Smart card pact open for biz
- By Colleen O'Hara
- May 22, 2000
The General Services Administration selected five companies on Friday for
an estimated $1.5 billion program to supply government agencies with smart
cards and services.
The five prime contractors on the governmentwide Smart Access Common
Identification contract will produce microchip-equipped cards capable of
supporting multiple applications, such as personal identification and access
to buildings and computers.
The contract is the first government-wide contract for smart card services
and has the potential to significantly impact the smart card market, according
to Stephen Berg, director of the Federal Computer Acquisition Center in
GSA's Federal Technology Service.
GSA, along with vendor and agency representatives, will draft an open,
interoperable specification in 45 days so that smart cards bought off the
contract by one agency will be able to work with applications and smart
card readers used by another agency. "We are the ones who are pushing these
standards," Berg said. "That's what we were looking for: to have a common
standard among awardees. That way we can use these cards across government."
The winning prime vendors are: KPMG Consulting LLC, Litton/PRC Inc.,
Electronic Data Systems Corp., 3-G International Inc. and Logicon Inc.
Each of the winning vendors will provide a common interoperable set
of smart card services that support physical and logical access control,
such as access to a computer network or to a building, biometrics such as
fingerprint scans, and cryptographic services such as digital signatures
and data encryption.
"Agencies have been waiting on GSA for standards so that they don't
move forward with technology that will be interoperable," said Kevin Kozlowski,
Litton/PRC program manager.
There are many smart card standards already in existence, and a challenge
is getting the standards to work together, Kozlowski said. "It's the glue
that's going to hold them together," he said.
"I believe that the Smart Access Common ID card contract meets the needs
that several government agencies have," such as growing security and safety
concerns, said Suzanne Strickland, GSA administrative contracting officer
for the contract. "This new technology will support important applications,
such as e-commerce."