Nextgov: DHS Faces Rising Costs as Planned Biometrics Cloud Gets Pushed Back

“The Homeland Security Department has been poised for three years to transition its aged biometrics program to a new, cloud-based system but has yet to make the jump, leading to cost overruns and limiting law enforcement’s access.

The department is in the process of moving all of its biometric databases and apps from the legacy Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT—originally developed in 1994—to the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART, system, which will be hosted in a cloud environment managed by Amazon Web Services.

‘The HART program is significantly behind schedule and has exceeded its most recent cost estimate,’ according to a Government Accountability Office report. ‘Specifically, while DHS originally planned to implement the entire system by 2021, no increments of the program had been deployed as of April 2021.’…”

“The new system is expected to function the same as IDENT, including the ability to match biometric indicators like face, iris and fingerprints to other forms of identity, like Social Security numbers and immigration registration numbers. However, with the new cloud-based architecture, the system will be ‘designed for scalability to address projected growth in identity and image data volumes and to accommodate any needs associated with larger files,’ according to the 2020 privacy impact assessment.

The program is also already over budget, GAO reports.

DHS awarded a $95 million contract in 2017 to Northrop Grumman for the first two increments. Since that time, GAO notes the contract has been modified 12 times, increasing the cost to more than $143 million…” Read the full article here.

Source: DHS Faces Rising Costs as Planned Biometrics Cloud Gets Pushed Back – By Aaron Boyd, June 9, 2021. Nextgov.

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