March 5, 2008
Table of Contents
- ICx to Unveil Optical-Zoom Thermal Imaging Camera
- TSA Approves Priva Technologies as RT Service Provider
- L-3 Licenses ExitSentry for Airport Checkpoint Solutions
- BearingPoint, EDS, XTec to Compete for DHS HSPD-12 Work
- ICx Nabs Up to $19M in Chem/Bio Detection Awards
- ManTech Wins $9.7M to Provide IT Services to DHS S&T
- Smiths Detection Gets $7.2M Air Force HazMat Award
- L-3 Nabs $215M CDC Preparedness Support Contract
- GE Delivers CTX 9000s to Abu Dhabi Airport
- Firm Gets Small Task Order for Systems Integration for GSA
- DHS Selects 11 Universities to Lead New Centers of Excellence
- SBInet Plans Northern Border Prototype
- Navy Issues BAA for Combating Terrorism
- Army RDECOM Issues BAA for Combating Terrorism
- Coast Guard RDC Seeks SETA Services
- DHS NPPD Seeks Infrastructure Protection Services
- CBP Plans RFP for Human Resources Support
- HHS Issues BAA for Radiological Medical Countermeasures
- Marines Issue RFI for Comprehensive Security Access System
- Earnings Notes And News
- TSA Ready to Examine All Intelligent Video Has to Offer
- Biometrics Agency Soliciting For Technologies Ready for Demonstration
- ANSI Report on Mass Transit Security Outlines Challenges, Solutions and Standards Issues
*The Coast Guard has begun the expansion of its Biometrics-at-Sea Program to the Florida Straits after spending over a year collecting fingerprints and photographs from illegal migrants attempting to cross the Mona Passage from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard said last fall that it would be expanding the program to South Florida (TR2, Nov. 28, 2007). Since the program began in November 2006 the Coast Guard has collected biometric data from 1,513 migrants, which has resulted in 118 prosecutions and helped reduce the flow of illegal migration by 50 percent. Use of biometric collection devices will continue in the Mona Pass.
*The Department of Homeland Security late last month accepted Project 28, the first installment of an electronic fence that will secure portions of the country’s northern and southern borders, from Boeing [BA] eight months late. DHS says that most of the components that make up Project 28, such as radars and cameras, will be replaced this year to improve the system’s operating capability. DHS’ acceptance of the system was followed by a flurry of media reports and assertions by some members of Congress that the technology doesn’t work. DHS acknowledges that the system currently doesn’t meet the expectations of the Border Patrol, which is why various components will be swapped out. Still, the program isn’t dead although DHS has decided to roll it out more slowly to various sections of the Southwest Border than originally planned.
*IBM [IBM] last week protested the FBI’s award of the potential $1 billion Next Generation Identification System contract to Lockheed Martin. The FBI, IBM and Lockheed Martin all declined to comment on the protest. The protest was lodged on Feb. 25 and the Government Accountability Office has until June 4 to issue its decision on the matter.
ICX Technologies [ICXT] next month plans to unveil an upgraded version of its DefendIR thermal imaging camera, the DefendIR-CZ, which the company says is the first uncooled infrared camera on the market that is also equipped with continuous-optical-zoom capability. ICx says that currently most thermal cameras offer multi-field-of-view or step zoom, which requires the camera operator to step between fields of view, causing a temporary loss of the target image. The DefendIR-CZ allows the user to change fields of view while keeping the target in focus at all times. The camera features a 30mm to 90mm lens and was used by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms at the Super Bowl.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has approved Priva Technologies as a service provider for the Registered Traveler (RT) program, making it the eighth company to meet the agency’s minimum criteria to offer the trusted traveler services to entities that want to sponsor RT services. Priva plans to announce its marketing strategy in the coming months. Priva’s service, if successful, features a biometric-enabled computer chip as part of a device that is inserted into USB port to begin the authentication process at an RT kiosk. The ClearedKey would contain the fingerprint and iris data just as the smart cards that are used by other RT Service Providers do. The ClearedKey, which is a little larger than a common house key, includes a fingerprint sensor to verify the authenticity of the user. Priva says that while RT kiosks are currently set up to read smart cards, they could easily be retrofitted to accept the ClearedKey USB interface.
