CSE helps DHS architect biometric data standardization

Customer Overview

The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (commonly referred to as US-VISIT) is a Department of Homeland Security immigration and border management system. US-VISIT is part of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). US-VISIT supports the Department of Homeland Security’s responsibility to protect the nation by providing biometric identification services that help federal, state, and local government decision makers accurately identify the people they encounter and determine whether those people pose a risk to the United States.

US-VISIT supplies the technology for collecting and storing biometric data, provides analysis, updates its watchlist, and ensures the integrity of the data. US-VISIT is accessed by 30,000 users from federal, state, and local government agencies.

Business Challenge

The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) vision is to be the best practice, by choice, for intergovernmental information exchange. Practitioners at all levels of government and industry will share accurate, complete, timely, and appropriately secured information to enable informed decision making for the greater good. NIEM will provide a common vocabulary to ensure consistency and understanding among domains that may not collaborate traditionally to simplify the process of information sharing between them.

A domain refers to a business enterprise broadly reflecting the agencies, units of government, operational functions, services, and information systems that are organized or affiliated to meet common objectives. Fourteen domains currently participate in NIEM, and that number is growing. The US-VISIT Program serves as the domain steward of the Biometrics domain.

The NIEM Biometrics domain defines the XML representation for biometrics data such as facial images, fingerprints, iris scans and DNA so that providers and consumers of biometrics information can exchange this data. Biometrics information is used extensively in different areas of government including homeland security, law enforcement and defense, just to name a few.

Since 1986, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Information Technology Laboratory (NIST-ITL) has been responsible for the publication and maintenance of a biometric standard called the ANSI/NIST-ITL Data Format for the Interchange of Finger- print, Facial, & Other Biometric Information.

The XML Biometrics work group is appointed by NIST-ITL to develop the XML content for the NIEM Biometric domain. The group is composed of representatives from numerous federal, state, and local agencies, as well as industry including DHS, DoJ, the FBI, and Department of Defense (DoD).

Though biometric elements have been included in the NIEM core since NIEM 2.0, the need for a separate domain for biometrics was identified because the content and maintenance schedule of the NIEM core does not match the schedules of the biometrics community.

How CSE Helps

US-VISIT is accessed by 30,000 users from federal, state, and local government agencies. In 2013, the US-VISIT organization was reorganized and is now known as the Office for Biometrics Identity Management (OBIM). CSE directly supports OBIM in its role as the Steward of the NIEM Biometrics Domain. In this role, CSE manages all domain activities, including biometrics schema development and harmonization, data quality tiger team operations, technical analysis (biometrics data review) and community of interest outreach.

CSE established the Biometric Domain within NIEM.GOV and created the Domain Charter and Domain Management Plan. We ensured the governance framework aligned to NIST.

We leveraged our relationships in the Domain Community of Interest (COI) to vet, facilitate, and authorize the Biometric Schema created by the NIST BWG and beyond.

Our subject matter experts also increased COI knowledge of NIEM and IEPD development through training and technical support. We created a IEPD Repository to promote re-usability.

Additionally, CSE created an overall harmonized inter-agency Biometric Roadmap and developed the Domain Information Exchange Governance process and provided external Data standardization, harmonization, and collaboration support.

Tangible Business Results

CSE has proven competency in the biometrics arena with close working relationships across the Community of Interest (COI) and a deep understanding of the fundamentals of the field.

As an integral support element in the establishment and administration of the NIEM Biometric Domain (NBD), CSE has a firm grasp of NIEM conformance interoperability structures that leverage “re-use” of existing biometric data standards such as NIST, existing technology such as the IEPD Factory and NIEM toolkits.

Customer Success

  • Provided expertise that resulted in “Best of NIEM” national award.
  • Maintain synchronicity with related International Data Standardization initiatives.
  • Deployed structure that is aligned to NIST and NIEM governance frameworks, including governance bodies and dispute resolution.

Other CSE NIEM Biometrics Domain activities include:

  • Biometrics Schema development
  • Data harmonization
  • Data Quality Tiger Team management
  • Biometrics Standardization (new modality development/harmonization)
  • IXM Review and NIEM alignment (IXM 7.0 framework and considerations)