DOD tests biometrics to secure its smart cards

DOD tests biometrics to secure its smart cards

The Defense Department's Biometrics Fusion Center soon will begin testing software on four types of biometric devices for use on its Common Access smart cards.

DOD's Biometrics Management Office last week awarded a $915,000 contract to KPMG Consulting Inc. of McLean, Va., to conduct a 90-day test of biometric identifiers that could authenticate smart-card
holders for building and network access.

'We want to spend three weeks for a product assessment,' said Paul Howe, director of the Biometrics Fusion Center in Bridgeport, W.Va. 'We try to stay ahead of the marketing curve.' Howe said the center's mission is to help DOD agencies become better buyers of biometrics. A separate facility in Bridgeport will host the tests for the Common Access program.

KPMG's four subcontractors, known as the Smart Card Solution Team, will visit the fusion center to train workers in the vendors' enrollment and authentication applications with fingerprint readers as well as iris, voice and facial recognition devices. The subcontractors will demonstrate how a biometric identifier is stored and matched on a server, stored and matched on PCs, stored on a smart card and matched on a server, or stored and matched on smart cards.

The subcontractors are:

  • Biometric software provider SAFLink Corp. of Bellevue, Wash.

  • Public-key infrastructure middleware vendor Spyrus Corp. of San Jose, Calif.

  • Smart-card reader maker XTec Inc. of Olathe, Kansas


  • The three will demonstrate their applications with fingerprint readers from Precise Biometrics of Sweden.

    Because the companies want to show that fingerprints are not necessarily the favored identifier, they also will demonstrate:

  • Facial recognition devices from Visionics Corp. of Jersey City, N. J.

  • Iris recognition technology from Iridian Technologies Inc. of Moorestown, N.J.

  • Voice recognition devices from Lernout & Hauspie, recently acquired by ScanSoft Inc. of Peabody, Mass.

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