L-3 Communications [LLL] has signed a license agreement with Cernium Corp. under which L-3’s Security and Detection Systems division will integrate Cernium’s ExitSentry video analytics capability into its airport checkpoint suite of products. “This partnership will enhance the solutions offering from a trusted source and make ExitSentry available to airports that are upgrading or building new integrated checkpoint facilities,” says Craig Chambers, president and CEO of Cernium. ExitSentry is used for airport concourse exit lane monitoring and automatically provides alerts for wrong way motion detection. Security breaches at airport terminals, which are sometimes caused when a person enters the secure side of an airport through an exit lane, are costly, forcing the area to be evacuated and flights from that terminal to be delayed.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signed Blanket Purchase Agreements with BearingPoint [BE], EDS Corp. [EDS] and XTec Inc. allowing the firms to compete for task orders to help the department meet its requirements under HSPD-12 that all federal employees and contractors go through specified background checks and use biometric enabled credentials for access to government facilities and computer networks. The total potential value of the DHS program over five years is $180 million. There is no money attached to the initial agreements. Before it was ready to award the contracts DHS wanted to have a comprehensive cost assessment, wanted to make sure it had established the policies and procedures that could meet a baseline across the department, and we also developed a maturity model, a deployment plan for how we would reach that very last person in a remote location, and a migration strategy delineating how we might accomplish that,” Cynthia Sjoberg, DHS program manager for HSPD-12, tells TR2. “We wanted the process to drive the technology, not the other way around.” The first phase of the implementation is enrolling the DHS population in the National Capital Region, which will require building an enterprise infrastructure for deployment at department headquarters that will serve all components and directorates. DHS includes about 200,000 employees. Sjoberg says DHS does have plans for ensuring physical access with the secure identity cards that its employees will receive under HSPD-12. While it will take a while to change out older physical access systems that don’t meet HSPD-12 requirements, going forward every card reader DHS purchases will meet the requirements, she says. As for logical access, Sjoberg says DHS is working on plans to identify how that technology will be implemented.
ICx Technologies [ICXT] has received two contracts potentially valued at over $19 million for continued development of chemical and biological detection technologies. The largest award, a multi-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract from the Army Research Office, is worth up to $17.2 and is for further development of the company’s enzyme and mass spectrometry-based technologies for hazardous chemical detection. Potential applications include sensitive site assessment, maneuver operations, and fixed-site surveillance and or protection, ICx says. Separately, the company received a $2.3 million Phase 3 Small Business Innovative Research award from the Marine Corps Systems Command to continue development of its Modular Tactical Detection System. The system would continuously sample and detect in near-real time to alert troops of a potential bio-threat. Once an alarm goes off the system triggers an aerosol collector and an identifier to check if the aerosol that created the alarm is a harmful biological agent. ICx is trying to develop the system so that it can detect a harmful agent in under15 minutes. While the work for the Marines isn’t due to be completed until next year, the company is accelerating development in order to be ready for the Defense Department’s Joint Biological Tactical Detection System (JBTDS) shoot-off this summer, Chuck Call, CEO of Biodefense for ICx, tells TR2. A Request for Proposals for a Technology Readiness Evaluation for JBTDS was issued recently and ICx plans to respond, he says. JBTDS would be a man-portable system designed to trigger an aerosol collector and analyzer and do the identification testing rapidly.
ManTech International [MANT] received a four-year, $9.7 million task order from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate under the EAGLE contract to provide information technology (IT) security compliance services, IT security architecture services; and IT security independent verification and validation of S&T’s applications and systems at headquarters and throughout its numerous research laboratories. ManTech says its support will cover all aspects of S&T’s software applications, computers, networks, audio and video-teleconferencing, telecommunications, and hardware acquisition and installation. The award is the first for ManTech under the EAGLE program. Missing Link Security, Inc., is a subcontractor to ManTech for the work.
Smiths Detection has received $7.2 million in follow-on awards from the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency for hazardous materials identification equipment. The company previously won a $4.5 million order last year from the services for HazMat equipment. Smiths says the new order further positions its portable HazMatID and handheld APD 2000 identifiers for Air Force emergency response teams worldwide. The Air Force will use the equipment to identify toxic industrial chemicals and materials and other unknown threats whether liquids, solids or vapors. “This follow on order is strong validation for our emergency response portable solutions that rapidly and reliably identify hazardous chemicals,” says Stephen Phipson, group managing director of Smiths Detection. “Our investment strategy in lightweight detection technologies has positioned the company as a provider of unique solutions to civil and military emergency response teams around the world.” The HazMatID can sample solids and liquids to identify for white powders, weapons of mass destruction, explosives and toxic chemicals. The APD 2000 is a chemical identifier for chemical warfare agents, pepper spray, mace and gamma radiation. Separately the Navy has selected Smiths military business unit to participate in an evaluation of a shipboard based chemical warfare agent detection program called the Improvised Point Detection System II. Smiths, along with Environics and Bruker BioSciences [BRKR], each will provide systems for the test phase that will get underway shortly and end this summer in a final downselect. Smiths says the long-term potential of the program in production is $50 million.
