The new door openers

Defense Department officials used HSPD-12 smart cards in 10 trial runs to test their feasibility for providing improved building access security.

About a year ago, Bob Gilson stood before 55 people at a military base that authorities wanted to use for testing identity cards that would conform to a new governmentwide standard. The cards would be replacing those created specifically for the Defense Department with ones authorized by President Bush in an August 2004 order known as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12.Gilson, a program analyst at the Defense Manpower Data Center, which administers DOD’s Common Access Card program, was expecting some pushback so he chose his words carefully. “It was a matter of getting all those people to hear the same message and understand it and agree on it,” he said. The HSPD-12 program eventually will supersede the CAC program. “We had to get them to agree to work together and work with us.”  Similar meetings are occurring frequently now across federal agencies. Their purpose is to solicit the cooperation of everyone who has a role in the HSPD-12 program: facilities managers, human resources officials, chief information officers and others. Each has different responsibilities, but they all must reach agreement on technical and compliance issues such as firewalls and building access privileges, he said. Their decisions will necessitate spending money and require agencies to alter the way they secure their buildings and their information systems and networks.  By October 2008, agencies must begin using security protocols that conform to HSPD-12 standards. DOD’s experiences during a yearlong trial run at 10 sites nationwide suggest the kinds of glitches and eureka moments other agencies most likely will experience in the coming months. Agencies must translate those lessons into procedures that offer greater security than current protocols for accessing federal buildings and federally owned computer networks and information systems. HSPD-12 cards are meant to be much more than expensive flash passes. DOD is among the most experienced organizations at using smart cards for verifying identity. But DOD officials said they encountered a variety of challenges in their HSPD-12 trial run. “We wanted to make sure all the pieces worked and that nothing else broke at the same time,” Gilson said.Officials discovered mostly technical issues. For example, at some locations, technical managers had to upgrade the software that enables card readers to communicate with the public-key infrastructures that form the backbone of HSPD-12 security.Technicians also had to update software drivers in some card readers before the devices could read HSPD-12 cards. For the sites involved in the trial run, DOD used 1,000 HSPD-12 smart cards. The HSPD-12 standard calls for machine-readable cards that can be read by merely waving the card near a card reader or inserting the card in a reader. Every location was different, Gilson said. “Some sites required gates, and others doors. Some were just inside doors, and some required more than single-factor authentication.” Another complication arose when the Defense Information Systems Agency issued a mandate for DOD agencies to adopt single sign-on procedures based on PKI standards and HSPD-12 identity cards.Those familiar with DOD’s HSPD-12 reality check said the results were reassuring. “The DOD pilot was very good,” said Roger Roehr, Tyco Fire’s government vertical manager. “You had older cards that you have to account for,” he said, but DOD was able to deal with that legacy and adapt to the new governmentwide standard.Roehr said the State Department faces challenges similar to those DOD was able to resolve. Many of State’s building access systems are based on proprietary technology, which will make it them difficult to integrate with the new HSPD-12 infrastructure.“We now are in a three- to four-year period where we will have to build systems that can read the old and the new cards,” Roehr said. “The biggest challenge is the back-end data-sharing,” for which no standard exists.Roehr is a member of a group representing the Security Industry Alliance (SIA), Open Security Exchange and Smart Card Alliance that now works as a partner with the federal Interagency Security Council on developing guidelines for building access control standards. The group will submit best practices and recommendations to the Interagency Security Council by July 24, when the groups will meet to discuss standards. Mark Visbal, SIA’s director of research and technology, said DOD found that as many as 85 percent of the physical-access control systems at military bases could not be retrofitted for the HSPD-12 cards because the new cards hold more data than the old systems can process. When DOD encountered that problem, Gilson said, the bases had to replace older readers and access control panels with new ones.There are a lot of challenges to integrating the new identity cards with building-access control systems, Visbal said, not the least of which is compliance with mandatory Federal Information Security Management Act standards. Another challenge is preparing employees to expect that it will take longer to open a door when they use their HSDP-12 cards in federal buildings. Visbal said he has seen employees become frustrated because the HSPD-12 cards can take as long as four seconds to unlock a door instead of the typical 500 milliseconds that workers are used to.The challenges reported by DOD have prompted the Office of Management and Budget, which is overseeing the HSPD-12 program, to pause and consider what the next steps should be in implementing the governmentwide program.“OMB will provide further guidance as required,” an OMB spokeswoman said. She added that OMB and the HSPD-12 Executive Steering Committee are working with the Interagency Security Council on developing strategies for agencies to use in modifying their physical-access control systems to accommodate the HSPD-12 cards. Gilson said guidance and best practices will help, but DOD’s experience taught him that nothing is more essential to the HSPD-12 program’s success than good coordination between building security managers and officials responsible for network and information systems security. “We are in a better place because of this pilot,” Gilson said. “We now know that several vendors can do this and that a single credential can cover logical- and physical-access needs.”

Interagency Smart Card Advisory Board’s PACS guide Version 2.2 (.pdf)

Agencies are heading into the final stretch for implementing programs to comply with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. As they face the complex challenges involved in putting their secure smart cards into action, they are also hearing from employee unions about privacy concerns. And program managers are bracing for a backlash when people discover that it could take as long as four seconds to open a door with an HSPD-12 card. In the following pages, Federal Computer Week looks at these issues.









Lessons learned































Agriculture manages a supersized HSPD-12 programWith more than 150,000 employees and contractors working in more than 10,000 buildings nationwide, the Agriculture Department must have a large-scale plan for complying with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, the governmentwide secure identity card program that covers federal employees and contractors.

USDA has been developing secure access controls, including capabilities known as single sign-on, for its computer applications. However, those access controls are completely separate from those that control building access. That situation exists at most federal agencies.

“We have one stovepipe to log-on for e-authentication, but we want to integrate that with e-mail, our virtual private networks and other pieces of our infrastructure,” said Owen Unangst, senior information technology project manager for enterprise systems at USDA.

Unangst said that will require bringing a variety of people together — facilities managers, chief information officers and human resources directors — to tackle the integration challenges.

USDA plans to partially address the challenges by establishing two identity management systems, one for employees and another for contractors and state and university partners. The employee database will be integrated with USDA’s PeopleSoft human resources information systems.

Mike DeFrancisco, USDA’s deputy chief of physical security services, said the office will begin integrating the identity management systems with USDA’s physical access control systems in December. The integration at all USDA facilities should be complete by 2011, he said.
Field offices will connect to the system through the Web, DeFranciso said. “We will have one authoritative database.”
— Jason Miller
Defense Department tests contactless HSPD-12 cardsThe Defense Department chose 10 sites for a test of contactless smart cards to improve building access security. The sites were:
  • Gunter Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala.
  • Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio
  • Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas
  • Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.
  • Marine Corps Systems Command-Quantico, Quantico, Va.
  • White Sands Missile Range, Alamogordo, N.M.
  • Defense Technology Security Administration, Arlington, Va.
  • Defense Information Systems Agency, Arlington, Va.
  • Defense Manpower Data Center — Access Card Office, Arlington, Va.
  • Defense Manpower Data Center-Beauregard, Alexandria, Va.
— Jason Miller
X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.