DigitalNet Wins Fingerprint ID Contract

DigitalNet Holdings Inc. of Herndon will provide fingerprint identification services to the Homeland Security Department under a new $25 million contract.

More than 50 DigitalNet fingerprint identification specialists will work for the department's U.S. Visitor Immigration Status Indication Technology System program at the department's Western Identification Network in San Diego and the Biometrics Support Center in Washington, according to company officials .

U.S. Visit, as the program is known, attempts to verify the identity of visitors to the United States using biometric technologies. As part of that effort, an automated verification system approves or rejects travelers for entry into the United State by matching their fingerprints against lists of fugitives, potential terrorists, known terrorists and people who have been previously deported, said Danny Greathouse, program manager on the contract.

DigitalNet's fingerprint identification specialists will analyze the fingerprints collected during U.S. Visit screenings that do not pass the automated verification system. "What we're dealing with are fingerprints not of sufficient quality to meet automatic verification requirements," said Greathouse, who estimated this would be about 10 percent of the fingerprints.

Those fingerprint images are sent electronically from the ports in the U.S. Visit program to the Western Identification Network and the Biometrics Support Center, where DigitalNet employees examine them. The secondary examination takes an average of three minutes, Greathouse said. The centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

Each examiner is experienced in analyzing latent fingerprints -- for example, fingerprint fragments recovered from crime scenes -- or "known" fingerprints, he said.

Additional employees will be added to the project this year as the number of countries and U.S. ports participating in U.S. Visit increases, Greathouse said.

DigitalNet has performed fingerprint identification services at the Western Identification Network for about five years and at the Biometrics Support Center for about 18 months. The new contract combines the work at the two locations into one contract, said Gina Abate, senior vice president of civilian operations at DigitalNet.

The contract has one base year and four option periods. If all options are exercised, the contract would be worth $25 million.

DigitalNet employs nearly 2,200 people who provide networked infrastructure and information assurance technologies to federal agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice, State and Treasury. The company had revenue of $336.3 million in 2003.

Executives of DigitalNet and BAE Systems North America of Rockville announced Sept. 11 that BAE Systems North America would buy DigitalNet for about $600 million. BAE Systems North America is a subsidiary of BAE Systems PLC of Hampshire in the United Kingdom.

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