Identity Management

DHS takes step forward on ID management

ID card

DHS awarded a $102 million contract for an identity management system to HP Enterprise Services on Sept. 27 that will support its internal security capabilities into the next decade.

The 10-year contract will aid the agency's efforts to implement Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12). HSPD-12, issued in 2004, is intended to create a mandatory, government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of ID issued to federal employees and federal contractors for access to federally-controlled facilities and networks.

"This is in-house maintenance that needs to be done," said John Hernandez, Aerospace and Defense senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan. Hernandez added that under the contract, the department is putting a biometric-based identification infrastructure in place for its thousands of employees to help stanch spending by its component agencies on separate systems. With the new system, DHS will "stop nickel and diming" its component agencies having to install their own identification systems, he said.

HP Enterprise Services declined to comment on the contract award.

DHS said in its May request for proposals for the project that it would add facial, fingerprint and iris recognition as part of the $102 million upgrade.

HP will provide the technological infrastructure to support the updated ID capabilities, including a backbone system that includes 400 enrollment and issuance workstations to distribute IDs throughout the department, as well as 16,000 "light workstations" equipped with a management program that facilitates ID data updates and secures passwords.

HP will manage the personal identity verification cards given to contractors and government employees for access to DHS facilities. Almost 300,000 PIV cards will be replaced over the next two years.

DHS had said its present Federal Information Processing Standard 201 compliant identity management system, designed in 2008, hadn't been modified since it was installed. The new contract, according to a presentation by Cynthia Sjoberg, chief of the identity management division in the Office of the Chief of Security Officer, would "continue the implementation of HSPD-12" at the department.

Sjoberg said the contract would advance the department's capabilities significantly. The backend of the HSPD-12 system, for instance, would allow it to provide PIV card lifecycle management, establish enterprise fingerprinting services and integration of those operations with the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

The IDENT system and database belongs to the Office of Biometric Identity Management. The IAFIS fingerprint databases belong to the FBI.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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