Navy awards authentication contract

Navy officials chose I/O Software Inc. for authentication at the Pax Naval Air Station Complex, in a contract valued at less than $5 million.

The Navy will use I/O Software's SecureSuite XS strong authentication platform to secure computers and network resources within the complex. SecureSuite will allow the Navy to require workers to authenticate with fingerprints, iris scans, smart cards or other secure means in order to access these classified systems.

Authentication credentials may include fingerprints stored on the SecureSuite server, on a workstation or smart card, or a combination of these. Additionally, verification of credentials can occur either centrally on the server or on the smart card using match on card technology.

Biometric authentication is a trend spreading across federal agencies. Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs expect to issue up to half a million smart cards in the next five years, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Between December 2004 and December 2008, officials at five agencies — NASA, the Defense Department, the Homeland Security Department, the Interior Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs — plan to make a combined purchase of up to 40 million cards through a General Services Administration contract.

One of the largest agencywide efforts is DHS' identification and credentialing project. Officials plan to issue 250,000 cards to employees and contractors as part of a three-factor authentication system.

The Navy will use fingerprints initially, adding smart cards in the future, if needed. The deployment size is expected to grow to hundreds of workstations.

The Navy chose SecureSuite XS based on evaluations by DOD's Biometrics Fusion Center and on-site evaluations.

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