Biometrics Task Force awards 12 contracts

The Biometrics Task Force will contract with 12 companies for a variety of biometric products and services.

The Biometrics Task Force, an Army unit charged with leading Defense Department activities to program, integrate, and synchronize biometric technologies, will contract with 12 companies for a variety of biometric products and services.

The Biometrics Operations and Support Services Unrestricted (BOSS-U) contract is a multiple award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a three-year base period of performance, two one-year options and a total contract ceiling of $497 million for all awardees.

The six functional service categories allowed for by the IDIQ are fairly broad, said Rob Brandewie, a senior vice president of identity and security solutions for Telos, a company that won a spot on the contract. A BTF spokeswoman said the Army won’t comment on the contract awards.

IDIQ task orders will likely support three major military biometric efforts now underway, Brandewie said.

The first is to support continuing biometric operations, such as handheld retinal scanning in Iraq and Afghanistan that identifies enemies and is used for access control. The second is implementation of a worldwide biometric infrastructure within the DOD. The third area is implementing Homeland Security Presidential Directive 24, which calls for the sharing of biometric data among federal agencies.

Within the next two to five years, the DOD is likely to have built an infrastructure to support widespread use of biometrics for system authentication and access control under selected conditions, Brandewie predicted. Biometric security will not become entirely replace other methods, he said.

“It takes a little bit of time to collect and verify a biometric,” he said. Even adding seconds to the access authorization process in high-traffic areas such as base entry can create severe traffic jams.

Still, biometric technology is advanced enough that it will likely become widespread under high or elevated security conditions, he said. Some methods have proven better than others. In particular, iris and hand-print identification seem viable, while retinal scanning will likely drop by the wayside, Brandewie said.

The 12 companies with a BOSS-U award are CACI, Telos, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cogent, SAIC, American Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman, Ideal Innovations, CSC, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and EDS.