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Navy tests new technologies for Maritime Interception Operations.

The Navy successfully demonstrated a biometrics tool set and wireless link interface for the fleet's Expanded Maritime Interception Operations (EMIO) teams aboard USS Howard (DDG 83).

This demonstration tested the Navy's new EMIO technologies for collecting biometric identification data and globally sharing the intelligence during maritime interdiction operations during visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) missions at sea.

Cmdr. John Funn, PEO LMW's assistant program manager for expeditionary systems, explained the Navy's maritime interception operations involve monitoring and disrupting the movement of terrorists and terrorism-related materials at sea. Specially trained (VBSS) teams deploy from an EMIO capable U.S. ship. After they stop, board and secure a suspect vessel, they may use portable identity data collection devices, including digital cameras and fingerprint scanners, to identify persons of interest. They also conduct methodical searches for weapons or weapon materials.

"EMIO is a key maritime component of the global war on terrorism," said Funn.

The demonstration test on Howard, under the direction of Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), focused on EMIO's technology components and represented a major leap toward a broader use of the wireless capability. Currently, biometric data collected aboard a suspect vessel is physically brought back to the parent platform and transmitted through shipboard communication systems and satellite networks to the Biometrics Fusion Center (BFC), a DOD facility in Clarksburg, W.Va. At the BFC, the information is matched against data in the DOD's Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). The ABIS search results are relayed back to the ship, where the onsite commander uses that information in deciding whether to detain the vessel or individuals found on board.

Wireless communications significantly improve the transfer rate of EMIO information. Wireless capability allows the boarding team to check and verify the identities of crew members and passengers and confirm false identity documents while remaining in control of the suspect vessel and communicating with the onsite commander.

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"This saves time and provides an important strategic advantage for our VBSS teams," said Funn.

PEO LMW is managing the acquisition of the portable tool set used by VBSS teams to collect identity data. This kit comprises a water-resistant, "ruggedized" computer with a touch-sensitive screen, a camera for taking digital photos, a digital fingerprint scanner and pen, and a scanning device to input identification documents, cargo manifests and other information.

Future technology upgrades to the EMIO tool set will include a lighter weight integrated configuration and eventually additional biometric modalities such as iris recognition.

Story courtesy of the Program Executive Office Littoral Mine Warfare, Washington, D.C.
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Title Annotation:Around the Fleet
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:438
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