Iraq remains technology testbed

An Army contract employee in Iraq recently placed his finger on a fingerprint biometric scanner to verify his identity before picking up his payroll check.

Later on that day, that employee's brother, posing as the employee, came by to pick up the same check. He failed the fingerprint scan and so walked off empty handed.

'It was a no-go," said Lynn Schnurr, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence. Schnurr spoke yesterday at Army IT Day in McLean, Va., which was sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Northern Virginia chapter.

In Iraq, soldiers and intelligence analysts are using biometrics, like the fingerprint scanner, in a wide range of areas from verifying employee identification to scanning prisoners to get information on their past crimes and affiliations.

The Army is also using battlefield record management systems like the Document Exploitation System, which allows intelligence analysts to sift through millions of pages of documents captured by allied forces. And the service is fielding a lot of sensors in Iraq for a persistent surveillance of ground troops, Schnurr said.

'This is absolutely critical. We have some new platforms that have been fielded. We need more (unmanned aerial vehicles) at all echelons. We need the ability to take new technologies' and insert them into these new systems, Schnurr added.

'Our potential battle space truly is the world,' Schnurr said.

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