Potential Opportunities for Common Federal Biometric Services


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Looking long term, what could be done to alter the foundations that federal biometric systems are built upon, thus enabling advancements that may not be possible today? In other words: How could these systems evolve to be more adaptive and flexible, both individually and as a whole?

MITRE internally funded a quick analysis to develop initial strategic thoughts on this topic, based on its in-depth knowledge of the existing systems. It is important to note that this project did not perform a deep-dive analysis of various options, and it does not present detailed actionable recommendations. Rather, it capitalizes on existing knowledge and experiences to analyze numerous potential opportunities and to identify those that we feel hold the most promise. It is this latter set of opportunities that are presented in this presentation. In each case, MITRE recommends more thorough analysis and interagency discussion take place amongst federal departments, prior to any actionable decisions being made.

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Potential Opportunities for Common Federal Biometric Services

  1. 1. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.Potential Opportunitiesfor Common FederalBiometric ServicesAugust 2012Duane BlackburnSkip ReindollarKim Shepard
  2. 2. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.MITRE MissionAs a public interest company, MITRE works inpartnership with the government, applying systemsengineering and advanced technology to addressissues of critical national importance.2
  3. 3. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.Understanding FFRDCs■Operate as strategic partners with their sponsoringgovernment agencies■Organized as independent entities with limitationsand restrictions on their activities■Assist the U.S. government with scientific researchand analysis, development and acquisition, andsystems engineering/integration■Bring together the expertise and outlook ofgovernment, industry, and academia to solvecomplex technical problems3
  4. 4. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.Identifying opportunities and drivingtechnological innovationAnalyzing federal systems and enhancingoperationsDeveloping strategy for federal systems andinteragency architecturesLeading cross-agency collaboration andpolicymakingMITRE Role in BiometricsPage 4
  5. 5. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ OUSD/P: In the future, would it be possible for one federalbiometric system to serve as a COOP backup for theothers?■ MITRE: Looking long-term, what could be done to alter thefoundations that each system is built upon, thus enablingadvancements that may not be possible today?■ This study:– Perform quick analysis to develop initial strategic thoughts– Focus on ideas where impacts would be a few years in thefuture– Identify trends and possibilities– Recommend areas for further study.Study Origins and ParametersPage 5
  6. 6. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ ABIS, IDENT and NGI perform the same basic function, buttheir services, designs, and operational implementationsare unique to their parent organizations in the followingareas:– Standard agreements and specifications– Architectures■ MITRE Recommendation: Task an interagency forum tostudy consolidation options and set long-term goals.– Common Exchange Services– Biometric Matching Services– Data Management Processes and TermsSystems EngineeringPage 6
  7. 7. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ Annual O&M for the big three is approximately $300M– Originates from multiple funding streams– Spent through numerous contracts■ There are many common O&M disciplines across thesystems that could potentially be opportunities forimproved performance and efficiency:– Data centers– Hardware and software management and maintenance– Problem management (e.g. help desk)– Change and configuration management– Capacity, performance, application and network management■ MITRE Recommendation: Consider sharing system-levelservices.– Further SE analysis required for viability.Operations and MaintenancePage 7
  8. 8. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ Each agency develops and manages its own policiesregarding biometric system(s) and data in the following typeof areas:– Data ownership and acceptable use– Reciprocity between agencies– Privacy and civil liberties– International data sharing.■ MITRE Recommendation: Begin interagency discussionsnow.– Premature to begin policy development now, but required ifsystems engineering opportunities are acted upon.– Near-term policy discussions are necessary to supportsystems engineering study and (potentially subsequent)decision-making.PolicyPage 8
  9. 9. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ Separate agency-based acquisition processes are currently used for newdevelopment and O&M– DHS IDENT: Four contracts– DoD ABIS: Two contracts– FBI NGI: Two contracts■ Multiple contracts are agency- or departmental-level contracts thatencompass IT activities beyond the specific biometric system– Modifications to support interagency activities are problematic (agencyindependent policies and procedures in place for years)■ While action on this front wouldn’t start in the near-term, the long preparationtime inherent in the federal budget and congressional authorizationprocesses necessitates much earlier action.■ MITRE Recommendation: Investigate and plan for common approaches toreduce acquisition costs.– Understand issues associated with appropriations, FAR, legal and policy– Explore avenues to support common services and O&M activitiesAcquisitionPage 9
  10. 10. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ Numerous governance structures in place– While some individuals do serve on multiple panels, there is no formal means ofcross-panel coordination or information sharing– No long-term operational strategic planning across all systemsGovernancePage 10Agency-SpecificAdvisoryAgency-SpecificGovernanceCross-AgencyGovernanceFBI IAFIS/NGI Advisory PolicyBoardCompact Council Interoperability IPTNSTC SubcommitteeNSS WatchlistingIPCDoD ABIS BiometricsExecutiveCommitteeInteroperability IPTNSTC SubcommitteeNSS WatchlistingIPCDHS US-VISIT ExecutiveStakeholder BoardInteroperability IPTNSTC SubcommitteeNSS WatchlistingIPCBlue designates operations and/or short-term strategy. Red designates long-term (3+ years) strategy.■ MITRE Recommendation: Review governance, integrate activities, develop long-termstrategy– Identify process to integrate activities where needed and develop long-term strategy– Explore how a single cross-agency governance structure could be created, managedand executed and still serve the needs of the individual agencies well
  11. 11. © 2012 The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.■ This study uses MITRE’s cross-agency experience to exploreand identify opportunities for common federal biometricservices that could potentially:– Decrease cost– Enhance capabilities– Ease O&M and oversight burdens■ Ideas that warrant additional study are presented for federalconsideration and subsequent studies– MITRE is not recommending formal decision-making on any ofthese ideas at this timeConclusionPage 11