Agency systems

Army Opening Biometrics Center

The Army will open its new Biometrics Center in Washington, D.C., next month, according to Lt. Gen. William Campbell, the service's chief information officer.

The center will be a research and development facility for advanced biometrics technologies, Campbell told the audience at TechNet 2000 International, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Biometrics include digital fingerprints, retina scans, facial scans and voice prints to identify people seeking access to a network or facility. Such technology exists, but it is not yet good enough to work under combat conditions, during which there may be too much noise for voice recognition software and soldiers may be sealed in protective clothing.

IT Lightens Fighting Machines

The rapid explosion of information available to potential foes is driving the Army's transformation to a lighter and more lethal force, according to Gen. John Keane, the Army vice chief of staff.

"If you look at just the last 10 years, you can see that the amount of time our military and political leaders have to deal with a crisis and to intervene before that crisis becomes a conflict is considerably less," Keane said June 20 at TechNet.

The Army intends to build a force around the Future Combat System series of vehicles, which will be loaded with information technologies that would enable them to target and destroy enemy forces without being detected. The Army also intends for its forces to be networked so that commanders and soldiers are fully aware of the entire battlefield situation.

Web Resource Open for Businesses

The Minority Business Development Agency has launch-ed a Web-based locator system to give minority business owners a one-stop-shopping Web portal for business resources, said Michael O'Hara Garcia, chief information officer at the MBDA.

The portal (www.mbda. gov) provides a list of resources such as neighborhood banks, Small Business Administration offices, and state and local minority business development centers, according to Garcia, speaking June 21 at GovTech 2000, sponsored by FCW Media Group.

FBI Speeding Access to Files

The FBI is testing a project that will give agents rapid Web access to a broad range of multimedia files, enabling them to search through databases for information and evidence related to investigations, said David Smith, a senior software engineer at HPTi Inc. who is working under contract at the FBI's Office of the Chief Scientist.

The Information Management Project will enable agents to bypass having to look up documents that reference or describe the files they want. Instead, they'll be able to access the files directly, said Smith, speaking at GovTech June 20.

Web Inventor Setting Standards

Tim Berners-Lee, the Briton who invented the World Wide Web a decade ago, said it is important to develop standard formats for the Web to help current and future users.

"A lot of information on a Web site will be there longer than expected," Berners-Lee said during his keynote speech June 20 at GovTech. And that means that today's state-of-the-art practices may become obsolete with no record of how they work.

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