The Department of Defense announced today the signing of the first military enlistment contract using biometric technology at the Baltimore Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), located at Fort Meade, Md.
Eliminating the traditional “wet” signature using a pen, an applicant simply places an index finger on a special reader that records the fingerprint on an electronic enlistment contract, making the enlistment official. The enlistment contract becomes a part of the service member’s permanent electronic personnel record.
The biometric signing of the contract is the first step in a multi-year effort by the U. S. Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) to leverage technology in a way that streamlines applicant enlistment processes and eliminates the more than 70 million pieces of paper per year currently expended.
Referred to as “e-Security,” the biometric signature protects the integrity and heightens security of the enlistment process, as well as paving the way to paperless enlistment recordkeeping. The successful implementation of e-Security is the product of a six-year effort by USMEPCOM and the project’s prime contractor, Northrop Grumman.
The MEPS will initially obtain each applicant’s biometric at first contact. The biometric will be used to verify the individual’s identity and track his or her progress through the qualification process: aptitude testing, medical screening, background check, enlistment contracting and departure for travel to initial entry training.
USMEPCOM determines the physical, mental, and moral qualifications of every new member of the armed services. In fiscal 2007, the command administered 510,000 enlistment Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests and 348,000 physical examinations, resulting in 266,000 individuals entering the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.