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U.S. Army evaluating biometrics for mobile devices on the battlefield


According to an article that appeared in NextGov, the U.S. Army is committed to evaluating several biometric systems that can function on the battlefield.

According to a Defense Department budget submission, the Army will design experiments for the “detection of insider threats based on biometric identification” in the 2017 fiscal year.

Officials at the Pentagon will examine testing tools such as voice and keystroke recognition.

Bob Fedorchak, a tactical public key infrastructure technical lead at the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center told NextGov: “The whole concept of authentication is a necessary evil from the soldier’s standpoint.”

“If I could walk up to the computer and have the computer automatically recognize me, confirm my identity and provide me access without me even touching the keyboard, that’s an ideal situation,” Fedorchak told NextGov.

He noted that logging into a radio or other mobile computing device by hand can delay combat actions. The Army’s objective is for the technology evaluation to determine how biometric protections can be deployed in tactical environments that are loud and chaotic.

According to the NextGov article, the timeline for applying new biometric protections will be dictated by the acquisition cycle, how fast the Army can analyze effectiveness and the commercial availability of the chosen tools. Fedorchak expects that some devices might be modified to implement biometric protections by as early as 2018.

Working out privacy protections also could affect the timing of the deployment of biometric security enhancements, he said.

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