L-3 Communications [LLL] MPRI business unit has signed a Blanket Purchase Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with a ceiling value of $215 million over five years, to assist the agency with preparedness efforts for all-hazards, including acts of bio-terrorism and pandemic outbreaks. MPRI has been supporting the CDC since 2006, helping the agency develop its Influenza Pandemic Operational Plan. The new contract will expand its work into the all hazards area and allow it to develop programs for the national, state and local levels.
General Electric [GE] has sold and delivered two of its CTX 9000 DSi explosive detection systems to Abu Dhabi International Airport for inline screening of checked bags. GE says the sale, which reinforces its strong and growing presence in the Middle East, “reflects a growing global trend toward the adoption of CT (Computed Tomography)-based EDS as the solution of choice for checked bag screening.” GE Security’s Homeland Protection distributor in the United Arab Emirates, International Aeradio Emirates (IAL), helped secure the contract. IAL is a subsidiary of United Kingdom-based SERCO Group plc.
Communications Resource, Inc. (CRI) received a $500,000 task order from the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide systems integration services under HSPD-20, which establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of federal government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of federal continuity policies. CRI, which is a small business, will coordinate, supervise, procure, field, integrate and test secure communications systems related to HSPD-20. The contract is for five years and CRI is eligible for additional awards.
The Department of Homeland Security has created five new Centers of Excellence, which will be co-led by 11 universities. Each center will receive a grant of up to $2 million a year for four to six years. “Investments in long-term, basic research are vital for the future of homeland security,” says Jay Cohen, under secretary for Science and Technology. The new Centers of Excellence are: Border Security and Immigration, to be led by the Universities of Arizona (Tucson) and Texas (El Paso), which will conduct research and development to balance immigration and commerce with border security; Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response, which will be led by Northeastern Univ. and the University of Rhode Island, focusing detecting leave-behind Improvise Explosive Devices, enhancing aviation cargo security, next-generation baggage security, liquid explosives and suspicious passenger identification; Maritime, Island and Port Security, to be led by The Univ. of Hawaii and Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.), which will develop new ways to strengthen maritime domain awareness and safeguard populations and properties unique to U.S. islands, and remote and extreme environments; Natural Disasters, Coast Infrastructure and Emergency Management, to be led by the Univ. of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and Jackson State Univ. (Miss.), for research on the nation’s ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies as it relates to the consequences of catastrophic disasters; and Transportation Security, to be led by Texas Southern Univ., Tougaloo College (Miss.), and the Univ. of Connecticut, which will conduct research and development on technologies and methods to defend, protect and increase the resilience of the nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure.
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) SBInet Program originally was seeking information from contractors that have experience with high resolution surveillance sensors and systems for application to a northern border riverine environment prototype beginning later this year. However, CBP withdrew its information request as it now expects to have SBInet prime contractor Boeing [BA] to take charge of the prototype in terms of reviewing the potential sensors and systems that could be used. The prototype will consist of a mix of ground and air-based sensors integrated into a C3I system to provide increased scene awareness in the area of interest. The objective is to detect and track illegal border intrusions, which include but are not limited to small boats, jet skis, humans walking across ice, swimmers and low flying planes. The needed sensors must be able to rapidly detect items of interest and accurately identify them as persons, marine vessels or winter vehicles. Classification of threat or intent is a desired capability.
The Navy Engineering Logistics Office has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking concepts for innovative research and development projects for the Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office in the following mission areas: blast effects and mitigation; improvised explosive device defeat; irregular warfare support; training technology development; physical security; tactical operations support; personnel/VIP protection; and explosive ordnance disposal/low intensity conflict. The BAA Package is available at, http://www.bids.tswg.gov. Sol. No. N41756-08-Q-3033. Respond by March 5. Contact: Contracting officer, 703-604-0189, 08-Qemail@example.com.
