Skip to main content

Trust But Identify: The Use of Biometrics
For Counterterrorism & Counterinsurgency

Dr John Woodward
RAND Corporation

Friday, April 7, 2006
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm
Place: 1225 Engineering

Host: A. Jain


In the Global War on Terrorism, the relevance of biometric technology has grown greatly. The military must achieve identity dominance, where military forces have the distinct ability to separate friend from foe by linking people encountered on a foreign field to their previous identities and past terrorist or criminal activities. We can use biometric technology to achieve identity dominance and must deploy it to meet the requirements of force protection, actionable intelligence, and law enforcement. Establishing identity dominance through a comprehensive Automated Biometric Identification System will enable the U.S. military to identify friend or foe to keep America safer.


John D. Woodward, Jr. is the Associate Director of RAND Corporation's Intelligence Policy Center, where he helps oversee and manage RAND 's work for the Intelligence Community. From October 2003 to July 2005, John served as Director of the U.S. Department of Defense Biometrics Management Office. As Director, he established the Department's Automated Biometric Identification System to enable rapid searching and matching of fingerprint data taken from enemy combatants and other persons of interest. In recognition of his leadership, he received the Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his work in using biometric technologies to support U.S. efforts in counterterrorism.

From 2000 to 2003, John served as a RAND senior policy analyst working on national security, intelligence, and technology policy issues. Prior to joining RAND, John served as an Operations Officer for the Central Intelligence Agency for twelve years, with assignments in East Asia and East Africa . He has proficiency in Japanese and Thai.

John has testified about national security and technology policy before Congress, the Commission on Online Child Protection, and the Virginia State Crime Commission. His publications include Biometrics: Identity Assurance in the Information Age, (McGraw-Hill, 2003), used by several universities. His articles have appeared in numerous publications.

A member of the Virginia State Bar, John received his Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center . He was a Thouron Scholar at the London School of Economics, University of London , where he earned an M.S. in Economics. He received his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania . He served as a law clerk to The Hon. Roderick R. McKelvie, a federal judge in the District of Delaware.