BIMA Rolls Out New Training Website
In July 2010, after months of hard work, the new BIMA Training Website went live. This site, which resides on the main BIMA website to maximize traffic and attention, is a centralized repository of biometrics-related information, including articles, website links and other reference material. The site was envisioned and developed by BIMA B-3/5/7 LTC William “Bill” Buhrow and his team, which included Mr. Mike Kershner, BIMA Special Advisor for Operations, who sums it up as a place where “anybody from Djibouti to the Philippines to Fort Huachuca can access our website and download a great deal of the [biometrics]training information available.”
The website can be found by going to the BIMA website, http://www.biometrics.mil/, and clicking on the “Training” section.
The Site’s Origins
LTC Buhrow and Mr. Kershner began working on biometrics training at BIMA in August 2009 and realized how little material was available. Consequently, they wrote a white paper about training gaps in biometrics. In November 2009, the organization conducted a training needs analysis, which yielded the same conclusion. That same month saw the training site’s genesis at the “Biometrics and Forensics Training Working Group” meeting at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. A large number of people from the biometrics community were assembled, and one focus of discussions was the recent training needs analysis and lessons learned regarding predeployment training. The consensus was that there needed to be a centralized site that gathered all available biometrics training information and made it accessible to the greatest number of people possible.
BIMA’s website was the logical platform for the soon-tobe created training website since when one searches for “biometrics” on the Internet BIMA’s website is the first result. From there, anyone who goes to the website can access training material with simply a [Common Access Card (CAC)]. Because the majority of biometrics information is unclassified the decision was made to keep the training site unclassified. This allows the maximum number of viewers possible while still maintaining a level of security. “Any Joe Blow on the Internet can’t access the site, but anyone with a DoD CAC or access to the DoD system can,” Mr. Kershner noted.
LTC Buhrow volunteered for the task of creating the training site using BIMA’s website as the host. The site’s structure and content was decided upon by the Military Operations Branch and once this outline was in place, LTC Buhrow and his team worked with other organizations to gather the necessary material and prepare it for posting online. This included paring the number of resources down, formatting it as needed and getting it posted to the Web.
The Site’s Content
Prior to the BIMA Training Website’s inception, “There was no place where all this information was coalesced or put together, and there was no place where it existed, which is one of the factors that drove the decision to create such a webpage,” LTC Buhrow explained. Now there is a fully formed receptacle for a wealth of biometrics-related training information, including:
- References to articles and information from the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL)
- Instructions and explanations for film and non-film modalities
- Field equipment guides and instructions
- References for and standards for individual training
- Articles tailored to training for individuals, units, leaders and staff, and senior leaders
- Army Combat Training Center training information
- NET/DTT materials, including those for the “Biometrics 101” course at Fort Huachuca
- Leader and staff training on using biometrics to support tactical operations
“We also talk about biometrically enabled intelligence in an unclassified way to familiarize people with what the concept is and how it fits into the overall biometrics scenario so people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and what the training is geared to,” LTC Buhrow remarked.
Stepping up and Filling a Void
The BIMA Training Website fills a critical information gap. “We’re doing it because nobody else is doing it — we’re filling a void right now,” LTC Buhrow remarked. He continued, “We are proud to have developed a website that Soldiers can go to and have a one-stop reference where they can at least get some of their questions answered. They have a basic reference library that they can go to improve their employment of biometric operations.”
For BIMA personnel, especially those involved in training, the site offers an opportunity to take the extensive information they have for Soldiers on the ground and put it in a centralized repository for Soldiers to access. “This gives them a great place to be able to expand the knowledge of the troops,” LTC Buhrow continued.
The BIMA Training Website may be brand new, but LTC Buhrow is already thinking ahead to the next iteration, and he fully anticipates that the site will continue to expand to include training modules and courses. For example, the Joint IED Defeat Organization has developed training modules, some of which pertain to biometrics, that could be added to the site.
LTC Buhrow strongly believes that another organization will eventually take over the site and have dedicated staff to maintain it. “We have filled a void right now, and once somebody steps up to the plate and grabs the guidon, we’ll pass the guidon to them and go fill another void,” he remarked.
BIMA will continue to manage the site for now and keep the information cutting-edge, maintaining this critical information repository with the potential to become a fully interactive online training site. By taking on this task, BIMA continues its role as a provider of knowledge to biometrics professionals, Warfighters and beyond. As LTC Buhrow stated, “The biggest benefit isn’t to BIMA but to the biometrics community at large.”