The Army Research Development Evaluation Command (RDECOM) has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking concepts for innovative research and development projects for combating terrorism in the following mission areas: chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear countermeasures; explosives detection; investigative support and forensics; physical security; tactical operations support; and surveillance, collections and operations support. The BAA package will be available around March 6 at http://www.bids.tswg.gov. Sol. No. W91CRB08T0045. Respond by April 7. Contact: Simona Powell, 410-278-2423, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center (RDC), which is now part of the service’s newly consolidated Acquisition Directorate (CG-9), is tasked to provide system engineering and technical assistance (SETA) to all aspects of RDC activities. Tasking will typically be related to the following RDC functional areas: requirements, alternatives, cost and operations analysis; systems engineering and planning; human systems integration; environmental impact and safety assessments of proposed acquisitions/systems; logistics; test and evaluation; modeling and simulation; workforce and staffing analysis; risk analysis; acquisition strategy; request for proposal generation and proposal evaluation. Sol. No. HSCG32-08-R-R00007. Respond by April 21. Contact: Brenda Burke, contracting officer, 860-441-2872, Brenda.email@example.com.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection has a requirement for professional services to support the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center Infrastructure Risk Assessments and related programs. The office needs contractual support that provides expertise in the following areas: contract management; security strategies support; risk integration and analysis support; quick response; and transition management. A solicitation is expected around March 10. Sol. No. HSHQDC-08-R-00026. Contact: Charlotte Moore, contracting officer, 202-447-5729, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to issue a Request for Proposals around March 17 for human resources consultant support services. The procurement will be a small business set-aside. Sol. No. HSBP1008R1628. Respond by March 14. Contact: Monica Watts-Cooke, contract specialist, 202-344-2938, email@example.com.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to develop new chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear therapeutics, including the development of new indications for already licensed therapeutics, as novel medical countermeasures for the treatment of populations exposed to acute radiation. Titled Therapies for Hematopoietic Syndrome, Bone Marrow Stromal Cell Loss and Vascular Injury Resulting from Acute Exposure to Ionizing Radiation, contracts will be awarded to fund development of therapies to replenish hematopoietic lineages, recover bone marrow stromal loss and treat vascular injuries. Sol. No. BAA-BARDA-08-08. Respond by April 17. Contact: Carl Newman, contract specialist, 202-205-1156, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Marine Corps has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to understand the market potential and costs for providing a comprehensive security access system at its Marine Corps Installations West installations. The Marines are seeking a single turnkey system that can meet most, if not all of its objectives, including: scanning, validating and authenticating U.S. drivers licenses; access state Dept. of Motor Vehicle databases; access military services law enforcement databases; access open sources databases for wanted persons; create visitor log databases; set visitor access protocols; ability to issue paper and plastic passes; compatibility with the Defense Biometrics Identification System; handheld readers for badges and drivers licenses. Sol. No. M0068108QH001. Respond by March 7. Contact: William Hepler, contracting officer, 760-725-8448, William.email@example.com.
Cogent Systems [COGT]
Earnings dove in the quarter on the decline in revenues as some programs the company was expecting to be awarded in 2007 slipped into 2008. Cogent cut its operating expenses but not at the same level of the earnings drop. Stock based compensation charges fell $362K to $532K. Legal expenses were $300K in the latest quarter. Product sales were off 70% to $14.9M while maintenance and service sales rose 20 percent to $7M. Backlog at year end stood at $140M, a 13% increase from a year ago. Despite missing its own growth expectations for the year, Cogent expects sales this year to reach $120M with upside potential depending on demand. Non-GAAP earnings are expected to be between 41 and 44 cents EPS. The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. VISIT program was the largest source of sales in the recent quarter and an ongoing upgrade of the database from two to 10 fingerprints is expected to help drive revenues this year. Company officials say the pipeline of domestic and international opportunities remains strong. Regarding cash deployment, Cogent repurchased $13.9M worth of its shares in the quarter and has continued to repurchase shares so far this year. The officials say they continue to explore acquisitions, noting that investors may see something here in a month or two. The company also expects to introduce new mobile, livescan and commercial products this year.
