has a further property: if the alternative hypothesis holds, the procedure will have the greatest chance of correctly rejecting the null hypothesis.

The FBI protocol worked in reverse. Three test procedures were proposed, described below as “2-SD overlap,” “range overlap,” and “chaining.” Thus, the first task of the authors was to calculate the level of risk that would result from the use of these three procedures. More precisely, we developed a simulation, guided by information about the bullet concentrations from various sources and from datasets that were published or provided to the committee (described in Section 3.2), to calculate the probability that the 2-SD-overlap and range-overlap procedures would claim a match between two bullets whose mean concentrations differed by a specified amount. The details of that simulation and the resulting calculations are described in Section 3.3 with a discussion of chaining.

An alternative approach, based on the theory of equivalence t tests, is presented in Section 4. A level of risk is set for each equivalence t test to compare two bullets on each of the seven elemental concentrations; if the mean concentrations of all seven elements are sufficiently close, the overall false-positive probability (FPP) of a match between two bullets that actually differ is less than 0.0004 (one in 2,500). The method is described in detail so that the reader can apply it with another value of the FPP such as one in 500, or one in 10,000. A multivariate version of the seven separate tests (Hotelling’s T2) is also described. Details of the statistical theory are provided in the other appendixes. Appendix E contains basic principles of statistics; Appendix F provides a theoretical derivation that characterizes the FBI procedures and equivalence tests and some extra analyses not shown in this appendix; Appendix H describes the principal-component analysis for assessing the added contributions of each element for purposes of discrimination; and Appendix G provides further analyses conducted on the data sets.

1.2 Current Match Procedure

The FBI presented three procedures for assessing a match between two bullets:

  • “2-SD overlap.” Measurements of each element can be combined to form an interval with lower limit mean −2SD and upper limit mean+2SD. The means and SDs are based on the average of three measurements in each of the specimens. If the seven intervals for a given CS bullet overlap with all seven intervals for a given PS bullet, the CS and PS bullets are deemed a match.

  • “Range overlap.” Intervals for each element are calculated as minimum to maximum from the three measurements in each of the specimens. If the seven intervals for a given CS bullet overlap with all seven intervals for a given PS bullet, the CS and PS bullets are deemed a match.



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