DHS S&T Develops Prototype DNA Store and Match Capability for Biometric Office

TAMPA, Fla.--Looking to meet the requirements of its users, the biometric identity office within the Department of Homeland Security last year awarded the Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate to develop a prototype of a capability for the storage, matching and sharing of DNA for biometric queries.

The DNA Store/Match/Share (SMS) effort was unveiled in late September at the annual Federal Identity Forum hosted by AFCEA in Tampa, Fla. S&T has completed the first phase of the project with the creation of a software prototype in a commercial cloud that meets the DHS enterprise architecture and standards.

The S&T branch says that users have tested the prototype and that their feedback with drive the last two phases of the effort.

The DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) manages the IDENT biometric identity management system, which is largely composed of fingerprint records but also face and iris images. The office, through prime contractor Northrop Grumman [NOC], is developing the next-generation to IDENT, the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) system, which will have greater storage capacity and scalability, and also go beyond finger, face and iris images.

OBIM officials at the Fed ID event told HSR that they have a lot of interest from components in DHS, and from other stakeholders, for the ability search and match DNA samples collected in the field, in particular for kinship analysis.

The aim of the DNA SMS prototype is “to conduct ‘lights-out’ DNA biometric searches for exact matches, claimed family relationship verifications, and limited family relationship searches,” says an information sheet provided by S&T for the project.

In the second phase of the DNA SMS prototype effort, the DNA prototype tested in the commercial cloud will be shifted to a DHS GovCloud and include enhancements based on user feedback. In the third phase, the prototype software will be integrated and tested in the IDENT/HART environment and be used by DHS components in pilot testing. S&T hopes for the testing can begin in 2020.

S&T says that the time is ripe for DHS to have its own capability to store, match and share DNA.

“Although DHS has outsourced its DNA analysis in the past, Rapid DNA is now commercially available and provides DHS with the ability to directly test DNA in 90 minutes in its field locations,” S&T says. “Because of strong standards, the DNA SMS prototype accepts DNA from traditional labs and Rapid DNA and exports DNA profiles to all existing identity management systems.”

SNA International, a woman-owned small business, is support S&T in the DNA SMS effort.

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