About Scientific Working Groups

Since the early 1990s, American and International forensic science laboratories and practioners have collaborated in Scientific Working Groups** (SWGs) to improve discipline practices and build consensus standards. Current SWGs include the following:

FISWG - Facial Identification Scientific Working Group

SWGANTH - Forensic Anthropology

SWGCBRN - Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear

SWGDAM - DNA Analysis

SWGDE - Digital Evidence

SWGMDI - Medicolegal Death Investigation 

SWGDOC - Questioned Documents

SWGDOG - Dogs and Orthogonal Detection

SWGDRUG - Analysis of Seized Drugs

SWGDVI - Disaster Victim Identification

SWGFAST - Latent Fingerprints

SWGFEX - Fire and Explosives Scenes

SWGGSR - Gunshot Residue

SWGGUN - Firearms and Toolmarks

SWGIBRA - Illicit Business Records

SWGIT - Imaging Technologies

SWGMAT - Materials Analysis 

SWGSTAIN - Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

SWGTOX - Toxicology 

SWGTREAD - Footwear and Tiretracks

SWGWILD - Wildlife Forensics

In early 1998, the FBI Laboratory performed a strategic review of all SWGs. This review determined the need for administrative and web-based support for the entire SWG effort. To achieve this, the FBI Laboratory has worked collaboratively with the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC ). The NFSTC has provided assistance with the following:

  • Developing and implementing optimal business processes that will establish and maintain consistency in SWG organization, life cycle, and business processes.

  • Establishing mechanisms that ensure laboratory management's strong commitment and support for personnel participating in and contributing to the SWGs.

  • stablishing an infrastructure for effective communication within and among SWGs and the national and international forensic communities.

  • Conducting studies on alternate models to increase awareness, improve effectiveness, and reduce costs.


** During the 1990s, several US Government-supported forensic working groups were formed and met for one-day to one-week for the purpose of addressing a specific topic.  Circa 1999, the working group names for long-term working groups addressing forensic science disciplines were changed to SWGs to differentiate their activities and documents from short-term groups.