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US Army signs directive to set policies for biometrics collection, anticipate future needs

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US Army signs directive to set policies for biometrics collection, anticipate future needs

The U.S. Army has signed its first biometrics directive to consider how it will use the technology in the future, and what it needs to do to support the development and deployment of new biometric technologies.

Biometrics are used by the Army to identify threats and distinguish them from neutral parties in combat zones, amongst other applications. The Army also uses biometrics for access control at bases.

The directive was signed in October by Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth, according to an article on an Army website.

One of its main objectives is to anticipate and identify the future biometrics needs of the Army.

“The directive covers employment of Army biometric capabilities and operational actions,” Russell Wilson, the policy and engagements lead at the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency told the Army News Service. “Operational actions from collection, matching, storing, sharing, analyzing, providing and, more importantly, deciding and acting. And it does that across the warfighter functions to facilitate lethal and non-lethal effects and complete Army missions.”

The Department of Defense first formulated a policy for biometrics back in 2008, and a 2016 policy document put the Secretary of the Army in charge of DoD forensics and biometrics.

A proliferation of authorities and policies around biometrics have sprung up since then, including rules for protecting privacy and civil liberties.

Army staff have been examining the full organization to identify the processes it needs to put in place to ensure their protection while processing biometrics since May of 2020, according to the report.

“When you’re out there doing your mission as a young Soldier, make sure you do it right, because these are people’s lives, we’re [dealing] with,” said Wilson.

Biometrics collected by the U.S. Military are held in a DoD database, which is interoperable with the databases held by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

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