DEFENSE MANAGEMENT: DOD Can Establish More Guidance for Biometrics Collection and Explore Broader Data Sharing
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The events of September 11, 2001, and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have made it critical for military units to identify individuals they encounter and share this information with other units and federal agencies. Biometrics are unique personal aspects such as fingerprints and iris images used to identify an unfamiliar person. Federal agencies with national security missions, such as the Departments of Homeland Security DHS and State DOS, need access to certain biometrics data gathered by the Department of Defense DOD. GAO was asked to determine to what extent 1 DOD has guidance on the biometrics data to be collected to support military activities, and 2 there may be gaps in biometrics information shared between DOD and DHS. This is a public version of a For Official Use Only report, GAO-05-430NI, issued in May 2005. GAO examined DODs guidance for field collection of biometrics data, biometrics sharing agreements, and information on national level efforts to enhance data sharing. GAO recommends that 1 DOD establish guidance specifying a standard set of biometrics data for collection during military operations in the field, and 2 the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security address, as appropriate, biometrics data sharing gaps, in accordance with U.S. and international law. DOD partially concurred with the first recommendation and concurred with the second recommendation.
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