News from the ASB: Consensus Body Selection Update


We have received hundreds of applications from people for the Consensus Bodies of the AAFS Standards Board. Needless to say, it has taken time for us to review each one carefully. The Secretariat has proposed slates for voting members of each Consensus Body and has submitted them to the ASB Board of Directors for their consideration. The ASB Board of Directors selects the voting members of each Consensus Body with a focus upon balance among the Interest Categories. In conformance with ANSI requirements, we look at the applications to determine whether it is possible to achieve balance across all of the Interest Categories. In some cases, we have noticed that—based upon the information supplied by the applicant—that the individual may fit into more than one interest category or that the individual applied in a category that is incorrect. The most common case of applying in the incorrect category is an employee of a Government laboratory applying under the category Laboratories and Testing Facilities—which is restricted to non-government labs. A government lab employee should select User-Government or Subject Matter Expert. So, we may ask some of you to revise your selected Interest Category when we announce the final selection list.

The ASB Board is now in the process of voting upon the members of: DNA, Disaster Victim Identification, Friction Ridge, and Wildlife Consensus Groups. We hope to be able to announce the voting members of these Consensus Bodies in early June. That will be followed in approximately 2 week intervals by batches of 4 Consensus Bodies. Watch our website for announcements (asb.aafs.org).

When selections are made, the Secretariat will send a notice to those individuals selected with an announcement of the first meeting, which will also be posted on the ASB website. That meeting will be chaired by the Secretariat and will be focused upon electing a chair and vice chair, as well as explaining the processes and procedures that the ASB Consensus Bodies will follow. It is important for all of you to know that all of the Consensus Body meetings are open and will be web-based. The only restriction is the total number of participants allowed by our web-based application package (50). We encourage all who applied to participate in the meetings. The Consensus Bodies will establish Working Groups to develop text for the standards, guidelines, and technical reports. Participation and voting in the Working Groups is open to all interested parties, but only the Consensus Body members actually participate in ballots on the documents.

Thank you all for your patience in this process. We have had to ensure that we had a solid selection process and that we reviewed each application carefully. Non-selection as a Consensus Body member in no way reflects upon your capabilities or credentials. In fact, many highly-regarded individuals will not be selected, since the primary consideration of the ASB is to select members with different viewpoints and to ensure balance across the Interest Categories. Also, selection by the ASB Board to be a member of a Consensus Body in no way is an endorsement of an individual’s credentials or capabilities, but only reflects the need of the ASB to ensure balance.

We look forward to starting work on the development of documents in an open, participatory manner. All documents will be subject to an open comment period with the Consensus Body required to respond to such comments prior to final adoption of any document. In this way, we hope that all ASB standards, guidelines and technical reports will stand up to the test of time, be used and be recognized in the forensics community as essential to their work.

Thanks again for all of your interest in establishing the ASB Consensus Bodies.

Brad Wing
Secretariat |Standards Board | American Academy of Forensic Sciences
BWing@aafs.org | asb.aafs.org | 202-203-9202