Viisage to support DOD cards

Viisage Web site

The Defense Department already uses millions of Common Access Cards (CACs), and the future of the system's security applications will likely be the next major initiative the department tackles.

To that end, Defense officials today announced a contract awarded to Littleton, Mass.-based Viisage to support production of the access cards. The contract has an estimated value of $6 million to $10 million.

Under the deal, the Defense Manpower Data Center will get a Viisage system expected to include fixed-site desktop printers, for the production of secure identification cards throughout the Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS). One of the early hiccups in the CAC system was the fact that it could take between 15 and 30 minutes for a card to be produced. In some high-traffic duty stations that often process new recruits, that time delay caused major headaches.

The center's road map for the future of the program includes expanded use of biometrics and movement toward so-called contactless smart cards, which can be swiped through or waved in front of a reader, rather than requiring users to insert the card and wait.

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance in Princeton Junction, N.J., said the military's access card is already a generation behind the physical security standard, specifically because of its lack of contactless functionality.

"Other agencies will likely move to adopt contactless cards from the outset," Vanderhoof said. "Contactless is better for user convenience and speed."

Other industry insiders have said DOD and other federal agencies are unlikely to select a single provider of biometric security hardware and software. Developing standards in biometric security will be a much-needed step toward widespread adoption of those security-enhancing applications.

"Worldwide, the DOD is a recognized leader in advanced technology identity solutions to secure physical facilities, borders and logical assets," said Bernard Bailey, Viisage president and chief executive officer.

Viisage's identity solutions are assisting the U.S. government, departments of corrections, departments of social services, foreign government agencies and 16 departments of motor vehicles in combating identity theft and fraud.

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