PEO IEW&S biometrics and industry improve DOD ABIS, win Best Tech award

Dec 28, 2022
(Left to right) PdM BEC ABIS IT Specialist Jimmie Culley, DFSC BOD Deputy Assistant Director Amy Turlock, PdM BEC Forrest Church, and Leidos DoD ABIS PM David Jones accepted the award on behalf of the DoD ABIS BDMF team. (Courtesy photo)

Soldiers and industry partners grappling with the slow transfer of massively large files of fingerprints, facial recognition imaging and other biometric data using the Department of Defense Automated Biometric Identification system (DOD ABIS), now have access to a faster method thanks to a capability developed by a collaborative team from Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) Product Manager Biometrics Enabling Capability (PdM BEC), the Defense Forensics Science Center Biometrics Operations Division and industry.

The capability, (the Biometrically Enabled Watch List Dissemination Management Functionality (BDMF)), addresses end-user requirements by significantly lowering the time it takes to transfer biometric data using DOD ABIS. Prior to BDMF, users would spend hours, days, in some cases, uploading and downloading key biometric data needed to make a critical decision or assessment. With this capability, users experience a major improvement in performance and reliability, and activities, such as the importing and exporting of watch lists, can be completed in a matter of hours rather than days, and minutes rather than hours, respectively.

DOD, the intelligence community, and other agencies rely heavily on having timely access to this data to facilitate force protection, control base entry, and engage in several critical activities such as targeting and investigating.

“This game changer enables Army data-centric biometrics operations to speed up information for the warfighter to make decisions to protect DOD forces and the homeland,” said Forrest Church, Product Manager for BEC, a component of PEO IEW&S’s DOD Biometrics portfolio.

According to Church, the September 2021 rollout of the BDMF capability came at the right time to enhance the DOD ABIS ability to perform the critical functions required to meet the urgent needs of Soldiers and other end-users.

“This capability was truly a game changer in two ways,” he said. “And, luckily, we had [BDMF] that was basically waiting to be deployed. They stood up a stand-alone version within basically hours and we were still able to push the watch list out.”

In addition to that timely, quick-fix solution to an immediate data transfer crisis, the BDMF capability, Church said, eventually replaced the previous data dissemination capability within the DOD ABIS.

“The previous capability literally took days, hours to generate the watch list, to package it, to send it out for people to ingest it into their systems,” he said. “All of that went down to hours and minutes. If you want to talk about the Secretary of the Army’s second goal of being more data-centric, this is exactly what we’re doing, making data more accessible, more usable, more rapidly pushed to the decision-maker level, so that they can use it at the speed of information.”

For their successful development and delivery of the BDMF capability, the team, which included Leidos, was recently honored with a Best Technical Advancement Award at the 2022 Federal Identity Forum.


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