“Generally, federal grants are meant as short-term exercises in capacity building and not to underwrite long-term projects, certainly not on the scale of NamUs,” explained Lucas Zarwell, director of the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at NIJ. “Because the NIJ intends NamUs to last, later this year we will begin administering the program through a multi-year contract. A contract will allow us to continue the program indefinitely and give NamUs direct federal oversight, ensuring its transparency to the American taxpayer.”
The new service agreement/contract is effective for 5 years, with a transition period built in as a deliverable to ensure no disruption of service. That same transition period will occur if UNTCHI hands over NamUs to another entity come April. Currently, DNA typing and forensic anthropology are suspended at UNTCHI, but the NIJ told Forensic there is a grant coming to revive those soon. Those two services will then continue during the new contract, in addition to fingerprint examinaton, forensic odontology and databasing.