Hutchinson: Biometrics gains spotlight at DHS

Biometric technologies are at the forefront of the Homeland Security Department's efforts to secure the nation's borders and transportation and immigration systems, a DHS official said today.

"Our practical task is to serve America and protect the homeland from terrorists, and biometrics is an essential part of this," said Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security at DHS.

DHS is using biometric technologies in three large security programs: U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indication Technology system, called U.S. Visit, which uses biometric information to track the entries and exits of foreign nationals; Registered Traveler pilot program, in which travelers have volunteered to provide biographical information and/or digital fingerprint and iris scans at five airports nationwide; and the Transportation Workers Identification Credential, or TWIC, pilot program that incorporates biometric information on cards for transportation workers.

Hutchinson said the biometrics-based security programs have four goals: to verify the identities of individuals; to do background checks for criminal activity; to maximize efficiencies and minimize inconveniences for travelers; and to safeguard personal privacy.

Hutchinson also said that the biometrics support group ? an initiative he created to determine how DHS uses biometrics to avoid duplicative programs ? found that the department needs to do a better job coordinating its biometrics programs to promote efficiency and reduce costs. DHS has more than 60 biometrics programs across nine organizations at present, he said.

Hutchinson also said the group has set three goals for DHS' use of biometrics, including common standards, unified processes and a single verifiable identity for every individual DHS encounters at any place in the nation.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here


  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.