What is it? Biometrics refers to the process of using automated methods of recognizing an individual based on measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) and behavioral characteristics. The DOD Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) is the authoritative biometric repository for fingerprint matching. Future ABIS capabilities include facial recognition and iris, palm print, and latent fingerprint matching. The following are currently deployed biometric systems that submit biometric data to the ABIS.
What has the Army done? The Secretary of the Army is the DoD Executive Agent for biometrics. The Army DCS G-3/5/7 established the Biometrics Task Force (BTF) to accomplish this mission. The Biometrics Force Center in Clarksburg, WV, is an operational element of the BTF. The BTF is responsible for the following:
The BTF maintains a Web site for the use of its DoD and intergovernmental partners at http://www.biometrics.dod.mil/.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? Recently, the Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff directed a Quick Turn Capability Based Assessment (CBA) on biometrics. The purpose of the CBA was to capture joint interim biometric capabilities (FY 07-08), conduct a gap analysis from current to future capabilities, and establish a foundation for a future capabilities definition in support of the JCIDS process. The CBA identified capability gaps and recommended a course of action. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the course of action, which will address the need to improve match response times to the requesting users, increase data integrity and accuracy, and provide a faster, more efficient analysis process.
Why is this important to the Army? The Army and the Joint force as a whole benefit from the identity superiority that biometric technologies can bring to the warfighter. The ability to establish an individual’s identity with certitude while simultaneously linking that individual to past aliases or activities gives our soldiers a decisive edge in fighting the Global War on Terror. The emphasis for this capability must be on successively improving the decision cycle and ensuring that the widest range of DoD assets can benefit from the information obtained through biometric searching and matching.
These efforts will have a significant effect on aiding in homeland security strategies and other U.S. government functions, such as law enforcement. By implementing and consistently enhancing its biometric functionality, DoD will be postured to continue making a direct impact on the safety of our nation by providing biometric identity information to Border Patrol agents, Coast Guard operators, Customs agents, embassy personnel, and other U.S. government assets protecting our country.