Vendors team on security suite

Four vendors launched the National Integrated Security Suite March 5 in anticipation of federal transportation needs.

EDS, PwC Consulting, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp. collaborated on an end-to-end system that relies on biometric and risk-assessment technologies.

"We're getting ahead of what we think the requirements are going to be in this field so we can provide some solutions," said Grady Means, managing partner of PwC Consulting's federal government practice.

The suite includes two programs that can be deployed separately:

* Secure Employee uses existing information -- fingerprints required for background checks of airport workers -- to manage access areas and computer systems.

* Known Traveler is a voluntary passenger registration program aimed at easing flow through checkpoint areas and creates "smart" travel identification cards with encrypted data.

The suite builds on the EDS-developed biometric security system in place at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel.

"This collaboration allows us to offer the extensive experience of EDS, PwC Consulting, Sun and Oracle to the federal government, and to assist them in providing heightened security for their passengers and employees," Al Edmonds, EDS' president of government information solutions, said in a news release.

PwC Consulting, for instance, has the experience of working with 24 airlines.

"It's not unusual for us to really try to anticipate what the government needs are," Means said. "We've seen this on a number of recent engagements."

The company took a similar approach to eArmyU (www.earmyu.com), the Army's online distance learning program, which led to a five-year, $453 million contract.

"The timeline is going to be very aggressive because there's also a great deal of public concern," he said.

PwC consultants already have begun visiting airports with the new Transportation Security Administration as part of a $3.1 million contract to overhaul operations.

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