Implant Sciences Corp. [IMX]
The net loss widened in part due to $2.2M non-cash charge related to plans to sell its semiconductor business unit, lower sales and higher research and development expenses. Sales declined precipitously in its Medical and Security segments, with security revenues falling to $369K from $1.9M. Implant’s security sales have typically been lumpy although the company recently made some management changes in the segment, hiring a new vice president for worldwide sales and services, and is reviewing the performance of its distributors. The company is targeting its installed base of explosive detection products to begin generating more service revenues. Implant also plans to expand its product capabilities into chemical warfare, bio-threat and narcotics detection. The company’s pending acquisition of Ion Metrics is supposed to give it an entry point into the narcotics detection market and allow it to expand margins and lower manufacturing costs.
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) issuance of a Request for Information (RFI) to take a look at a wide range of intelligent video capabilities is welcome news to firms in the area who believe the recent notice from the agency is an acknowledgement that the technology has arrived.
The RFI is “unique in the breadth” of what TSA wants to look at, Dvir Doron, vice president of marketing with ioimage, an Israel-based supplier of intelligent video appliances, tells TR2. He says the fact that TSA is showing a great deal of interest in the technology “will rock the video analytics world” because it is a validation of the technology from an important homeland security agency.
TSA realizes that “the technology is coming into the mainstream” and with the responses “they’ll find a whole range of capabilities are available, from laboratory development to wide scale deployments,” Craig Chambers, president and CEO of Cernium Corp., tells TR2. Cernium has two primary video analytics products, ExitSentry, which is used in over 40 airports to automatically detect and alert for people entering an airport exit lane from the wrong direction, and Perceptrak, which validates the presence of objects, vehicles or people and looks for patterns that could represent a threat.
In addition to more of the video analytics being accepted for security uses, the price points are becoming more attractive, Ty Sellers, a regional sales manager for Siemens Building Technologies [SI], tells TR2. The technology is allowing for a more efficient use of capital resources, he says.
TSA says in its RFI that it is focused on finding solutions for aviation security but is interested in eventually having the technology applied to other transportation modes.
While TSA is hoping it can use the technology to add another layer of security in the transportation environment, it also says it wants to see if it can “identify and attempt to resolve the real world problems associated with intelligent video-based systems” and “create an additional path going forward to provide for the installation of intelligent video-based systems within our transportation systems.”
TSA has taken the opportunity to look at video analytics previously, most recently last fall when it issued an RFI for technologies and operational capabilities to detect people passing through the exit lanes near airport security checkpoints (TR2, Oct. 17, 2007). However, that RFI was open ended in terms of the potential solutions.
In its new RFI, TSA is taking a big bite at what solutions may be available. For example, the agency would like responses on technology that can do macro-behavior detecting, such as large crowd level anomalies, walking in the wrong direction, loitering, object classification, and others. TSA would also like to know if the technology exists to automatically track individuals across multiple cameras.
At the micro-level of behavior detection, TSA is seeking responses related to automated micro-facial expression recognition that might indicate stress, nervous-related actions such as sweating, or other anomalies.
Cernium’s Chambers says from his experience in the video analytics industry the micro-level behavior detection technology is still in the laboratory stages. A key challenge is the fact that the level of video quality to be able to detect this behavior is poor, he says.
Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the field of research into micro-facial expressions, wants the opportunity to evaluate the video analytics technology for detecting micro-facial expressions. Micro-facial expressions typically last a fraction of a second and occur when someone is trying to hide an expression. Ekman’s firm, The Ekman Group, has trained TSA inspectors to observe micro-facial expressions (TR2, Aug. 8, 2007).
Ekman cautions that “detecting micro expressions automatically may be hard to do, harder than detecting macro expressions, and even if accomplished won’t identify malfeasants.” Moreover, he tells TR2, “it is only one clue and alone not always useful unless combined with gesture, posture, gaze direction and other observables which as yet can’t be detected automatically.”
The agency is also interested in suspicious item detection such as abandoned objects or known threat objects. Additionally, TSA wants to see if the technology is available to bring the various inputs from intelligent video systems together to create a common operating picture, including the use of wireless handheld devices for video and data for remote operators.
CCTV systems have been in use for security in the transportation sector since the 1970s, allowing security personnel in central locations to monitor activity in select areas remotely. But as the technology is relied on increasingly, it also requires more security personnel to monitor the imagery. The potential of intelligent video analytics is that sophisticated software algorithms can process the imagery and automatically feed alerts to security personnel when there is some sort of anomaly or security breach.
Providing automatic alerts should just be the beginning, says Chambers. To become a real force multiplier that information needs to be aggregated and presented in a larger context for scenario management, he says. Ultimately, this is what he hopes TSA’s goal is as it begins to examine the potential of intelligent video.
