DCIS to start fall tests

Defense Department agencies this fall will start testing a cross-credentialing system that would give employees and contractors a single access card for any DOD facility.

The Defense Cross-credentialing Identification System (DCIS) will consist of shared government and contractor databases of personnel information. Sharing data will make it easier to manage access to Defense installations and provide more flexibility, such as limiting access to certain areas or only for a limited duration, according to Rob Brandewie, deputy director of the Defense Manpower Data Center, which manages DOD's identity databases.

"Basically, a person can visit any camp, post or station in the world and will be authenticated across DOD," Brandewie said recently at a conference.

Northrop Grumman Corp., which will work through its information technology and missions systems divisions, has been selected as the lead contractor in the pilot. The company will run initial tests at selected Defense facilities in Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and New Mexico starting in October.

Between 10 million and 11 million people work for DOD, and most agencies, departments and services within the department have their own personnel databases and access policies and issue their own credentials.

The DCIS will accept and process credentials such as the Common Access Card (CAC) and other standardized IDs from all agencies and contractors taking part in the program.

Current CAC holders are already enrolled to participate, since the department already has their necessary information. Contractors will be enrolled into a database that will capture their names, photos, two fingerprints and other identifying information, according to Northrop Grumman.

DOD won't maintain a single database of all government contractors. Instead, the vendors will each maintain their own databases, which DOD can access each time it has to verify someone's identity. After verification, that data disappears from the defense side and remains only with the vendor.

Government agencies would have to adopt common security procedures for processes such as enrollment and identity management for tracking changes to users' access rights.

Defense officials have said they want a governmentwide credentialing system in place.

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