Defense Contractor General Dynamics Secures Biometric ID Management Contract in the US

January 5, 2024

The US Department of Homeland Security Office has allocated a contract worth $386.3 million to General Dynamics Information Technology to manage and operate the country’s biometric ID infrastructure for the next three years, as reported. General Dynamics has been assigned to operate and maintain the Office of  Biometric ID Management (OBIM) under the Alliant 2 Contract Vehicle.

General Dynamics is an American publicly traded aerospace and defense corporation. In 2022, it ranked as the world’s fifth-largest defense contractor in arms sales and also held fifth position in total sales within the United States. Now, the defense contractor is allocated to manage biometric ID infrastructure in the US.

General Dynamics Information Technology secured the contract as the exclusive bidder, taking the responsibility for managing IT infrastructure at the Department of Homeland Security’s Data Center 1.

OBIM is responsible for overseeing the replacement of the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) with the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART). Nevertheless, the expenses for the project are exceeding the initial estimates and its completion is taking longer than anticipated.

Following challenges in negotiations with the European Union, the OBIM is set to play a crucial role in negotiations for data sharing between EU nations and US states.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a US agency that promotes American innovation and industrial competitiveness, seeks to improve digital identity standards. US states have their own identification programs and NIST is striving to establish a more consistent approach.

In 2023, the US and EU collaborated to define digital ID standards and conducted a mapping exercise to examine both shared elements and variations. On 22 December 2023, the agency released a “DRAFT EU-US TTC Digital Identity Mapping Exercise Report”. The draft report is an outcome of collaborative efforts between US and EU officials from the Trade and Technology Council.

The report reveals initial findings, highlighting a high degree of alignment among the majority of concepts and minor differences. The EU prioritizes trust services more than the US. Both incorporate three assurance levels for digital identity, but the US categorizes them in distinct components, while the EU opts for a unified level. The report advocates for extended collaboration and welcomes feedback from various stakeholders to improve the standards.

Also read: How Eurostar SmartCheck at London Terminal Allows Biometric Check-In