Leidos [LDOS] last week filed a protest with the government over the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) selection in late September of Northrop Grumman [NOC] to develop a new multimodal biometric database.

Leidos filed its protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Oct. 10 and the agency has until Jan. 18, 2018 to render a decision. In the meantime, DHS has issued a stop work order to Northrop Grumman pending the outcome of GAO’s review.

A spokesman for Leidos declined comment due to the “ongoing litigation.”

CSRA, Inc. [CSRA] also bid for the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) contract. DHS debriefed the three bidders their award rational last week.

DHS on Sept. 28 awarded Northrop Grumman a $95 million contract to develop Increments 1 and 2 of HART.

The HART system will replace the current authoritative DHS biometric database, which is known as IDENT and is operated by the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) with the department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate. OBIM provides biometric match, store, share and analyze capabilities through IDENT.

Increment 1 of HART is scheduled to take 18 months to complete and includes migrating the current biometric capabilities of IDENT. These include storage and matching of fingerprint, face and iris images, as well as latent fingerprint matching, a new data architecture, and a new system development and testing environment. IDENT has limited face and iris matching capabilities.

Increment 2, which will also last for 18 months, calls for a better face and iris matching capabilities, as well as a biometric fusion element that will produce stronger matching results when multiple biometrics are used in a search query. The second increment also calls for improved business processing workflows.

DHS plans to recompete HART work after the second increment. Future plans might include additional biometric modalities such as DNA and voice recognition.

Leidos is currently helping the Defense Department and the FBI operate and maintain their respective biometric databases, the Next Generation ABIS and Next Generation Identification system. CSRA is currently supporting OBIM for IDENT.

The fingerprint matching algorithms for IDENT and initially for HART are supplied by Netherlands-based Gemalto. Japan’s NEC Corp. is providing the face and iris matching software for IDENT and HART.