DHS plans new TWIC rule

The Homeland Security Department will soon propose requirements for readers to be used for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a senior official testified last week.

Rear Adm. James Watson, director of prevention policy for marine safety, security and stewardship for the Coast Guard, told the House Homeland Security Committee Sept. 16 that the notice of proposed rulemaking will be published within days.

The long-awaited rule is the latest sign of gathering momentum on TWIC, which began phased-in enrollments early this year.

All 149 enrollment centers are now open and operating, and the program is on track to enroll 1.2 million workers by April 2009, said Maureen Fanguy, TWIC program manager.

“TWIC is starting to get up and running,” said Jeremy Grant, an analyst at Stanford Group, an investment research company. “It has turned a corner.”

The 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act mandated the TWIC biometric identification cards for port and transportation workers. A 2006 law added more requirements. The final rule on the cards was published in early 2007.

Once enforcement begins, workers will need to display the TWIC for unescorted access to port facilities. That will start Oct. 18 for the Boston region and Oct. 31 for Buffalo, N.Y., with the final enforcement deadline taking effect in April 2009.

For now, DHS will use TWIC without readers. Once the proposed rulemaking is issued, the department will conduct pilot testing of readers in California and New York and then issue the final rule, Watson said.

To date, 492,928 workers have been enrolled in TWIC, which is 41 percent of the total projected for completion by April 2009. 

About the Authors

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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