Homeland Security seeks US$65.8 million for new biometric system

The US Department of Homeland Security is seeking $65.8 million for the first phase of development of a new biometric verification system, according to a fiscal year 2016 Budget Request. DHS writes that the funds are for the National Protection and Programs Directorate Replacement Biometric System, which will replace the Automated Biometric Identification System, known as IDENT. The funds will support the Office of Biometric Identity Management for an initial increment of a four-increment phased approach to replacing the legacy IDENT system.

The department writes that in addition to reduced operating costs, the new system will have improved detection capabilities, more efficient processing, and improved scalability. Last September, a senior OBIM official confirmed that the Office of Biometric Identity Management would receive US$20 million in extra funding to keep its existing identification system operating while the new system is developed.
The 20-year-old system is currently dealing with 300,000 transactions a day (hitting a database of 173 million unique identities) in comparison to 220,000 (hitting a database of 150 million unique identities) a year ago.

According to the budget document, OBIM’s Biometric Support Center also “processed more than 631,000 10-Print verifications and completed over 239,000 urgent fingerprint verifications during FY 2014”. Last November, OBIM sought information on the emerging biometrics technologies and services that could replace its current system.