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OBIM CTO Talks Interoperability and NIEM at 2015 Biometrics for Government and Law Enforcement Event

On January 26, the 9th annual Biometrics for Government and Law Enforcement Conference kicked off in Arlington, Virginia. Speakers and event attendees from multiple organizations, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), DHS United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Border Patrol covered a range of biometrics and identity management topics.

On the first day of the event, DHS OBIM Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and NIEM Biometrics Domain Chair Kim Jackson led a session titled “Interoperability, Information Exchanges and Implementing Biometrics Standards.” Members of the public and private sector were on hand for the session, which covered the following topics:

  • Key considerations in aligning your program with national biometrics quality standards
  • How to prime your organization to benefit from and make valuable contributions to national biometrics efforts
  • NIEM, its data structures, and the opportunities it provides
  • The current state of interoperability and what to expect from NIEM 3.0/1

During the session, Ms. Jackson noted that OBIM was an early NIEM proponent. She pointed out that the early Identification Protocol (IDENT)/Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) exchanges were a strong proof of concept. “NIEM is increasingly the mandate, but beyond that, there’s a more compelling reason to adopt NIEM, and that is that NIEM works, and it’s the right solution to enable data interoperability,” Ms. Jackson emphasized.

She further pointed out that with NIEM participation comes membership in a vast community and access to superb technical assistance.

Kamran Atri, CTO of CSE, Inc. and lead of the NBD facilitator team, and Shuchita Bora, also an NBD Facilitator, both detailed more technical elements of NIEM, including data models, exchange, Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) development, and the upcoming 3.1 release.

The Biometrics Domain's mission is to support biometric-related services and mission-based activities, such as homeland security, national defense, border management, immigration benefits, and global law enforcement, through the joint development and alignment of XML Biometric Standards.

For more information on the NIEM Biometrics Domain, please visit the NBD community page. For information related to membership or training, please contact the Biometrics Domain facilitator team at