GSA smartens up

The General Services Administration will issue more than 18,000 smart cards to its employees and contractors in an effort to improve security at its facilities nationwide. The initiative, announced last week, is part of a five-year, $1.3 million contract.

"The security of public visitors, federal workers and federal property is a top priority for the entire federal government," GSA Administrator Stephen Perry said in a statement. "Improved security through increased control of access to federal buildings is just the beginning of what these smart cards can do."

The new GSA smart cards are interoperable with cards issued by other federal agencies, according to GSA officials.

Bearing Point Inc. will provide the cards and Oberthur Card Systems will serve as the centralized processing center that manages day-to-day use of the cards. GSA officials awarded the contract last fall and it ends August 2008.

In a later phase of the program, GSA officials will offer smart cards to tenants in GSA-owned buildings, officials said.

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