State issues ID card plan

As they forge ahead with a smart card program, State Department officials have learned that changing indentification cards means more than printing new badges.

"This is a departmentwide project and not bureau-centric," said Lolie Kull, access control smart card implementation program manager for the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. "It's very hard to get that message out."

The department's program is in the early stages, with about 250 smart cards released, Kull said June 5 at the Smart Card Alliance Inc.'s symposium in Washington, D.C. Officials hope to issue another 20,000 cards by August and eventually give them to 35,000 workers.

The move to smart cards will not happen overnight. During a one-year transition period, employees will wear both their old and new ID cards. Also, staff members working abroad will receive cards as they return to the United States.

"The biggest challenge [for] any agency such as theirs is to identify short-term requirements and long-term goals," said Randy Vanderhoof, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Smart Card Alliance. "I think the State Department has taken a very informed approach to doing this."

The cards will provide physical and logical access and will include a public-key infrastructure identity certificate. They will comply with the General Services Administration's smart card interoperability specifications.

"Everybody is resistant to change," Kull said. "Once we do succeed, life will be easier for everyone."

"When you're trying to do anything systemwide, it often impacts individual responsibilities and the performance of individual departments," Vanderhoof said. "We find this happens any time there's a systemwide change."

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