Military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan want to use the same system that stores their passports and bank accounts to track their relatives.
But it’s not clear if it will be approved by the Pentagon.
Army Secretary James Amos has called the new system a necessary tool to help combat the growing threat of terrorist groups and other criminal elements, and he’s already begun using it.
Army officials want the system to help prevent the spread of radicalization among members of the U.S. military and their families, as well as to identify those in need of assistance.
But the Pentagon is skeptical, arguing it’s just another bureaucratic burden.
The Army says it can’t have its own database for the same reason that the State Department cannot have its passport database.
“We don’t have a data point that shows if it’s working, if we’re actually going to have an effect on terrorist activity,” Lt.
Col. Tom Davis, an Army spokesman, told reporters Thursday.
The Pentagon’s concerns about the new database were underscored by an Army report on its own efforts to track the family of an Army soldier killed in combat.
The report said that in 2014, the soldier’s family asked the Army to use its database for family members to check if he had a criminal history.
The Army did not approve the request, but it said that the family agreed to it anyway.
The report said the Army wanted the database to track “the number of members of each family” who had been arrested or convicted of crimes.
The family’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said the report was “misleading” and said the family had not been made aware of the use of the database.
Geragos said the database was not used by the military in an effort to track people in Iraq.
The AP’s Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.