Hardware coming for defense credentialing pilot

The Defense Department during the next six weeks will distribute to five pilot companies the hardware necessary to create the credentials for the Defense Cross-credentialing Identification System (DCIS).

"In the old days, we could accept somebody's identification on face value," said Rob Brandewie, deputy director of the Defense Manpower Data Center. "Nowadays, that creates security problems."

DCIS will consist of shared government and contractor databases of personnel information, and mark the first step in a program that could eventually result in a single credentialing system for the entire federal government and all its contractors.

Companies involved in the pilot are SRA International Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., BearingPoint Inc. and EDS. The idea is that government employees and contractors shouldn't have to carry different IDs with them for every facility they have to visit. A shared set of rules and standards could be applied to all of the credentialing done by government agencies, and a compatible, interoperable credential system could come from it.

Ralph Billeri, senior manager at BearingPoint, speaking this week at the E-Gov Homeland Security conference, said the challenge is to make DCIS interoperable with existing credential systems to avoid creating an undue burden on contractors or subcontractors.

He said the hardware and software should be in place by Jan. 15, 2004, employees will enroll for the next month and the pilot will take place in earnest from February through June of next year.

DCIS is built on DOD's use of Common Access Cards, which use smart cards, biometrics and public-key infrastructure. To date, the department has issued nearly 4 million cards and will complete its rollout to all 4.5 million active duty, reserve and civilian personnel by the end of March 2004.

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