IG: GSA could fall short on HSPD-12

The General Services Administration, which is helping dozens of agencies meet an Oct. 27 deadline for issuing identification cards to employees and contractors, is likely to miss the mark itself, according to an Aug. 13 audit by GSA’s inspector general.

GSA, which had issued only 71 cards by March 1, estimates it will produce 61,280 of the 67,000 cards required to meet the deadline the Office of Management and Budget set, the audit states.

More importantly, GSA is a service provider for 42 agencies, representing about 420,000 credentials to be issued by next month, according to the audit.

“Given these statistics, it is unlikely that GSA will be able to meet OMB’s Oct. 27, 2007, deadline,” the IG concludes.

GSA has had problems getting card production up and running, the IG found. The agency awarded a contract to BearingPoint in August 2006 but opted out of the deal in November 2006 and awarded a contract to EDS in April.

GSA also lacks a central database for capturing information on contractors the agency employs. GSA officials must dig through five sources of contractor data, each of which has different populations and data formats.

As part of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, OMB said agencies should complete a background investigation and issue a personal identity verification (PIV) card to all contractors and agency employees with 15 years or less of federal service by Oct. 27. One year later, employees with more than 15 years of service must have a background check and the standard PIV II card.

The Office of Personnel Management must conduct the background checks for GSA employees and contractors. Because all agencies go through the same process, OPM will probably have a backlog, the audit states.

The audit recommends that GSA develop a detailed plan on how it will implement HSPD-12 in its entirety. The agency should also create a centralized contractor database and expedite the background checks.

Responding to the audit July 31, Casey Coleman, GSA’s chief information officer, wrote that the agency intends to finish a draft plan on how it will issue credentials once the managed services office finalizes its plans. She expects that by Sept. 4.

In addition, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the HSPD-12 program office are gathering information about current contractors, while GSA establishes requirements for a contractor management and credentialing administration system, Coleman said.

“GSA is currently on track to implement the investigation and credentialing requirements of HSPD-12 by the OMB milestone,” she wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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