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FCW : March 15, 2015
DEFENSE identification on biometrics samples than a previous version of the reposi- tory. ABIS filters biometrics samples as either an automated match or not. Anything in between must be scruti- nized by a biometrics examiner, a pro- cess Vann-Olejasz said was slow and laborious. Better algorithms explain ABIS 1.2’s improved accuracy, which in turn gives the Army’s experts more time to analyze the sample matches and incorporate them into intelli- gence reports. But there is still plen- ty of room for improvement. OT&E’s fiscal 2014 review of ABIS said the database had significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and ABIS 1.0 and 1.2 were not fully consistent in matching individuals to a watchlist of suspected terrorists. The private sector and nonprofit research and development organiza- tions, meanwhile, are trying to meet DOD’s demand for faster and more accurate processing of biometrics data. Mason said he has challenged his colleagues to develop algorithms that can accurately process 1 billion facial scans per second, a goal he expects his researchers to hit by the end of this year. Although iris scans are considered the most accurate of the three main categories of biometrics, their intru- siveness and relatively high cost have slowed adoption, said Mark Clifton, vice president of the Products and Ser- vices Division at SRI International, an R&D nonprofit. He added that the U.S. military is using SRI’s technology to scan the irises, faces and fingerprints of entrants to military bases but declined to specify which bases are using the technology or the quantity of products sold. Another challenge is to develop iris scanning that can be done more remotely. Clifton said his organiza- tion has recently demonstrated iris- scanning capabilities from more than 30 yards with a stationary subject, but “unfortunately, it took nearly telescope- size optics to get that, so it’s not that practical.” The Pentagon is still a few years away from deploying any sort of midrange iris-scanning technology, he added. The ABIS requirements do not call for remote iris or facial scanning, Vann- Olejasz said, but that could change with an ongoing Army-run “analysis of alternatives” review of acquisition options for biometrics. The review will help the Army determine “the next capability gap that we need to close with this technology,” she said, add- ing that the review should be finished by year’s end. Speed vs. accuracy Much of the ABIS software and hard- ware is commercial rather than cus- tom-built for the military, Vann-Olejasz said. Of the algorithms being honed by industry, those underpinning iris and facial scans have seen the most improvement recently, whereas finger- print algorithms have hit a plateau of sorts, she added. Mason said the key for defense and intelligence officials will be to better integrate the three nodes of data — iris, fingerprint and facial imaging — to develop a more composite “pattern of life” profile of a person. There is also a trade-off between speed and accuracy when it comes to processing facial images. The industry products that will be “the most valu- able to the [intelligence community] in the future are the ones that are going to be able to push the axis on” speed and accuracy, he said. As with many IT advances, the next step might be a move to mobile devic- es. Clifton said that in the medium term he expects iris scanning to be commer- cially available on mobile devices for identity verification. As for ABIS, its underlying technol- ogy will inevitably need updating. The current version “will only take us so far due to software obsolescence and potentially hardware things,” Vann-Ole- jasz said. The ongoing review of acqui- sition strategy for ABIS will determine whether a new approach is needed or “whether or not we will continue to, if you will, bolt on to the DOD ABIS architecture and framework,” she added. n 16 March 15, 2015 FCW.COM Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, or HIIDE, can collect fingerprints, scan irises and take photos. 0315fcw_014-016.indd 16 2/23/15 4:18 PM
March 30, 2015