The Department of Defense must keep track of a large and ever-growing number of people, both known and unknown, as it executes its mission. The field associated with this responsibility is called identity management. One tool for identity management is biometrics, and some view DNA as a useful biometric for either identification or verification of individuals. However, serious questions remain about whether DNA is a viable biometric option, and it presents especially challenging questions. This paper examines DNA as a biometric from several perspectives, including technical requirements, policy and legal ramifications, and costs and benefits compared with other biometrics.
This paper results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.