Northrup Grumman progressing on new DHS biometric system

Northrup Grumman is nearing completion of the first increment of a contract to develop a new cloud-based biometric system for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the government’s program manager said at connect:ID, Defense Daily reports.

The company is developing a new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART), which will replace the IDENT system, which DHS has used since 1994, and currently contains nearly 230 million unique identities, mostly with fingerprints, but including some with facial and iris templates, according to Defense Daily. The new system is intended to provide more robust capabilities, including for multimodal biometric fusion, and a flexible, scalable architecture.

The progress is being observed by officials from DHS’ Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), which is responsible for IDENT and the new HART system. IDENT currently performs roughly 350,000 daily transactions for more than 45 customers, some of which are international organizations.

Northrup Grumman won the contracts for Increments 1 and 2 of the project last fall, and began work on the $95 million contract on March 19, after the Government Accountability Office decided in favor of the government’s decision in an appeal by Leidos. Gemalto will continue providing fingerprint matching algorithms, while NEC provides those for face and iris. Increments 3 and 4 are currently in the planning stages, and are expected to increase capacity, as well as add voice, DNA, and other biometric modalities.

OBIM had planned for each increment of the contract to take 18 months, but now expects the work on the first two will be completed six months ahead of schedule. HART is expected to be operational by the end of fiscal 2019, with full operational capability during fiscal 2020, according to the report.

A performance test environment and a “biometric marketplace” are planned as part of the Northrup Grumman contract, and will allow OBIM to evaluate new modalities and algorithms.

Legislation which would formalize OBIM’s role was recently referred to the House Committee of Homeland Security.

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