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Homeland Security could get more than $25M for IDENT biometric system improvements


The Department of Homeland Security could get more than $25 million for improvements to its Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) if a funding bill for fiscal 2015 goes into effect, according to a report by Federal Times.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on DHS first passed Bill S.2534 back in June, but other than that no additional measures have been taken.

The bill allocates $249 million for DHS’s Office of Biometric Identity Management, which is part of a greater $47.2 billion plan for a complete department overhaul.

The accompanying House bill is requesting a total of $250 million for the office, which is nearly $2.5 million short of its requested amount.

As a result, the office will only have enough funds to purchase about half of the 10-print biometric matching devices it needs, according to the subcommittee report accompanying the bill.

The subcommittee report said that “OBIM is encouraged to apply any cost savings during the fiscal year to modernization efforts,” in addition to recommending DHS to work with the Justice, Defense and State departments to standardize and distribute biometric information.

Customs and Border Protection, which is now a division of DHS, first began using biometrics to monitor immigrants entering the country and safeguarding borders against visa overstays.

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