The Pentagon is planning to move its Automated Biometric Identification System to the cloud, and has issued a Request For Information from potential systems integrators.
As Nextgov reports, the Department of Defense currently splits the hosting of its ABIS platform between DoD-owned on-premise servers and cloud backups hosted on Amazon Web Services. Now, the DoD is looking to move its entire ABIS environment to the AWS cloud, and to implement several improvements.
The DoD’s ABIS contains biometric data pertaining to 18 million people, with modalities including face, fingerprint, and iris biometrics. The ABIS is focused on enemy combatants, and is used to support time-sensitive operations that require on-demand identification of potential security threats.
In its RFI, the DoD notes that it’s looking for a systems integrator that can both sustain ABIS operations and transition the system to AWS. And the DoD wants a web portal that will facilitate access to the AWS-hosted ABIS “from anywhere in the world.”
It also lays out several specific improvements that will need to be made to the system, including the development of a notification system for when an individual is denied access at a Forward Operating Base and then tries to gain access at another FOB, and the implementation of a voice biometrics modality.
The RFI points to a significant potential opportunity for systems integrators, but also clearly reflects a significant business development for Amazon Web Services, the division of Amazon that generates most of the retail giant’s profits. Amazon has had a growing and controversial presence in the government sector, with the company having defended its provision of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies.
The DoD’s AWS-focused contract is expected to have a one-year base period, with four potential one-year extensions.
October 21, 2020 – by Alex Perala