Lockheed wins FBI biometric contract

FBI expected to award NGI contract to Lockheed Martin

In a closely watched competition, Lockheed Martin Corp. is expected to be named the winner today of the FBI's new $1 billion biometric database contract, according to industry sources.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman deferred to the FBI. An FBI spokesman said he anticipated the agency would make an announcement as early as Tuesday afternoon, but did not confirm who won the bidding. Industry sources close to the competition said that the FBI has notified the companies that Lockheed Martin won.

The Lockheed team was competing for the FBI's Next Generation Identification System contract with teams headed by prime contractors Northrop Grumman Corp. and IBM Corp.

Northrop Grumman released a statement confirming that it had lost the competition. "While we are disappointed with the government's decision, we look forward to continuing to partner with the FBI on current and future projects," said Juli Ballesteros, a company spokesman.

Lockheed Martin was favored for the new contract because it developed the FBI's primary fingerprint collection system and database, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

The FBI's NGI system is an upgrade to IAFIS, which collects and stores fingerprints related to law enforcement investigations. NGI will collect photographs and palm prints and will make it easier for the FBI to share data.

The value of the multiyear contract is estimated at $1 billion by research firm Input, although some industry sources said it could be higher.

The contract will include engineering support, software and hardware support, an interstate photo system, advanced fingerprint technology and palm-print biometric identification. It might be expanded to include facial recognition and iris scans.

The bureau describes IAFIS as the world's largest biometric database. Its Criminal Master File contains fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information on more than 47 million people. The information comes from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.

In addition, recent media reports in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have said the FBI plans to expand the new biometric database to share information on international criminals with global partners, referring to it as a "server in the sky." FBI officials did not respond to a request for comment on those reports.

About the Authors

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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