was appropriate to provide a detailed response. ASB Board of Directors and staff thoroughly reviewed the proposed changes, especially in light of the benefit of OSAC’s work to the forensic communities along with the OSAC’s critically important input to the standards work of ASB.

The RFI is published in the Federal Register and delineates four areas where change may benefit the work of OSAC. Each area is accompanied by conceptual models that include management, funding, and work product considerations. Richard Cavanagh, director of NIST’s Special Program Office that oversees OSAC operations, has stated that while the structure of OSAC may change, it’s goals will remain the same.

ASB’s response to NIST includes thoughtful analyses to questions on the OSAC program as a whole, oversight and independence, work products, structure, participation, and funding. In addition, ASB responded to proposed models for future organization of OSAC. For full responses, click on the links below.

ASB Response to the RFI on OSAC 

ASB Response to the Proposed Models of OSAC