Biometrics

CBP biometric test center set to open

biometrics

Customs and Border Protection will open its test facility for biometric identification technology at the end of the month, the agency's recently installed commissioner said June 13.

The facility, which is located in Landover, Md., will test devices that record biometric data from travelers exiting the country, CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said in a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sworn in as commissioner on March 7, Kerlikowske has been on the job about 100 days.

Colleen Manaher, who heads the agency’s Entry/Exit Transformation Office, said in a February speech that the facility would test a variety of biometric devices and narrow them down to the two top performers in a mock airport environment.

Kerlikowske said a biometric entry/exit program is an "extremely important" piece of overall border security.

Experiments with the technology at the Maryland facility will advance the agency's overall plans for a complete biometric entry/exit system for the United States, which he said was key to a more efficient immigration system.

CBP took over some of the responsibilities for developing the biometric exit technology after the Department of Homeland Security split up CBP's U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) biometric data collection and analysis program among CBP, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and a new Office of Biometric Identity Management in 2013. That program collected fingerprints from foreign visitors that were checked against terrorist databases. The complete biometric entry/exit program is aimed at preventing visa overstays.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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