Contracts open link to CAC

The Defense Department has announced the award of four contracts for software that will enable applications on users' desktops to communicate with the Common Access Card (CAC).

The Naval Inventory Control Point in Mechanicsburg, Pa., awarded this month four indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts valued at as much as $26 million to Datakey Inc., in Burnsville, Minn.; Litronic, a division of SSP Solutions Inc., in Irvine, Calif.; Schlumberger Omnes Inc., in Houston; and Spyrus Inc., in San Jose, Calif.

The companies will provide "middleware" — either software or an application programming interface — that will enable an application to communicate with the CAC, which is DOD's multi-application smart card, said Tom Dickens, chief operating officer of Spyrus.

The companies can sell their products across the department as Defense agencies work to roll out the CACs. The smart cards, which are about the size of a credit card, are embedded with a digital certificate that will allow users to encrypt e-mail and gain access to applications.

DOD started handing out the CACs in October 2001 and aims to have more than 4 million cards distributed by 2004.

Carl Boecher, president and chief executive officer of Datakey, said that it is much more secure to store the certificate on the smart card. Digital certificates that are stored on the hard drive of a PC are much more susceptible to being cracked.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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