The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is preparing to upgrade its biometrics collection system (BASS) to Bass 3.0, according to a June 23 request for information (RFI).

BASS, launched in 2006, has grown to be the primary identification method for Coast Guard officers dealing with detainees at sea. It provides mobile biometrics collection and analysis capability to operators in the maritime environment and remote areas where Homeland Security operates.

The current system includes a handheld device that records biographical information, name, date of birth, sex, and nationality and takes a photo and fingerprint reading of the detainee. The information collected is transferred to a laptop onboard the ship, formatted, and moved onto an encrypted external hard drive. The hard drive is then connected to a workstation on the Coast Guard’s secure network and sent over encrypted mail to the Homeland Security Department’s Automated Biometric Identification System, upgrading to a new cloud-based system.

This information assists in determining courses of action in U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement interdictions, including repatriate, arrest, refer for prosecution, etc. Additionally, the capability deters human smuggling networks by improving U.S. Immigration Laws and identifying potential terrorists using typical Alien and Migrant Interdiction Operations routes.

The RFI kicks off the acquisition process with five goals:

  • Assess the current marketplace and existing industry capabilities;
  • Identify and evaluate the significant risks to the acquisition;
  • Identify and mitigate any potential barriers to competition;
  • Identify potential sources and their respective socioeconomic status; and
  • Determine industry data/information needs to support proposal preparation.

All responses are due by 2 p.m. on July 23.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.