A U.S. Biometrics Agency

As of last week, there is now a U.S. Government national security agency called the Biometrics Identity Management Agency (BIMA).  It supersedes a Biometrics Task Force that was established in 2000.

Though nominally a component of the Army, the biometrics agency has Defense Department-wide responsibilities.

“The Biometrics Identity Management Agency leads Department of Defense activities to prioritize, integrate, and synchronize biometrics technologies and capabilities and to manage the Department of Defense’s authoritative biometrics database to support the National Security Strategy,” according to a March 23 Order (pdf) issued by Army Secretary John M. McHugh that redesignated the previous Biometrics Task Force as the BIMA.

Biometrics is generally defined as “a measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) [or] behavioral characteristic that can be used for automated recognition.”

“Biometric data [are] normally unclassified,” according to a 2008 DoD directive (pdf).  “However, elements of the contextual data, information associated with biometric collection, and/or associated intelligence analysis may be classified.”

“Biometrics-enabled Intelligence [refers to] intelligence information associated with and or derived from biometrics data that matches a specific person or unknown identity to a place, activity, device, component, or weapon that supports terrorist / insurgent network and related pattern analysis, facilitates high value individual targeting, reveals movement patterns, and confirms claimed identity.”

“Biometrics is an important enabler that shall be fully integrated into the conduct of DoD activities to support the full range of military operations,” the 2008 directive stated.

“Every day thousands of [biometric] records are collected and sent to the Department of Defense (DOD) Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to store and compare against existing records,” a 2009 DoD report (pdf) said. “The technology is improving such that a submission from theater [e.g., in Afghanistan] can be searched in the DOD ABIS and a response sent back to theater in less than two minutes.”

“Realtime positive identification of persons of interest enables Coalition forces to target, track, and prosecute known or potential adversaries,” the DoD report said.

No Responses to “A U.S. Biometrics Agency”

  1. George Smith March 29, 2010 at 1:02 PM #

    It’s good to keep in mind, too, the inclination for the US government, military — and indeed many Americans in general, to believe that increasing layers of technology are substitutes for intelligence, good judgment and blood. The war in Afghanistan is still escalating. In general, one wonders how biometrics can make any difference at all. Unless, of course, the idea is just to apply it to your own people, whether it’s a nuisance or of value.

  2. Garrick March 29, 2010 at 9:43 PM #

    Corrupt authority, whether it be an abusive spouse or a dictator, employs secrecy to hide it’s true activities. Otherwise the subjects would have the wool pulled back from their eyes and see the authority unclothed.

    Corrupt authority is understandably paranoid and threatened by the subjects it maintains control over and harvests wealth from. Corrupt authority tells nothing about itself and seeks to secretly know everything about the individual in name of “national security.” A constant state of war is necessary, and is produced to divert attention away from the true cause and to justify a police state of affairs. The cost of maintaining a police state is enormous, just ask the Ancient Romans if you could. More and more of the economy is always devoted to servicing the growing military/police state, but it cannot be sustained.

    The end can turn out in different ways. Often the criminals behind the proverbial curtain will loot the treasury and escape, leaving the country burn. Or, a slow death in which the corruption saps perception of credibility from all authority, and authority is nothing without credibility. It is the people who give authority in the first place. The purpose of non-violent protests is to demonstrate this. However non-violent protests are generally isolated and for a finite time. In the end, people en-mass will walk away from the system itself, permanently, leaving it defenseless.

  3. Brian Caldwell March 29, 2010 at 10:36 PM #

    Honestly, the people who come up with these ideas may have the highest technological capacity, but they’re a bunch of Good-Time Chuckleheads whose motto is “Throw another body on the pile.”

  4. Turnip March 29, 2010 at 10:50 PM #

    Garrik,

    I hope you possess a deeper understanding of the great unwashed than I. Personally, watching the process, and the response to it over the last many years, has created a misanthrope of me, rather than a hopeful being. Division, as always, is the enemy, and it’s been woven into the very tapestry of the issues themselves. I fear that there is no untangling the mess for the common person, which will make possible the direction of those people by the existing power structure.
    -S

  5. Lster921 March 30, 2010 at 4:43 AM #

    Hmmm. Terrorist, huh? Like “domestic terrorists?” Shoot fellers! That means us!!
    I am always suspicious when someone wants my picture, face, retina, mouth swab, fingerprint, etc…
    Now it is just common and damn, they are gonna have it any way the DoD wants it.
    Well, as with Tunip, I too have become misanthropic, but I don’t see it as a negative aspect. Just survival in the (again as Turnip refers to) divided territory of our nation.
    Well, America always sorts itself out in the end.

  6. didier March 30, 2010 at 6:17 AM #

    Now it is possible NOT to have your fingerprint kept in a data-base and still get the advantages of biometrics!!!

    With the latest biometric method your fingerprint is ONLY stored on your own card, so-called Match-on-Card technology.

    That became the solution when DOS chosed the biometric-system from Precise Biometrics. I think it is a swedish Company, and they have a partnership with Gemalto. Anyway, you can see your fingerprint as your new pin-code, that you don’t need to remeber anymore.

    So you will have your privacy left, but with less risk!

  7. doggie daddy March 30, 2010 at 7:37 AM #

    Is this one of those ‘green jobs’ the prez-lite promised to create?

    Must be, millions are already off the welfare line.

  8. Brian Caldwell March 30, 2010 at 7:43 AM #

    There is no untangling of the mess for the common person. I know the reclusive Russian mathematicain Perelman solved the century-old Poincare Conjecture, I could have been on a track to get my head into that kind of space myself. But they’re not teaching those subjects in school anymore, as much as “Chaos, Eros, Gaia,” and how your styrofoam cup murders more people than the combined military and industrial machines of all nations. There is a mathematical certainty that the “common person” and the “great unwashed” such as myself will always be denied the luxury of mathematical certainty.

  9. Brian Caldwell March 30, 2010 at 7:46 AM #

    Typographical error “Mathematicain.” There is no automatic spell-check here to be my brother’s keeper. Go figure.

  10. Lawrence A, Oshanek March 30, 2010 at 5:55 PM #

    If you were to rely upon a card with a digital copy of your finger prints, I then have your entire identity as I have a scanner with reads that technology … I can then put it in 3 cards or 50 cards and I can manufacture latex gloves with your prints on them … I can do that now for under $120.00 (the first one, the second one can be done for abut $6.00 as I would now have the capital cost equipment to do so).

    You need security from your governments, not security by them!

  11. Sam Brehon April 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM #

    A new name? This is the third time DOD biometrics has changed their name; first was the biometrics manangement office, then the biometric task force, and now the BIMA. The real question to be asked is how does an organization under the Army and staffed by predominately Army personnel adjudicate DOD biometric concerns? $400 + Million dollars have been wasted by this organization with little strategic direction or leadership. This organization should be disbanded or redesigned as a JOINT organization falling under a JOINT or OSD level position. BTW – USD P&R collects stores and manages biometrics for CAC cards; why does DOD need duplicate agencies for biometrics?

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