DHS falls behind in issuing HSPD-12 ID cards, IG reports

Homeland Security Department has issued less than 6 percent of the Personal Identity Verficiation cards mandated by the White House

The Homeland Security Department is nearly three years behind in getting Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards for its employees and contractors, according to a new report from DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner.

Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12), the White House ordered federal agencies to issue secure federal ID cards by October 2008.

DHS was granted an extension, but now expects to miss its extended deadline of December 2010, Skinner wrote in the Feb. 16 report. The department anticipates it will not complete issuing the cards until September 2011.

As of five months ago, DHS had issued about 15,600 ID cards to its employees and contractors, out of a total of about 275,000 to be issued, according to the report.

The report said DHS' Transportation Security Administration had issued only five cards, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had issued eight cards and  Customs and Border Protection issued nine cards, while DHS headquarters distributed more than 11,800 cards.

Skinner blamed the delays on weak program management, insufficient funding and resources, and a change in implementation strategy midway through the program.

In addition, Skinner said he identified shortcomings with system configuration management, separation of duties, biometric checking, certification and accreditation, account roles and privileges, and card controls.

Problems with the PIV cards appear to be ongoing, Skinner wrote. “Despite the progress made, DHS still faces further delays and significant program and system management challenges in implementing an effective HSPD-12 program.”

“DHS does not have a plan to successfully implement a robust program to increase physical and logical access security within the department. The absence of an HSPD-12 program implementation plan, department-wide deployment strategy, and sufficient resources are hindering progress,” the report said.

The IG made 15 recommendations for change, and DHS officials agreed with the recommendations and said they have begun implementing them.

About the Author

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

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