Biometrics integral to modern combat

Biometrics can bridge organizational gaps, experts say

As unconventional warfare reigns in the modern theater, biometric technologies have evolved into essential tools in combat, and experts say future development will be vital in departmentwide communications and information sharing.

“IDs can be faked, and bad guys can lie," said Army Col. Ted Jennings, biometrics program coordinator at the Defense Department's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems. "You can’t rely on [personal appearance] to identify bad guys in the field and protect warfighters."

The Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA International hosted an event at which Jennings spoke Aug. 4.

Jennings said using biometrics gives the military the ability to identify the good guys in the local population of a combat theater so they can work and conduct business. The technology also aids with interrogation, detainee management, base access and identification of persons of interest, he said.

As the science continues to evolve, the demands on the technology increase. Army Biometrics Task Force Deputy Director Lisa Swan said that as her agency develops the next generation of a biometrics database, it will need to coordinate with many DOD sub-organizations involved with biometrics.

To achieve the goal, Swan’s office is following an enterprise strategy that spans military operations, business functions, institutionalization and unity of effort.

“Data sharing is the future, and that’s where biometrics is going," Swan said. "That’s where it will be most useful."

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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