US govt demands smart card implementation update

Federal agencies have until Sept. 8 to provide an update ontheir readiness to comply with a presidential directive on issuingPersonal Identity Verification (PIV) smart cards to all employees and contractorsby the end of October.

The request for the update went out to federal CIOs in the form of a memo issuedTuesday by the White HouseOffice of Management and Budget (OMB). The memo was signed byde facto federal CIO Karen Evans and included a template for CIOsto use in updating information on their agency’s status andstrategy for implementing the requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

Issued Aug. 27, 2004, HSPD-12 requires all federal agencies todeploy a common standard for identifying and authenticatinggovernment employees and contractors. Under HSPD-12, federalagencies are expected to use a common identification credential –the PIV smart cards — for controlling access to government ITsystems and buildings.

Under the two-phase implementation schedule mandated by HSPD-12,each agency had until last October to have processes in place forverifying the identities and backgrounds of all its employees andcontractors. As part of the second phase, they are required tostart issuing PIV smart cards on or before Oct 27. Both deadlineshave been widely viewed as extremely aggressive given the scope ofthe process and the technology challenges involved in movingfederal agencies over to a common identity and access managementinfrastructure.

Tuesday’s memo from Evans noted that only changes to previouslystated implementation plans needed to be submitted. “At a minimum,agencies will need to respond to questions on the number ofbackground investigations they have planned for FY 2007 and FY2008,” the memo noted.

The OMB will provide agencies with a written evaluation of theirupdated plans, the memo added without specifying a time frame.

Earlier this month, the U.S. General Services Administration,awarded a US$104 million contract to BearingPoint LLC to supply thesmart-card technology and services that federal agencies need tomeet the Oct. 27 deadline. The GSA has also set up an office tohelp agencies coordinate purchases of their smart card technologiesand services.

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