Army is advancing facial recognition technology

Army is advancing facial recognition technology

“The Army employs biometrics systems in operations to support force protection, physical access needs, other operations but largely it’s been fingerprint based,” Keith Riser, a computer scientist for the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate at the C5ISR Center in Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., told FCW.

The Army’s C5ISR Center has been implementing two face and voice recognition programs — Video Identification, Collection and Exploitation (VICE) and Voice Identity Biometric Exploitation Services (VIBES)—that U.S. Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve use to identify people who may pose a threat to the DOD’s missions.

The system uses a modular architecture that is then integrated into a user interface for analysts, who then take data and match that against data from DOD releasable Biometrically-Enabled Watchlists or Automated Biometrics Identification System.

In the past year, VICE has been able to create about 25,000 biometric records, process hundreds of watchlist matches, facially template thousands of individuals, and voice-print hundreds of “unpictured, unvoiced ISIS fighters” and other actors, Riser said.

CENTCOM has been able to spot “a suspicious person of interest at a training event who was filming with their cell phone” and determine that an individual had a previous biometric enrollment and nominated them to be put on a watchlist and denied access to the event, Riser said.

Another example, involved identifying and reporting a senior Iraqi military officer who had been suspected of terrorism. The C5ISR Center and the system operators “don’t take any disposition on that but once we make that linkage we’re able to have that person be nominated to watchlists and whatever action needs to be taken,” Riser said.

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History of Facial Recognition Technology Program.
The Facial Recognition Technology (FERET) program was a government-sponsored project that aimed to create a large, automatic face-recognition system for intelligence, security, and law enforcement purposes.
The program began in 1993 under the combined leadership of Dr. Harry Wechsler at George Mason University (GMU) and Dr. Jonathan Phillips at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland and resulted in the development of the Facial Recognition Technology (FERET) database.
The goal of the FERET program was to advance the field of face recognition technology by establishing a common database of facial imagery for researchers to use and setting a performance baseline for face-recognition algorithms.

Potential areas where this face-recognition technology could be used include:

Automated searching of mug books using surveillance photos
Controlling access to restricted facilities or equipment
Checking the credentials of personnel for background and security clearances
Monitoring airports, border crossings, and secure manufacturing facilities for particular individuals
Finding and logging multiple appearances of individuals over time in surveillance videos
Verifying identities at ATM machines
Searching photo ID records for fraud detection

The FERET database has been used by more than 460 research groups and is currently managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

By 2017, the FERET database has been used to train artificial intelligence programs and computer vision algorithms to identify and sort faces.