Sea change

The United States Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have long attempted to improve their performance in preventing non-natives from illegally entering the country. To support this effort, these agencies developed a complex IT system--the Biometrics at Sea program--that now enables Coast Guard crews to fingerprint and photograph the individuals who are attempting to illegally enter the United States. This article discusses the complexities that were involved in getting this system into operation, noting how the Coast Guard worked with numerous DHS agencies to secure the permission and cooperation they needed to launch this initiative. It also describes the activities that were involved in developing the system and identifies the operational concerns--such as securing the sharing of critical national security-related information--that the development team had to resolve in order to launch this project.
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