Coast Guard searches for handheld card readers for TWIC

TWIC Hand Held Readers

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The Coast Guard has pushed its implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential forward by publishing a request for information for rugged handheld card readers.

The maritime patrol organization wants to acquire the readers before it begins implementing TWIC later this year at several of its 3,200 facilities and on some of its 10,000 vessels.

The Coast Guard wants a single service provider to deliver a card reader that can handle TWIC’s three-factor authentication. The reader must also be able to withstand adverse sea conditions and environmental factors such as seawater. The contractor would also field test and support the hardware and software.

The TWIC program seeks to issue a biometric-based identification credential for workers at maritime ports of entry. The final rule for TWIC — released in January — doesn’t include a requirement for card readers at the ports.

TWIC has run afoul of multiple delays, the latest of which was announced in April. Although the Transportation Security Administration awarded a $70 million contract to Lockheed Martin to begin installing TWIC enrollment centers, much of the infrastructure needed to handle the cards has yet to be put into place.

Maritime workers also have complained about the cards’ cost — $137 per card including background check.

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