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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

FNSSI Alumni Spotlight: Maria Bugge '17, Firearms and Toolmark Examiner for the Department of Defense

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Posted on: March 16, 2021

As a firearms and toolmark examiner for the Department of Defense, I work for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command. We're based out of Fort Gillem, GA, at the Defense Forensic Science Center. Within that, I'm part of the Forensic Exploitation Directorate. FXD provides forensic laboratory support in forward deployed environments to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), intelligence organizations and legal agencies, as well as other federal and non-federal agencies.

Currently, I am forward deployed at the Joint Theater Forensic Analysis Center in Djibouti, Africa, providing capabilities to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, to include United States, host nation, and foreign partners. Not only am I working with firearms and typical toolmarks, this job allows me to take that skill and apply it to missions particular to eliminating the threat of terrorism and making the world a safer place. With that, I work with a variety of foreign weapons, components on improvised explosive devices, ordnance material, and produce significant intelligence material based off of laboratory results.

Additionally, I have the opportunity to meet foreign dignitaries and high rank US military personnel in order to demonstrate capabilities and provide training for site exploitation and evidence collection. Being away from home for a long amount of time can be difficult, but when the job involves contributing to peace in the world, the experience is worth the sacrifice and something I'll take with me for the rest of my life.