What TSA ultimately decides to do after taking its first significant look at intelligent video isn’t clear. Greg Hull, the director of security for the American Public Transportation Association, says that for the non-aviation sectors TSA won’t buy any of these systems. As it stands, he says, more restrictions are being put on grant requests that transit agencies may submit and they face the prospect of even higher cost sharing requirements. Still, he adds, some transit agencies have began using smart software for their CCTV systems, which need to find ways to get more use out of a limited number of people. [Sol. No. HSTS04-08-ICT7017. Respond by March 14. Contact: Connie Thornton, contracting officer, firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The Defense Department’s Biometrics Task Force (BTF) this week plans to issue a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking mature biometric technologies that have the potential for being used in military or business operations within two years as part of its effort to reach out to industry and academia to explore the potential of emerging products, a BTF official says.
The first proposals from the BAA will be due March 21 and the BTF plans to leave the solicitation open for two years, Greg Alexander, who supports the Futures Branch within the BTF, says at a recent defense biometrics industry day sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. The initial proposals will be reviewed in April with awards planned in mid-May [Contact: Erik Syvrud, 813-826-9424, email@example.com].
The industry day was an effort by the BTF to stay in touch with the biometrics industry regarding its programs, policies and needs.
The BTF isn’t interested in proposals regarding basic or applied research, Alexander said. The desired end state is to be able to prove the “technological feasibility” of the systems that receive contracts under the BAA “with an assessment of component operability with potential to transition,” he says.
The BAA will have five focus areas, with the possibility for multiple awards. Alexander says that projects will range in value between $500,000 and $1 million but adds that he doesn’t have an overall dollar amount that he could commit to. He says there may also be funding available in FY ’09. Alexander says that that in terms of budget, the evaluation criteria would be the “reasonableness and realism of proposed costs.”
The five focus areas are collection systems, sub-optimal data enhancement, next generation algorithms, biometrics data fusion and biometrics architecture.
For collection systems the BTF is not only seeking the ability to obtain biometric data but also biographical and situational data.
Under the data enhancement area, the BTF wants solutions to poor data quality due to collection and storage difficulties.
For next generation algorithms the BTF is looking to “meet the changing algorithm requirements and develop a product that can be shared across the DoD and federal government,” according to Alexander’s briefing slides.
In the area of data fusion, the BTF wants to bring together multiple biometric modalities and non-biometric data for improved matching and identity analysis.
Under the architecture area the agency wants “solutions that support a complex and evolving infrastructure.”
Also at the industry day briefing, the Navy said that it has established a new program of record for a biometric-based system it eventually plans to award a contract for called the Identity Dominance System (IDS). The IDS, if it is ultimately funded, developed and procured, would replace the current jump kits Navy boarding parties’ use in Maritime Interdiction Operations.
The hand carried jump kits, which are supplied by Cross Match Technologies, have various systems that capture fingerprints, iris images and mug shots, as well as a laptop or mini computer that can host a biometric matching database. The jump kits weigh 15 to 20 pounds, depending on the mix of components. The Navy has a “significantly” lighter requirement for the IDS, Capt. John Boyd, the program manager for Naval Information Sharing-People, tells TR2.
Boyd, and a Marine Corps officer, Maj. William Coffey, who works biometric issues at Marine Corps headquarters, drove home the point that warriors in the field need products that are lightweight, easy to use, and get the job done quickly.
Initially under IDS the Navy is looking to develop a handheld multi-modal biometric capture device called SIIMON, which stands for System for Intelligence and Identity Management Operations. SIIMON, which would capture fingerprint, face and iris images, would be specifically designed to be able to work in wet environments. In addition, the device must be able to capture 10 rolled fingerprints, which meets the FBI’s standard for enrollment.
The complete IDS would include systems that can capture contextual and associated data, Boyd and Anh Duong, the Navy’s lead for biometrics, says.
Duong is hoping the IDS will become part of the Navy’s FY ’10 Program Objective Memorandum, which means it would have a funding profile over a six-year period. Once a project is established a program of record, it basically secures its own line item in a budget and stands a better chance of receiving steady funding.
Backers of the program are seeking $40 million over that period with a planned purchase of over 250 systems. Initial operating capability would by in 2012. However, she tells TR2 that the program backers are looking for money this fiscal year and next to possibly accelerate development and fielding of IDS.
