Announcements & News

August 2003

MUFSC Associate Professor is Appointed Chariman of E-54 Homeland Security Applications Subcommittee

Marshall University Forensic Science Program Associate Professor J. Graham Rankin, Ph.D., has been appointed as chairman of the Subcommittee on CBRNE Sensors and Detectors on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E-54 Homeland Security Applications Committee.

CBRNE represents Chemical threats (i.e. nerve gases and hazardous industrial materials), Biological agents (i.e. anthrax, smallpox), Radiological and Nuclear devices, and conventional Explosives that could be utilized by terrorists.

Dr. Rankin, a forensic chemist, has been developing forensic methods for the chemical analysis of smokeless (gunpowder) which can be used in explosive devices. The chairmanship of this subcommittee complements the role of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center as a national resource for forensic crime labs.

"Initial activities of the CBRNE subcommittee will be to determine applicable standards within ASTM and other standards development organizations (SDO's), determine current technology for detection in each of the threat areas and to establish reasonable performance standards and methodology necessary for such devices," Dr. Rankin said.

The ASTM established the E-54 Homeland Security Applications Committee in response to the Department of Homeland Security's request to establish standards for evaluated devices, equipment and materials relevant to homeland security.

The E-54 Homeland Security Applications Committee will coordinate existing ASTM standardization related to homeland security needs and develop standards and guidance materials for homeland security applications in the following areas: Borders, Ports, and Transportation Systems; Advancing and Harnessing Science and Technology; Preparing for and Responding to National Emergencies; and Protection of Critical Infrastructure.

ASTM is non-profit organization which publishes standards for a wide range of industrial and service applications, including forensic science. Standards are established by consensus of practitioners in government, industry and academia.

The Forensic Science Center consists of a two-year Master's degree program in Forensic Science and the laboratories for the West Virginia Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Additionally, the center assists law enforcement in training and education to meet national standards and continuing education requirements.