GSA jump-starts HSPD-12

Retooled Managed Services Office to begin issuing cards under new contract by July

Progress in meeting Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 stalled during the past six months, as many agencies took a wait-and-see attitude after meeting a first big test of the governmentwide smart-card identity verification program. Most agencies passed that test by the Oct. 27, 2006, deadline, but many say they’ve not made much progress since. 

The General Services Administration awarded EDS a $66.4 million contract last week to run its HSPD-12 Managed  Services Office, which many experts say should help revive the dormant program.

 As early as July, EDS will begin opening about 225 fixed and mobile HSPD-12 enrollment stations nationwide, said Michel Kareis, GSA’s HSPD-12 Managed Services Office program manager.

After GSA decided to cancel its original Managed Services Office contract with BearingPoint in October 2006, momentum on HSPD-12 seemed to peter out, federal and industry officials say. Officials at the Treasury and Justice departments are still deciding which path to take — whether to use a shared-services provider such as GSA, meet the requirements on their own or take a hybrid approach.

Other agencies are waiting for certain policy issues to be resolved before moving forward.

The Office of Management and Budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Office of Personnel Management and others  must plan how to coordinate the transfer of fingerprints to the appropriate agencies and determine whether the unique identifier on each HSPD-12 card will be sufficiently unique if the cards become widely used by state and local governments.

Meanwhile, OMB and GSA officials express optimism that the program’s momentum is about to pick up. “With respect to issuing credentials, many agencies are planning to ramp up with nationwide deployments starting in the April-to-June 2007 time frame,” an OMB spokeswoman said.

GSA expects to issue at least 425,000 cards during the next 17 months, but that could increase to 1.5 million, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner for GSA’s integrated technology services.  GSA has 42 agency customers signed up for its HSPD-12 services, including the Agriculture, Commerce and Energy departments.

EDS replaces BearingPoint, which won a $104 million contract with GSA in August only to have GSA cancel it in October. The company did not submit a final bid during GSA’s second procurement after deciding too much risk was involved, said Steve Lunceford, a BearingPoint spokesman.

“We did take this opportunity in the second procurement to add in the lessons learned from the first one…such as the way we would deliver services,” said Steven Kempf, GSA’s acting deputy assistant commissioner for integrated technology services.

EDS will use its own infrastructure, which it specifically developed to meet HSPD-12 requirements. “We tried to make our system an end-to-end solution that flows very well,” said David Troy, director of EDS’ federal government ID management solutions. It has a simple and consistent user interface that requires minimal training, he said.

“EDS had to demonstrate their abilities to meet the government’s requirements,” Johnson said. “They were successful in testing, and that was one factor in our decision.”

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