FBI awards Lockheed Martin $1B biometrics contract

The FBI today awarded Lockheed Martin’s Transportation and Security Solutions the contract for the design, development, documentation, integration, testing, and deployment of its Next Generation Identification (NGI) System.

As expected, the $1 billion, 10 year services contract will expand on the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division’s current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which is primarily a fingerprint-based identification system operated and maintained in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The project is an expansion of the data gathering the FBI already does at its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. CJIS is the FBI’s massive central repository for criminal justice information services; the CJIS division operates national-level crime data systems that furnish name checks, fingerprints, criminal history data, mugshots and other information to law enforcement officials.

The FBI said the new system will move beyond what it called a “dependency on a unimodal (fingerprints) biometric identifier” and incorporate multimodal biometrics such as iris and facial imaging. Indeed the deal is a major upgrade to the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System because it lets the agency  more easily share anti-terrorism information with domestic and international partners and may include other identifiers, including palm prints, iris scans and facial recognition, an Associated Press story stated.

It also will include data on known criminals and terrorists, as well as information on foreign visitors to the U.S. whose fingerprints and digital photographs were collected under a separate Department of Homeland Security program that monitors people entering the U.S. via air, land and sea, the AP said.

Due to the many issues associated with identity theft, lost and stolen documents, and the ability to spoof standard name-based identity management systems, coupled with the rapid advances in technology and the nation’s focus on combating terrorism, there are increasing needs for new and improved identification services, the FBI said in a statement.  

In line with this trend, the NGI System will advance the integration strategies and indexing of additional, lawfully authorized, biometric data, providing the framework for a future multimodal system which will facilitate biometric fusion identification techniques.

This framework will be expandable, scalable, and flexible to accommodate new technologies and emerging biometrics standards, and will be interoperable with existing biometric systems.

The FBI in Oct. awarded Lockheed Martin a $16 million contract to upgrade its Hewlett Packard Superdome Unix servers that support the database. The new and upgraded servers will be part of the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. IAFIS maintains the largest biometric database in the world, containing the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million subjects in the Criminal Master File, according to the FBI Web site. The fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information are submitted voluntarily by state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.

The FBI last week said West Virginia University will be the bureau’s  partner in biometrics research. WVU’s role is to provide biometrics research support to the FBI and its law enforcement and national security partners and serve as the FBI liaison to the academic community of biometric researchers nationwide.  

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