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Biometric database offers tighter security

by Senior Airman Clark Staehle
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/29/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron activated an entry system at a deployed location June 22 that will help make operations there safer and more secure. 

"(The Defense Biometric Identification Database System) enhances a security system, such as entry control to an installation, and builds a database so we know exactly who's on base, when they're on base," said Tech. Sgt. Bryce Vandevender, 379th ESFS unit DBIDS coordinator. "As they go through the entry control points, it'll log them on base, and as they leave, it actually logs them off base." 

DBIDS uses biometrics and measures a person's unique features that make them who they are, like fingerprints, handprints and retina scans.

When a person comes on base here, the system will scan his or her ID card and handprint. The handprint must match the ID card holder's handprint for that person to be allowed on base.

Each card carries specific information about that cardholder's biometrics, so even if it's stolen or counterfeited, the only person who can use it for entry is the person who matches those biometrics.

The system is currently being used to track the movement of third country nationals on and off base. DBIDS ultimately will be expanded to include everyone on base.

"We know these people are workers, and we have to have them to do daily operations, but we don't really know them," said Sergeant Vandevender, a St. Helens, Ore. native. "We don't know where they come from.  We don't know what kind of background checks are done.  We don't know if they've been involved in any organizations. So what (DBIDS) does is build a database of those people and lets us know where they're from and the places they've been."

To enroll someone in DBIDS, a 379th ESFS Airman takes a laundry list of information and biometrics scans, which are then sent to a master database in the states.

"Once we take biometrics samples, we put in a lot of biographical data like where they're from, their age, sex, height and weight," said Sergeant Vandevender, who is deployed here from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. "Once we get all that information, we send it back to the United States to the Biometric Fusion Center in West Virginia. The BFC is a Department of Defense organization run by the Army and is a huge database of information from all the different places DBIDS is located."

Once the information is sent to the BFC, it's checked against other databases, like the FBI's fingerprint files.

"That lets them see where these people have been registered before and if they're wanted for anything, and their criminal background," Sergeant Vandevender said.

The system is quickly proving to be a quicker, more secure process, which helps protect every servicemember and asset on base.

"It's going to definitely improve security on base," said Mark Duckworth, site security manager with DBIDS and Phoenix, Ariz., native. "It takes away a lot of your threats. It's a force multiplier." 

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