Ms. DeBolt is a former Army officer. She developed the concept and material solution for the Biometric Automated Toolset (BAT), the Detainee Information Management System (DIMS), and the Multilingual Autmated Registration System (MARS), all currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. She developed her biometrics expertise in service of U.S. peacekeepers in Bosnia. “We needed to ID people of interest and track them, not by using paper, but something unique to them and that would stay with them,” Ms. DeBolt recalls.
When troops deployed to Iraq in 2003, her team was charged with helping U.S. soldiers deny the enemy anonymity so insurgents could not easily blend into the local population. Beginning with prisoners and expanding to members of the local populace, U.S. forces now have collected biometrics on more than 3 million people in the two conflict zones. Because biometrics have been so successful in identifying enemy combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan, deploying units now receive training in collecting and using biometric information.
To develop biometrics and forensics solutions efficiently and cost effectively and to speed capability to the field, Ms. DeBolt uses rapid prototyping and agile development methods. She says she learned from her Bosnia experience to involve users in developing solutions from the very beginning. She takes programmers to Iraq to observe how soldiers are using the Biometric Automated Toolset to gather fingerprints, voice recordings, retina scans and facial images from prisoners and members of communities.