The Army’s Biometric Identification System for Access (BISA) Tier I

On December 21, 2004, a bomber using false credentials intruded into a military base dining facility near Mosul, Iraq and detonated a device. This was the single most deadly suicide bomb attack on U.S. Forces in Iraq. As a result, an initiative to provide a biometrically enabled base access system was started.  


BISA provides a biometrically enabled smart card that is virtually tamper proof via the use of PKI encryption. It is a base access system designed to work in a warzone. BISA is DIACAP accredited. BISA shares its information with other systems and facilitates which share information from the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to other systems. Over a period of seven years, I3 provided program management, design, system development/integration, testing, information assurance, training development/training, acquisition, logistics, operations and maintenance for BISA. At its peak, I3 provided 115 staff on two task orders across the globe to provide support for this system.

During the progression of the program, I3 was assigned the objective to improve the initial deployment of BISA systems known as the Tier I variant to reduce costs and improve capabilities. An analysis was conducted to perform a technical refresh of the existing Tier I systems. This was accomplished and a cost-benefit analysis was provided to PM DoD Biometrics. Equipment was procured for development, testing, and to implement a pilot project in Iraq. The pilot project provided valuable input and the refreshed system was implemented at all Tier I sites. The new system mixed some of the existing equipment, eliminated a server network at each site, reduced manpower, added system checks and feedback on the quality of the captured biometrics, provided one new biometric capture, and integrated a new biometric modality into the system. Feasibility was demonstrated and then implemented, the first in a tactical system, of incorporating palm print capture, as well as all of the existing biometrics into the Tier I technical refresh. Palm Prints capture the lower parts of the fingers and the rest of the palm. Palm prints also capture the “writer’s edge” of the hand. This requirement derived from the knowledge that a growing number of latent prints recovered from crime scenes were of palm prints, not fingers.