As one of the most technologically progressive organizations in the U.S. government, the Air Force is focused on ensuring it can procure the specific hardware, networking equipment, software and identity management solutions it needs to keep citizens and systems safe. Through the Network Centric Solutions-2 (NETCENTS-2) IDIQ contract, the Air Force and other government agencies can get the products they need to ensure successful missions—even products not available through other mandatory-use Defense Department or Air Force contracts.

One of the most important technology areas within NETCENTS-2 is biometrics and identity management. Solutions in this area verify identity via physiological biometrics such as fingerprint, iris palm and facial recognition. They also use behavioral biometrics such as signature, keystroke, voice, and gait recognition. These are already widely employed throughout the Air Force to verify personal identity.

With the right biometrics solutions, agencies can not only identify individuals, but also locate and track persons of interest and share identity information with cooperating agencies. The products offered through NETCENTS-2 are advanced, proven, and compliant identity products. They are all built to the DoD Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification (EBTS) standard.

Biometrics and other identity management solutions have become indispensable tools for all government agencies. Scanners and readers are being added to everything from notebooks and tablets to mobile phones. Government organizations at the state, local and federal levels can procure biometrics and identity management solutions from NETCENTS-2.

Besides using identity management solutions for secure access to government facilities, agencies are using them for everything from border control and law enforcement to voter registration. According to the Biometrics Research Group, automated fingerprint identification systems and fingerprint biometric technologies are the most widely used forms of biometrics in law enforcement today. Other popular identification technologies in law enforcement include facial, iris and voice recognition.

One of the fastest-growing use cases for biometric authentication is on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Today’s mobile devices are built to enable this type of technology. According to TechNavio, the market for global fingerprint recognition on mobile devices will grow by more than 200 percent through 2019.

Mobile biometrics is especially useful for fieldwork, such as providing positive identification for first responders and police. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are using mobile fingerprint readers, immediately connecting the images via Bluetooth or WiFi to FBI databases or storing them for later transmission.

While physical and retinal scans are widely used throughout government today, some agencies are pushing the envelope when it comes to secure identification. They’re exploring more cutting-edge identity methods such as ear shape, heartbeat, gait recognition, footprint and hand geography, and voice. Even more cutting-edge is the idea of touchless gesture-sensing technology, a more hygienic, precise form of identification ideal for applications like e-passports. This works by generating a 3D fingerprint scan that is often more complete than a traditional rolled 2D fingerprint scan.

There are several other up-and-coming forms of biometrics. These include vascular scans, which use infrared lights and a camera to capture vein patterns in fingers or palms; and scent biometrics, a technology that can identify people by their scent.