Field reps support Soldiers using devices that determines an individual's identity
July 8, 2008
Depot Field Support Representatives (FSR) are now providing Soldiers with training, troubleshooting and upgrades for Handheld Interagency Identification Detection Equipment (HIIDE) in Southwest Asia.
HIIDEs are portable devices that combine iris, fingerprint and face biometrics to help determine an individual's identity. Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analyzing biological data. HIIDES are being used to identify Iraqi and Afghani citizens to distinguish friend from foe.
An individual's irises are captured from left to right, all 10 digits are recorded for fingerprints, and their face is captured as if they were having a photo taken. Biographical data such as first and last name, street address, state, zip code, gender and date of birth is also collected to accompany the biometrics. This information is saved to a database called the Biometric Automated Toolset System.
There are several thousand HIIDES in theater, and they have been in the field for over a year, says Alex Radkiewicz, a logistics management specialist in the Business Management Directorate's Commodity Management Division.
Before the arrival of the FSRs, depot Forward Repair Activities located in Southwest Asia supported the program by serving as direct exchange sites for the HIIDE program.
Through visits and meetings with personnel from the Army Space Program Office (ASPO), Radkiewicz introduced this mission to the depot. He said the depot was fulfilling an important role in supporting this program by providing FSRs.
HIIDEs were purchased and fielded as a quick-reaction initiative to get critical capabilities into the hands of the Soldier. As a result, there wasn't time to put normal maintenance and support processes in place or time to train Soldiers in its use at Army schools. Depot FSRs are helping to fill those gaps, he adds.
In April, five depot employees attended one week of HIIDE training at ASPO in Alexandria, Va., followed by another week of hands-on training at SecuriMetrics Incorporated in Martinez, Calif. They were trained on how to transfer data to and from the HIIDE and how to work the Biometric Automated Toolset System.
"Each FSR found the training interesting and we've received nothing but good feedback from them about it," says Rich Sokoloski, Forward Repair Activity project officer, Forward Repair Activity Division, Command, Control and Computer Systems/Avionics Directorate.
Their duties include traveling to units to provide one-for-one exchange of the HIIDE device, provide training to units and troubleshoot devices.
They attempt to resolve troubleshooting issues, but if they cannot repair it they will exchange the device for a working one. They also distribute new software and provide upgrades to the HIIDEs. While with the units, they will formulate future plans so all HIIDEs receive new software upgrades/patches.
"It's helpful if the FSRs have prior experience with computerized systems; but because complete training is provided, they don't need any specialized skills," says Radkiewicz.
When a damaged HIIDE device is brought to an FSR, they automatically provide the unit with another HIIDE. They will test the device and attempt to duplicate the problem so they can repair it. If no damage is evident, the FSR will store the HIIDE device until it is needed by another unit.
"Equipment is prepositioned at each site, so if repairs cannot be completed they will have a direct exchange," says Sokoloski. If testing reveals damage, the FSR will ship the device to the lead FSR, who will ship it to the Original Equipment Manufacturer for repair.
"If the Soldiers have complications, we'll be there to help them," explains Sokoloski.
Sokoloski and Radkiewicz agree that the biggest challenge with this mission was finding volunteers to quickly deploy to SWA. They hope this program will encourage other employees to consider volunteering for deployment.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,800 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control, computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.