Similar to the Navy program, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) last fall began a new program of record called Special Operations Identity Dominance (SOID). In September 2006 SOCOM had fielded about 30 biometric data collection kits, presumably a version of the Cross Match Jump Kit, through a variety of funding mechanisms. As a program of record the project is likely to receive more stable revenue flows.
The kits give SOCOM personnel a method of rapidly–15 minutes or less–biometrically identifying suspected enemy and terrorist combatants at a target site, says Lt. Col. Shay Carnes of SOCOM.
Currently SOCOM has over 500 of the kits fielded. Carnes says that going forward as SOID, his Command wants to expand the program to include Sensitive Site Exploitation, which refers to the gathering of all of the data and material at a target site, such as biometrics, computers, paper and more.
In addition to SOID, SOCOM has begun a new start program in FY ’08 called the Global Sensor Network, which is the command’s attempt to overcome its “inability” to link together its sensors, operators, information and decisionmakers together, Carnes says. The information would include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data and information that would be housed in an interoperable, database query mechanism, he says. Included in the Global Sensor Network is SOID, Carnes says. SOCOM has $33 million for the network project over the next five years.
Having international security standards in the mass transit community will enhance cooperation, improve interoperability and situational awareness and facilitate public-private partnerships that will help in crisis management and overall security, says a new report by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The report was the result of a workshop last fall hosted by ANSI that brought together various government, industry and transit agency stakeholders to address international standards and conformity assessment programs, as well as identify standards and gaps for public transit security. The workshop followed an initial meeting last spring that was also hosted by ANSI to take a first look at understanding the status of security standards in the mass transit community (TR2, June 27, 2007).
The new report, Final Report: Workshop on Transit Security Standardization, outlines the challenges, possible solutions and current standards issues within four main categories: physical security; command and control; sensor integration, which includes biometrics, intelligent video, explosives detection and others; and communications. [The report is available from ANSI on its web site, http://www.ansi.org.]
The report is a “great start” for the transit community because it “outlines the issues and challenges we face,” Paul MacMillan, acting chief of police for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), tells TR2. The report is a “good guideline” to identify standards that need to be worked on, he adds.
In the area of physical security, the report notes how new technology has to be “retrofitted” into older transit systems, that typically lack space, power and the cleanliness required for high-tech devices. Funding, sustained maintenance, controlling relatively open access are some of the other challenges mentioned.
Solutions to the physical security challenges include risk mitigation such as controlling access to areas that need the most control, reliance on equipment that is easy to use, maintain and has reasonable operating costs.
On the subject of standards for physical security, the report says there is a “lack of security and design standards” from the perspective of both operators and vendors. It also suggests a need to get the customer’s “voice” into the product development cycle and that “performance or effects-based standards should be the focus.”
In the area of sensor integration, challenges include the need to keep passengers moving, openness of transit systems, that deterrence is critical and a biological attack may go undetected for hours, or days, which means crisis management and response needs to be comprehensive and detailed.
Sensor solutions include video analytics, active millimeter wave technology combined with video tracking of people, fundamentals such as training and increased public awareness, informed random screening, risk management, and chemical detection technology.
However, the report notes, there’s a need for standards to build and integrate technologies, for explosives detection equipment such as nitrate versus peroxide-based detection systems, endorsing a digital video standard, the need to test technologies in conditions representative of the transit system environment, and to fill gaps in certain equipment categories for video analytics.
The report lists over a dozen groups that have either published standards, or are working on them, related to the transit security environment. One of those groups, the American Public Transportation Association, which is the only one looking at the “full spectrum” of security needs in the transit environment, will be finalizing a number of standards this spring in several focus areas, Greg Hull, APTA’s director of security, tells TR2. Those areas are infrastructure security, emergency management and security risk management, he says.
APTA follows ANSI’s suggested approach to standards, which is consensus-based, and includes participation from all stakeholders, Hull says. He says the ANSI workshop allowed APTA to stay in touch with its international partners, which is in line with its goal of “fostering worldwide partnerships as we develop standards for our industry.”
Hull says the workshop produced no surprises in terms of the various activities other standards groups are working on. It was a chance to get more “depth” on what these groups are doing, he says.
MBTA’s MacMillan says the ANSI report points to specific areas that need to be remedied, which is where more standards work will need to be focused. The challenge going forward is for everyone to keep working together in various forums to meet these needs, he says.