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The military operates the same kinds of forensic labs that civilian law enforcement agencies do. Forensics professionals test trace evidence; bodily fluids and DNA; and fingerprints. They analyze ballistics and digital evidence, and analyze documents. Military forensic scientists testify not only in military courts but also in civilian criminal trials and multi-national courts. They also train forensic investigators and consult with state and federal law enforcement agencies, researchers, the private sector and universities.
Forensic investigators with the military investigate crimes on military bases in the United States and around the world. They dont just focus on war-related crimes. Instead, they have jurisdiction over any crime committed on a base or involving an active-duty service member, from sexual assault to fraud to homicide. They often work closely with local or federal law enforcement agencies, including international authorities in the case of overseas military bases. If the offender is a member of the U.S. military, they help to arrest the suspect so he can face trial in front of a military court.
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The military employs forensic professionals to identify the remains of soldiers killed in action. Sometimes the bodies are so badly damaged, often by a roadside bomb or other explosive device, that confirming a victims identify requires analysis of DNA, tissue or fingerprints. Military forensic anthropologists use scientific testing to determine the identify of remains, even in cases where only parts of the body are recovered. They also perform autopsies to confirm how the person died. In addition, they may notify families and explain the manner in which their loved one died.
Military forensic investigators respond to combat zones, investigating terror-related crimes such as bombings or sniper attacks. They document the scene, dust for fingerprints, collect DNA samples and search for other evidence. They use this evidence to help determine whos responsible for these crimes, in some cases tying them to a specific terror cell or insurgent group. This information can also be used during trials, such as the war crimes trials conducted by international courts. In addition, military investigators sometimes provide protective services to troops in the field, as well as investigating crimes against the host countrys military or government personnel. They also conduct criminal intelligence to identify potential threats and develop countermeasures.