How the Defense Department might institutionalize war-time biometrics

By , Network World |  Security, biometrics

Dee told the Biometrics Consortium audience, with many vendors present, that acquisition processes for biometrics products changed in July with an eye toward larger, tactical systems. In fact, the Department of Defense is already drawing up a wish list of what it wants to see in its biometrics future.

"We have to establish an enterprise architecture," said Bill Zimmerman, the capabilities integration division chief on the Biometrics Task Force, adding an effort is underway to "engage the biometrics industry [in the] development of a biometrics data model" for storing, sharing, matching and management.

Col. Theodore Jennings, the U.S. Army biometrics program manager, is aiming for systems that could be used in the field to identify friend from foe. He pointed out the collection of DNA and voice is possible, that combining "multiple modalities of fingerprint, palm, print, iris and face" can now be done to "fuse them together to increase the likelihood of a match." Technologies are also evolving to identify someone from a distance using biometrics matches.

"We're still in the crawl phase with this," admitted Ltc. Joe Lopez, branch chief for risk management at the U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for homeland defense and anti-terrorism (plus coping with the challenges of nature, like wildfires or hurricanes).

He said in the Department of Defense's future is the prospect of adding biometrics to the military's Common Access Card for logical and physical access, a process that's already started, plus coming up with a federated system for the military to use in conjunction with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, though that may take at least five years.

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