Homeland Security Briefs

Aug. 1, 2005

Biometric system helps secure bases in Iraq

BISA, the Biometric Identification System for Access, is a $75 million U.S. Department of Defense project that will assist in force protection initiatives for U.S. installations in Iraq, say officials at the U.S. Army Biometric Management Office in Arlington, Va. In order for local foreign-nationals and other non-U.S. citizens who wish to work on U.S. bases to be granted access, an improved security system is necessary to ensure identity. BISA involves collecting facial, fingerprint, and iris data from employees and placing the data on a smart card. To gain admittance, employees simply scan their card and place their finger on wireless biometric readers at entry stations. The need to improve security at overseas installations originates from a memo sent by then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in May 2005. Organizations that contributed to the development of BISA and BISA policy include: Joint Staff Deputy Directorate for Anti-Terrorism and Homeland Defense; Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; United States Central Command; and the Multi-National Force-Iraq. According to DOD officials, the initial BISA systems were to be fielded in Iraq beginning last month, with the remainder phased in throughout the summer and early fall. BISA will reach full operational capability by the end of October.

ANSI launches Homeland Security Standards Database

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announces the launch of the Homeland Security Standards Database (HSSD), which is now operational at www.hssd.us. ANSI and its Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) undertook the project on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The database provides one-stop access to homeland security standards critical to the jobs of first responders, code officials, and others. The initial standards in the database are distributed under the following categories: threats; emergency preparedness and response; borders and transportation; and information analysis and infrastructure protection. Many of these categories contain subcategories for further specificity. The records in the system will be continually updated and additional homeland security standards are in the process of being added. The database is expected to develop with increased subcategorization, and in the future, this resource will be connected with other homeland security related databases, such as the Responder Knowledge Base. ANSI welcomes comments on the database as well as suggestions for additional standards that should be included. Please direct these messages to Ken Peabody ([email protected]), the project leader for HSSD.

Smiths Detection forms partnership with Paladin Capital Group

Officials at Smiths Detection in Pine Brook, N.J., have formed a strategic partnership with Paladin Capital Group, a private equity investment firm based in Washington. The relationship aligns Smiths Detection with a partner focused on investing in homeland security technology businesses. “This partnership will assist Smiths Detection in discovering and evaluating new technologies that are designed to prevent or defend against terrorist attacks,” says Bill Mawer, Smiths Detection director of strategy, business development and technology. “With early access to promising technologies, we will have the opportunity to explore new markets and additional applications for them.” In July 2004, Smiths Group made an equity investment commitment to the Paladin Homeland Security Fund and is the sole company with a detection business invested in the fund. As part of its relationship with Paladin, Smiths Detection will have the opportunity to co-invest with Paladin Capital in future transactions. For more on Pala-din see www.paladincapgroup.com. For more on Smiths Detection visit www.smithsdetection.com.

International Biometric Group delivers iris- recognition test report to DHS

The International Biometric Group announced the delivery of the Independent Testing of Iris Recognition Technology (ITIRT) final report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The ITIRT final report presents results from an evaluation of iris-recognition accuracy, interoperability, and usability. The report can be downloaded at www.biometricgroup.com/ITIRT. ITIRT evaluated performance of the following state-of-the-art iris-recognition hardware and software: Iridian KnoWho OEM SDK, LG IrisAccess 3000, Oki IRISPASS-WG, and Panasonic BM-ET300. More than 100,000 iris images were acquired through ITIRT devices over a several-week period. Dozens of images were acquired from each of 1,288 subjects varying in age and ethnicity. From this data, more than two billion data points were generated for analysis. ITIRT presents results essential to a full understanding of biometric performance, including false accept and false reject rates, failure to enroll and failure to acquire rates, transaction duration and level of effort, and performance over time. The report also examines interoperability across iris recognition devices. The report further examines whether certain test subjects are more likely than others to be falsely accepted or rejected by iris-recognition devices, and whether failed enrollments occur across multiple devices.

TSA deploys new technology to 10 additional airports by September

Officials at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Washington have successfully completed the explosives-detection trace portal program pilot phase for passenger screening. This new technology was tested in a pilot program in 14 cities and met TSA’s rigorous standards for excellence. Positive feedback from participating airports, airlines and passengers indicates that the technology greatly enhances customer service, TSA officials say. Starting last month, TSA began the first round of deployment by adding 44 additional machines and 10 additional airports to the program. By the end of September, TSA will complete the first wave of deployment of this new technology to airports in Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas (DFW); Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Newark, N.J.; New York (LaGuardia); Palm Beach, Fla.; Pittsburgh; San Juan, P.R.; and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National). TSA anticipates deploying 100 additional machines targeting the nation’s largest airports by January 2006. TSA will purchase 25 trace portal machines from Smiths Detection of Pine Brook, N.J., for $3.6 million and 19 trace portals from General Electric of Wilmington, Mass., for $3.2 million. All equipment must be delivered by September.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!