Team Behind Huge FBI Biometric System Honored

Team Behind Huge FBI Biometric System HonoredThe head of the FBI’s ambitious NGI project has received special recognition for its completion, according to a Federal News Radio article by Jason Miller. Along with his agency, the official, Jim Preaskorn, received the Excellence in Mission Award at AFCEA Bethesda’s 8th Annual Governmentwide Initiatives Excellence Awards in Washington for completing the project of implementing the Next Generation Identification system on budget and on time.

It is a remarkable accomplishment given the NGI’s complexity. The $1.1 billion program is a replacement of the FBI’s previous agency-wide biometric identification system, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), which was implemented back in 1999. Lockheed Martin was contracted to engineer the new system in 2008 with an aim of finishing it within 10 years, and the final phase of the project began in 2011. That company is, of course, very involved in security and military technology, having helped set up advanced systems for the US Army, and clearly has proven capable in the case of this tailor-made biometrics system.

The NGI represents a significant improvement over the IAFIS. The system now allows for the collection of up to 10 fingerprints for one individual, over the previous limit of two. Its fingerprint algorithms are now much more accurate, having jumped from 92 percent to 96 percent; and with latent fingerprint recognition the accuracy has skyrocketed from 26 percent to somewhere between 82 and 86, according to Preaskorn. Moreover, the system is now capable of facial recognition, and is scalable in a way that allows the NGI to evolve with changes to the modalities it uses – it could eventually support iris scanning too, for example. And with hundreds of thousands of transactions coming through the system every day, and other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security using it, NGI is proving to be a very powerful tool for national security.

May 14, 2015 – by Alex Perala