After years of development, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have unveiled the Biometric Technology Center (BTC) as part of a joint effort to combat terrorism. The center will be a new hub used by the agencies to ensure public safety.
The 360,000-square-foot space, on the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division Clarksburg, West Va., campus, was dedicated earlier this month. Recently, the FBI and the DOD have been collaborating on the use of biometrics to better identify criminals and terrorists. The BTC will be the nucleus for further development of this technology, the agency explained in a statement:
The BTC facility will enable the Bureau’s CJIS Division, which has the largest centralized collection of biometric information in the world, and the DOD, with its military biometrics database systems, to make advances in a variety of identification technologies like DNA, iris recognition, voice patterns, facial patterns, and palm prints.
Aside from being used to conduct research and provide both training and product certification, the center will enable agencies to push the technologies they’re working on through development and into use with greater speed. That is what’s most important about the BTC — how the work done there will be applied in the field. According to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), it makes the safeguards more versatile.
“Basically looking at our assets, as far as the federal government and how we can better intertwine them, so we get better services rather than just siloing one here, one there, and this one doesn't speak to that one. That’s not the case here.” he explained to WBOY.
In addition, CJIS Division Assistant Director Stephen Morris championed its individuality. “We have what we call our Biometric Center of Excellence, which is a program that we harness all of our biometrics activity under, programmatically. And this facility — the Biometric Technology facility — is the brick and mortar for that program, so it is one of a kind. It's going to be great,” he told WDTV.
Employees are expected to begin working out of the BTC by the year’s end.