U.S. Senate Allocates $249 Million To Office of Biometric Identity Management

On Tuesday, the U.S Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved funding legislation for the fiscal year of 2015. The total funding rings in at $47.2 billion, with slices going towards border control and the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM).

This newly approved number is $643 million above the previous figure for 2014. The increase, when taken in context with the DHS discretionary appropriations since 2010, still fits with a decreasing trend, funding having declined 8.3 percent over the past five fiscal years.

Of the $47.2 billion, $249 million is being provided to the Office of Biometric Identity Management. This figure is $2 million below the requested amount, but still marks a $22 million increase over fiscal year 2014.

According to the bill’s summary, the funding provided to OBIM will help “assure national security, public safety and the integrity of our immigration laws. By sharing real-time biometric and identity data between the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and State we can monitor who legally enters and exits the country.”

In terms of border control, the bill provides $12.567 billion to “customs and border control,” $10 million of which will be directed towards “maintaining trusted traveler programs such as additional Global Entry kiosks, more mobile document readers, expanding the integrated traveler process and expanding activities at existing preclearance locations”.

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security, spoke to the future of national security in a statement issued concerning the new bill that places a strong focus on cyber security and national borders.

“We must invest in our national security infrastructure to prevent and mitigate against threats to our homeland that come by air, land, sea and cyber space,” she stated. “This bill does that and supports thousands of jobs while preparing the next generation of national security experts, emergency responders and cyber warriors.  The investments we make today will determine the outcomes we experience tomorrow.”

The statement goes on to describe how the bill affects FEMA, which received $6.4 billion in funding for 2015.

Earlier today, findBIOMETRICS reported on new research that points to the government sector as a key driver in the global facial recognition market.

June 27, 2014 – by Peter B. Counter