The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) late in the third quarter of FY ’16 expects to release the Task Order Request for Proposal for its new biometric storage, sharing and matching database, the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) system to replace the current IDENT system.

DHS expects to award a contract for the first two increments of HART during the fourth quarter of FY ’16, according to a slides presented at an Industry Day in March to review the HART program and procurement plans. The Industry Day was for vendors that hold contracts under the department’s potential $22 billion EAGLE II contracting vehicle.

An industry official tells HSR that the upcoming HART competition will likely be for awardees under Functional Category 1 (FC1) of the EAGLE II contract although this could change. The FC1 category covers service delivery, including integration, software design and development, and operations and maintenance (O&M).

Like the IDENT system, HART will be operated by the DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), which resides within the National Protection and Programs Directorate. IDENT is essentially a fingerprint-based storage and matching system—although it does have some limited face and iris capabilities—and DHS plans for HART to initially host all three biometric modalities, fingerprints, facial and iris images, giving component agencies more flexibility in meeting their operational needs for collecting and matching biometrics, and also enabling more accurate matching through fusion techniques.

Some agencies have expressed interest in potentially adding DNA and voice recognition to HART in the future.

Congress provided $65 million in the FY ’16 budget for OBIM to initiate the first of four increments of HART. DHS is seeking $52.8 million for HART in its FY ’17 request.

The IDENT system currently stores about 194 million unique identities, handles more than 260,000 daily transactions, is built on and architecture and software code created in the 1990s, and is facing significant O&M costs, according to the slide presentation. Meanwhile, demand for storage and transactions continues to rise—DHS projects the number of unique identities to reach 200 million this summer and to exceed 300 million in FY ’22 with annual transactions rising from 116 million in FY ’16 to 174 million in FY ’22—and there are concerns with O&M affordability and the ability to meet increased stakeholder requirements.

For HART Increment 1, DHS says it will have its core foundation to begin operating the system with initial operating capability planned for FY ’18. The core foundation includes “system hardware, data re-architecture, business workflow and business rules management capabilities, biometric middleware, data management, and baseline (existing) system functionality,” DHS says.

DHS is also seeking a modular, open system design in Increment 1 with minimal custom development and interoperability with the Justice Department’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) multimodal biometric database and the Defense Department Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). The first increment will also include the initial establishment of a performance test environment that is representative of a full production environment to allow HART and its applications to be subject to performance tests.

Increment 2 is planned for completion in FY ‘19 and would include the all-up face, finger and iris modalities and the multimodal fusion capabilities, a full performance test environment, and a data warehouse for reporting and data analysis, and a data mart, DHS says. The data warehouse may be implemented as a DHS data center on-site solution or cloud-based managed service, according to the slide presentation.

The final two increments would consist of web portal and person-centric services, and a candidate verification tool, analytics and reporting with full operating capability expected in FY ‘21.

There are 68 vendors under FC1 of EAGLE II, including Accenture [ACN], which established the former DHS US-VISIT program that included IDENT, Lockheed Martin [LMT], which created the FBI’s NGI biometric database, and Northrop Grumman [NOC], which built the Defense Department’s next-generation ABIS biometric database.

Customs and Border Protection is the largest user of IDENT through its processing of foreign national entering the United States at ports of entry, accounting for 65 percent of transactions processed. The Justice and State Departments are the second and third largest users of the database respectively, with 14 and 13 percent of the processed transactions.