USS Bainbridge Updates Her Biometric System

The Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team aboard USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) received improved equipment for identification of potential hostiles taken into custody during maritime operations, May 21.

The U.S. Navy wanted to develop a program that would ultimately meet the needs of Sailors during VBSS missions. John Boyd, Director, Defense Biometrics and Forensics, presented the upgraded AN/PYX-1 Identity Dominance System to the boarding team during a brief ceremony.

 “The system is used in a maritime environment to collect biometrics such as face, finger, and iris images, and enroll that information into a local database and match against known persons of interest,” said Boyd. “Once the information has been captured, the system sends the information back to the authoritative data base.”

Biometrics can also include personal biographical information such as birthdates and family names. This equipment is designed to help Sailors accurately retrieve information of the suspects in a more timely matter. This updated system is made for a more rugged environment.

 “The system also pulls down information from cell phones and ties that in with the biometric data, biographic data, and contextual data about what was going on during the boarding,” Boyd said.

“This is a gadget that gets biometrics from bad guys, specifically pirates,” said Lt. j.g. Vanessa K. Sonnichsen, VBSS officer aboard guided-missile destroyer Bainbridge. “It is necessary to conduct biometrics for the same reasons that police collect similar data on suspected criminals.”

This equipment will have a direct impact on the VBSS team’s success in supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy as Bainbridge prepares for an upcoming deployment this summer.

 “This is something that will benefit not just the Navy; the Marines are also looking to use this system as a baseline,” said Boyd. “This is a huge opportunity for the Joint Forces and the Navy is leading the way.”

Press Release, May 30, 2013