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US Navy plans rollout of new multimodal biometric system after shift to remote training

New Identity Dominance System features on-device matching

digital identity biometric registration

A U.S. Navy Mobile Training Team has transitioned to remote training for Sailors on the biometric gear used in the new Identity Dominance System (IDS), according to an article by Naval Sea Systems Command.

The hand-held IDS was recently described in the book First Platoon and a Washington Post article, and enables personnel to collect, match, store and share biometric data in the field.

More than 2,000 armed forces members on 130 ships and detachments at bases in Norfolk, Mayport, San Diego, Everett, Pearl Harbor, Japan, Bahrain and Spain were trained in person for collection of face, fingerprint, and iris biometrics by IDS Technical Direction Agent Lead Mike Jones and his team before the pandemic. While delivering the equipment and training to the Navy’s fleet of visit, board, search, seizure (VBSS) ships, however, the COVID-19 pandemic halted domestic and international travel.

The team transitioned to telework, while also working to upgrade the device’s hardware and software to give it a smaller form-factor and enhanced capabilities including local matching.

Sailors use the system to check individuals’ biometrics against a local watchlist, but Jones says transmitting that data back to the authoritative database for further matching “is far more critical.”

The new system is expected to be deployed operationally in fiscal 2021.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) team is building software to run on an Android mobile platform, and working with Booz Allen Hamilton, which is contracted to provide an indefinite number of the devices through January 2024.

Training will be conducted virtually, and VBSS teams will receive a biometrically enabled watch list (BEWL) from the Biometrics Operations Directorate (BOD) of the Defense Forensic Science Center (BFSC) to use while searching for persons of interest.

“When operators collect an enrollment and get a quick response on the handheld – they submit it to ABIS, which performs matching not just against the full DOD watch list but against their entire database of identity records in ABIS, which includes latent fingerprints acquired from captured enemy material,” Jones explains.

The new handheld devices will feature an iris alignment aid, which was included on the legacy device but not the first generation of the new one. The two-finger sensor on the legacy device has been upgraded to a four-finger sensor.

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