"While [the Defense Department] has a current and approved forensic strategic plan, it does not have one for its biometric capabilities, because no entity has been assigned responsibility for developing such a plan," the report said on Monday.
The US Army did not follow Defense Department acquisition protocols in developing a recent key biometric capability, the report added, and it may have missed an opportunity to leverage existing, viable, and less costly alternatives.
The Defense Department’s "biometric database that is used for identifying enemy combatants and terrorists does not have a geographically dispersed back-up capability to protect against threats such as natural hazards," the report warned.
Biometric capabilities are used to identify individuals based on physical characteristics such as fingerprints, iris scans, and voice recognition. Since 2008 the Defense Department has used them to capture or kill 1,700 individuals and deny 92,000 others access to military bases, the GAO added.