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U.S. Army deploys contactless multi-modal access control system to Iraq


U.S. armed forces in Iraq have deployed a contactless fingerprint, facial, and iris recognition access control system to an undisclosed location for a trial expected to last roughly 30 days, SIGNAL reports. The system is supplied by Army researchers to meet a joint urgent operational need, and could be deployed elsewhere after the assessment period.

The system captures biometrics from personnel with Common Access Cards as they walk through a checkpoint, and displays the data to an operator. It can also display other information, such as the security clearance of the individual passing through the checkpoint, or their presence on a watch list, and it activates an alarm if the individual and the access card do not match, according to SIGNAL.

“The beauty of this is that we have a multimodal biometrics capability that allows you, if you miss one or even two biometrics but catch a third, to still validate that individual. This is a major advantage over current capabilities that are single modal,” says Alan Krzywicki, government head of the Biometrics Systems Integration Lab, which built the system.

It was built by integrating two commercial products which were originally developed with support from the Navy. The Biometrics Systems Integration Lab was established four months ago by the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Engineering and Development Center. There are plans to relocate it to a larger facility with more capabilities in the coming months. Lab personnel plan to deploy voice recognition and rapid DNA identification systems to Iraq as well.

Col. Donald Hurst, a project manager for Department of Defense Biometrics says that the DoD has added a product lead for foreign military biometric sales. “That’s important for NATO and several countries we’re working with to get biometric collection and some sort of data repository capability,” he says, as reported by SIGNAL.

The DoD is also considering ways to replace the Common Access Card with biometric access controls.

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