Biometrics in Support of Military Operations: Lessons from the Battlefield, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Biometrics in Support of Military Operations

Lessons from the Battlefield, 1st Edition

By William C. Buhrow

CRC Press

176 pages | 51 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-11-22
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Biometrics in Support of Military Operations: Lessons from the Battlefield examines and evaluates recent U.S. military experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of the use of biometrics and related technologies. The book takes a comprehensive look at how biometrics has been used to support various military operations and suggests ways that its uses can be further developed. It fills a void in understanding how to incorporate biometrics by providing a guide to develop and establish formal operational roles and procedures when applying the technology.

Written in an informal style that makes it accessible to people who are not necessarily operators or technicians of biometrics technologies, this book bridges an existing gap to better educate leaders inside and outside of the U.S. military on the far-reaching potential of biometrics in support of tactical operations. It argues that the gap between those inside and outside the military is the result of failure to document lessons learned from battle experience, as well as a lack of a combined vision among the Joint Forces to fully recognize and exploit the capabilities of biometrics for enhanced future success. This book fills that gap.

Biometrics has great potential as an effective tool if properly developed and utilized. The book concludes with a look at the future of emerging applications for the military but also considers a wider range of deployment of biometrics outside the military, such as in governmental organizations, including foreign diplomacy. Biometrics can be applied to any operational area that requires accurate and rapid identification of unknown individuals in order to support its operations and protect personnel and resources. Biometrics in Support of Military Operations is an important beginning point in an emerging field for gaining understanding and better mastery of biometrics.


"Bill possesses a truly unique perspective on both the operational and intelligence aspects of biometrics, and this perspective makes it possible not only for him to effectively articulate the potential of current biometrics capabilities, but also to describe a vision for the capabilities our nation will require in the future. …I urge those who would lead the way to the military biometrics enterprise of the future, to read this book."

—MG (Ret.) Custer

Table of Contents

Why Do We Need Biometrics

Not a New Capability but New to the Battlefield

Biometrics Basics

What is Biometrics?

Identification vs. Verification

Acquiring Biometric Data

What Are Modalities?

Biometric Matching: What Does it Really Mean?

Biometrics and Forensics

Biometrics and Intelligence


"It’s the Network!"

General Operational Issues

Advanced Preparation is Key

Selecting the Right System for the Operation (or Modifying the Wrong One)

Match Your Matching Scheme to the Mission and the System

The Database(s)

Communications and Data Movement are Critical

Effective Policy Enables Effective Biometrics Operations

TTPs and Training

Collection Considerations

The Modality Should Match the Mission

The Impact of the Coalition Operations

The Six Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance

Biometrics Scenario 1: Preparing for Operation GORDON

Intelligence Support to Biometrics (and Vice Versa)

Biometrics-Enabled Intelligence

Biometrics-Enabled Watchlisting

BEI Support to the Targeting Process

Biometrically-Enabled IPB

Strategic Intelligence Applications of Identity Data

Identity Support for HUMINT and Counterintelligence (CI)

Source Operations

Biometrics Support for Interrogation Operations

In Conclusion: Intelligence is Critical to Biometrics

Scenario 2: Intelligence Impacts on Biometrics in Operation GORDON

Biometric Support to Offensive Operations

Biometrics Support to Targeted Operations

Attacking the Network

Biometrically-Enabled Checkpoint Operations

Biometric Reconnaissance

Biometrics Support for Population Management

Scenario 3: Raid on Baraawe

Biometrics Support for Defensive Operations

Biometrics for Access Control

Biometrics Support for Personal Vetting

Biometrics Can Help Detect Insider Threats

Biometrics for Tactical Force Protection

Scenario 3: Biometrics Support for Force Protection in Operation GORDON

Biometrics Support to Operations across the Military Spectrum

Managing Detainee-Processing and –Handling with Biometrics

Biometrics at the Border

Biometrics and the Legal Fight

Biometrics Support for Humanitarian Operations

Biometrics for Friendly-Force Identity Verification and Tracking

Chapter 7 Scenario: Biometrics for Detainee Management and Border Control in Operation GORDON

What’s Next for Military (and Other) Biometrics Operations?

Increasing Focus on "Blue Force" Capabilities

Improvement in Standoff and Mobile Collection

Improved Forensics Capabilities

Biometrics Ubiquity

Biometrics-Based Encryption

How Can Biometrics Be Used in Nonmilitary "Operations"?

Biometrically Enabled Diplomacy and Diplomatic Security

No More Benghazis: Biometrics Support to Diplomacy and Diplomatic Security

Why Not Use Biometrics to Protect Our Government’s Most Valuable Asset?

USSS Biometrics in Action

The Future of the U.S. Military Biometrics Capability

DoD Biometrics Needs an Agile Acquisition Program

Personnel Support for Future Biometrics Operations

Afterword: The U.S. Department of Defense Needs an Advanced Identity Enterprise

Open and Flexible Architecture

Integrated Biometrics Operations and Intelligence

Expanding the Concept of Enrollment

Beyond Biometrics

Beyond One-to-Many Identification

About the Author

William C. Buhrow was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He attended Wake Forest University and graduated in 1983 with a BA in history and a commission as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army. He earned a master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College before leaving active service in 1993 as a civilian intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He returned to active service in 2003 as an intelligence officer for the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G2). In 2007, he began a series of active duty tours with the Army’s Biometrics Task Force/Biometrics Identity Management Agency. He retired from the Army in 2012 and currently works as a contractor supporting the Department of Defense in the areas of biometrics and identity intelligence.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Machine Theory
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism