CSI USMC: Marines Get Upgraded Portable Forensics Labs

U.S. Marine Cpl. Carlos Ramos gathers forensic material during tactical site exploitation training at Combat Town, Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 12, 2018.. (U.S. Marine Corps/Pfc. Kindo Go)
U.S. Marine Cpl. Carlos Ramos gathers forensic material during tactical site exploitation training at Combat Town, Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 12, 2018.. (U.S. Marine Corps/Pfc. Kindo Go)

The Marine Corps is updating the portable forensics lab kit it issues combat units with new technology for identifying potential enemy suspects on the battlefield faster than ever before.

The Expeditionary Forensics Exploitation Capability, or EFEC, is a portable, expeditionary forensics laboratory that currently includes four separate kits for collecting and preserving evidence.

"Together, the kits enable Marine operators to gather important forensic information on site to determine if a person of interest is a suspect or an ally," Maj. David Bain, EFEC project officer, said in a recent news release from Marine Corps Systems Command.

Bain believes that updating the kits, which were first fielded in 2013, will ultimately make Marines more effective.

"We want to improve the lethality of Marines in the battlespace by collecting and sharing data faster than we were previously able to," said Bain.

The Identity Operations Team at Marine Corps Systems Command is working to update the system's information technology equipment.

"We're making the IT equipment more adaptable for today," said Sarah Swift, Identity Operations Team lead. "It's important that MCSC continues to advance with technology and we stay agile with our incremental acquisition approach to evolve current capabilities."

Currently, the EFEC'S chem kit allows operators to detect and identify hazardous and forensically relevant chemicals. The lab kit helps Marines process digital evidence, and the mobile kit helps to analyze and recover information from mobile devices.

Lastly, the site kit allows Marines to gather key forensic information, such as taking fingerprints and preserving liquids, the release states.

Marine Corps Systems Command plans to develop and field the next increment of EFEC capabilities by fiscal year 2021, the release states.

"Marines want more expeditionary, rugged and lightweight equipment with fewer pieces, and we are making that happen with the EFEC," said Bain.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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