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Battelle wins contract to boost Army's computer security

The Army wants to boost cyber security for buildings and computer systems. The same technology could ensure that bad guys who get their hands on Army weapons won't be able to fire them.

Battelle is going to help.

The Columbus-based research institute announced yesterday that it has won a 10-month, $22.4 million contract to support the Army's Identity Management and Cryptographic initiatives. Another two years could be added to the contract.

Those are complicated programs that Brian Schultz -- a man with the title of "technical director of cyber architecture and advising services in the Cyber Innovations business at Battelle" -- helped explain after the announcement.

As it is now, the Army uses identification cards that allow troops and other employees to enter buildings and use computers. For example, a security guard at a building looks at the photo on the card and swipes the card for information encrypted in it, Schultz said. That offers a certain measure of security.

"In the future, we might consider something like a retina scan, in combination with facial-recognition software, in combination with earlobe geometrical analysis," he said.

Part of the goal is to figure out what can work on the battlefield, too. In the same way that only authorized people could use a computer, only authorized people could use a weapon.

Schultz said he couldn't comment on whether that technology already is being used in the field.

Battelle, a nonprofit organization, teamed with two companies to win the contract: TASC, a Virginia-based systems-engineering company, and Maden Technologies, an information-technology business in Washington, D.C.

"Cyber security is a huge issue, so Battelle is looking for ways to deliver more products and more services," said Katy Delaney, a Battelle spokeswoman.

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