DOD to move 18M biometric records on ‘threat actors’ to AWS’s cloud

The massive biometric data surveillance system is to be moved to the cloud so it can better support new capabilities, according to an RFI.
AWS - Amazon Web Services Office in Houston, Texas
The Amazon Web Services office in Houston, Texas. (Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster)

The Department of Defense wants to modernize an 18-million-record system of biometric data on adversaries by moving it to Amazon Web Service‘s cloud, the department indicated in a request for information posted Tuesday.

The Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) is already partly cloud-based, with backups hosted on AWS servers. Now, the DOD is looking for a systems integrator to modernize and move the rest of the system and its operational environments to the cloud.

ABIS will need to remain interoperable and fully connected to civilian agencies, like the FBI, that also use the vast data set to monitor those identified as adversaries.

“DoD ABIS enables the Army, all other DOD components, Interagency and International Partners to effectively impede adversary’s ability to conceal their identity and intentions,” the RFI said about the surveillance system.


The DOD is looking for contractors that can migrate the data and operational environments from its current on-premise location in West Virginia to AWS’s GovCloud at impact level 5, which supports the storage and processing of highly sensitive unclassified information. Once migrated, the DOD wants the contractor to provide ongoing cybersecurity and maintenance to the modernized system.

The integrator will need to lead “rapid software development and fielding,” with development cycles take less than 18 months, according to the RFI. It will also need to migrate the system while it is in full use to ensure that no known enemies slip through government surveillance.

“DoD ABIS provides 24/7 operational support enabling time-sensitive missions requiring on-demand biometric identification and identity verification of known and/or suspected threat actors worldwide in support of Joint-All-Domain-Operations (JADO) and Homeland Defense,” the RFI states.

Responses are due by Nov. 19.

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