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Scientific Response

Scientific Response


The Scientific Response Unit (SRU) provides scientific/technical and forensic support of FBI criminal and intelligence investigations involving the actual or threatened use of any hazardous material, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This is accomplished through scientific and technical consultation and/or response on hazardous materials/WMD investigative matters, as well as liaison and training with public health, intelligence, scientific, and international communities.

The Team

The unit is staffed by career professionals, including a nuclear specialist, chemists, microbiologists, and veterinarians. In addition, a logistics management specialist and management and program analysts support the science programs.

Our response scientists are trained and certified in hazardous materials operations and WMD crime scene response, meet NFPA-472 standards (National Fire Protection Association Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents), and are trained in incident command systems.

The Work

  • Provide 24/7 “reach back” scientific/technical support to WMD/CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) investigations;
  • Provide threat credibility and scientific evaluations for criminal investigations and intelligence cases;
  • Conduct hazard risk assessments;
  • Provide guidance on characterization, collection, and preservation of CBRN materials evidence;
  • Provide operational response for CBRN/WMD crime scenes and WMD render safe operations;
  • Identify, characterize, collect, package, and transport hazardous evidence for CBRN/WMD materials evidence and “traditional evidence” (i.e., latent prints, DNA, hairs and fibers) contaminated with CBRN/WMD material;
  • Safety screen materials for radiation, toxic chemicals, flammables, corrosives, and biological agents (Laboratory Response Network); and
  • Provide scientific/technical review of raw intelligence and draft intelligence products on WMD/CBRN matters.