300 TSA ID card enrollment centers ready to go
- By Mark Rockwell
- Oct 04, 2013
Truck drivers and other transportation workers need the TSA's worker ID card. (Stock image)
Hundreds of offices around the country that enroll workers in a Transportation Security Administration's worker ID card program are up and running with new capabilities expected to be the foundation for a unified platform supporting other TSA identification efforts.
The contractor for Universal Enrollment Services (UES) for TSA's Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), said it had transitioned the last 147 of 300 TSA enrollment centers across the country to the new system.
TWIC cards are issued by TSA to transportation workers, such as port employees and truckers, who have access to potentially sensitive infrastructure, to ensure they don't pose a security threat. The Coast Guard also provides oversight of TWIC's management.
The upgraded enrollment centers, said Eric Juttelstad, vice president of business development at MorphoTrust, the UES contractor, capture photographs and fingerprints that are embedded in the TWIC cards. The centers also record basic biographical data such as names and addresses. The cards are presented at transportation hubs like port entrances and other locations for clearance.
MorphoTrust took over the enrollment contract from Lockheed Martin in 2012. The transition from the legacy system, said Juttelstad, began last April, with the company adding new hardware and software, as well as staff training and improved call center support.
The switch is a step towards TSA's integrated enrollment platform that will incorporate its other secure transportation programs, including its Pre Check security pre-approval program for air travelers and its Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program's Hazardous Materials Endorsement for commercial drivers. TSA is utilizing some of the HTAP enrollment centers for TWIC enrollment as well.
UES will provide the foundation for further expansion of enrollment sites for the Pre Check and HTAP programs, Juttelstad said.
Under the UES, enrollment centers can accept information for Pre Check, HTAP or TWIC. The three enrollment systems had been separate with no way to cut across the silos.
Steve Sadler, TSA's assistant administrator for intelligence and analysis, told the House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Subcommittee in June that combining the HME/TWIC enrollment center capabilities under the agency's "One Visit" initiative would allow people to apply for a TWIC or HME at the same location, shortening travel distances. Added call centers, he said, have also reduced wait times.
MorphoTrust said it has enrolled 1.5 million drivers in the HTAPs and expects to finish the HTAP transition to UES later this year, providing applicant services via the Internet, by telephone and in person at enrollment centers located in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories.
TSA officials have said the agency plans to expand the Pre Check program in the coming months. In July it said that by late 2013 any U.S. citizen will be able to apply online and visit specified enrollment sites to provide identification and fingerprints for TSA's Pre Check program. Juttelstad said UES Pre Check trials are set for the beginning of November at Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport.
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell.
Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.