On Feb. 10, 1998, the Deputy Secretary of Defense signed the Defense Reform Initiative Directive (DRID) #27 that directed the Air Force to establish a joint DoD Computer Forensics Laboratory and Training Program. Teamed with the DoD law enforcement and counterintelligence communities, the laboratory’s unique technical expertise and computer solutions ensure information superiority for the warfighters.
The year of 2002 was when the laboratory came under the direction of a Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian, named the executive director of the newly named Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).
In 2002, DCFL hosted 51 foreign visits, most of which wanted to benchmark DCFL and build labs in their respective countries. This year DCFL went through an internal reorganization and organized the Operations Branch from 3 sections to 4 sections; the Major Crimes and Safety Section, the Counterintelligence & Counterterrorism Section, the Intrusion and Information Assurance Section, and the Imaging and Extraction Team.
DCFL has provided support to Operation Iraqi Freedom from the very beginning of the conflict. DCFL deployed a five-man team on March 5, 2003, to provide computer forensic support to a deployed task force. During their time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, the team seized and examined more than a Terabyte of electronic media. The media types seized varied from magnetic tape and floppy diskettes to DVDs and hard drives. While in Baghdad, the DCFL team participated in multiple sensitive site exploitation missions in which they accompanied coalition forces to various objectives and provided on-site support.
Also in 2003, DCFL started providing support to the National Media Exploitation Center (NMEC), a nationally funded, multi-agency initiative created to support the War on Terrorism and other high-interest operations.
DCFL submitted an application for American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/ Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) accreditation on Dec. 15, 2004, and became an ASCLD/LAB accredited computer forensic laboratory on Sept. 9, 2005.
In 2005, DCFL played a major role in the seizure of 1.5 Terabytes of data from servers located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. This case marked the first use of DCFL updated deployment equipment.
The Air Force grounded its entire fleet of nearly 700 F-15s on Nov. 3, 2007, due to a mishap the day before indicating catastrophic structural failure. On Nov. 6, DCFL received three damaged 8 mm tapes recovered from the crashed aircraft. The lab restored the tapes, digitized and then rendered to DVD the information for use by the Headquarters Air Combat Command investigators, returned to ACC on Nov. 10. The quick turn-around by the lab aided ACC in its thorough but expedited scrub of the entire fleet, and the majority of the fleet was able to be returned to flying status by the end of November.