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Randall Murch invited to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine experts group

Randall Murch Randall Murch

Randall Murch has been invited by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to its newly-formed Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group (ISTEG). The group was created to provide occasional quick response technical advice to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Murch, National Capital Region Research Development Team leader for biosecurity and forensics and professor in practice, School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), joins a large, diverse group of experts across a broad range of science, technology, and medicine.

“ISTEG has been charged with providing rapid response to the U.S. Intelligence Community’s issues and concerns stemming from current, emerging, and future science and technology,” Murch said. “I am pleased to be part of this group and honored that the National Academies views my decades of diverse experience in envisioning, strategizing, developing, implementing and advising on science and technology for national and global security as valuable support to our national intelligence efforts.”

Previously, Murch contributed to the creation of the Biological Sciences Experts Group (BSEG) created by ODNI in direct response to a recommendation he wrote into a National Research Council (NRC)/Institute of Medicine report published in 2006, entitled “Globalization, Biosecurity and the Future of the Life Sciences.”

Murch has spent nearly 20 years of his career working on the forensics and attribution of biological weapons proliferation and bioterrorism through the field of microbial forensics, which he helped create as part of the first-ever Weapons of Mass Destruction forensic investigative program he initiated in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in 1996. This capability is a significant national security priority for the U.S. government and involves several departments, agencies, national laboratories, companies and academic institutions. Other countries have modeled programs on FBI and U.S. programs.

In addition to being part of ISTEG, Murch will serve on a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) organizing committee for a Spring 2016 workshop on workforce development in the forensic science community on behalf of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the lead agency for advancing forensic science in the U.S. The workshop is being held in response to a 2009 National Research Council (NRC) report entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the U.S: A Path Forward,” which Murch helped write while serving on the responsible NRC/NAS study committee.

Over the past 13 years, Murch has served on five committees at the NAS or now National Academy of Medicine chartered and funded by a sponsor (usually Congress or a Federal Agency) to review and study a particular issue and produce a report published by the NRC. He has also served on several of the National Academies standing boards or committees including on the Board of Life Sciences and the Division of Earth and Life Studies (DELS) Advisory Committee (both for six years). He was a member of a senior Intelligence Community advisory board for more than 11 years and previously an advisor to the Defense Science Board.

“Public service through membership on boards and committees such as these is something I truly believe in. I want to contribute as much as I can but have also received much in return,” Murch said.

Murch joined Virginia Tech in 2004 after two years at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a leading Federally Funded Research and Development Center, and a nearly 23-year career as a special agent and senior executive with the FBI. Three quarters of his FBI career was devoted to successfully developing and applying science and technology to difficult and high-priority law enforcement and national security problem sets so that operational, legal and policy requirements were met.

Posted January 8, 2016