GPO mulls offering HSPD-12 services

The Government Printing Office is considering becoming a provider of Personal Identity Verification II cards for small agencies.

By the end of June, GPO is expected to issue a draft solicitation seeking a vendor that will own and operate a PIV II card production facility in the Washington metro area, which can serve as an alternative to having agencies procure and manufacture their own cards.

Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, agencies must begin issuing PIV II cards for new employees and contractors by Oct. 27.

GPO is one of four agencies that are considering becoming shared-services providers. Along with the printing office, the Agriculture Department, the Interior Department's National Business Center and the General Services Administration also are considering whether to provide common services to agencies.

The Office of Management and Budget and the HSPD-12 Executive Steering Committee believe that shared-services providers are the best way for agencies to meet the Oct. 27 goal quickly and cost-effectively, officials have said.

GPO said in an early June presolictation notice that it plans to provide PIV II cards as the primary sponsor of turnkey solutions for small agencies and act as a backup source for other agencies doing their own card production.

Also, GPO said it 'will provide the ancillary support services for HSPD-12, including identification management systems, enrollment and issuance services, and card management services.'

Ben Brink, assistant public printer for security and intelligent documents, said a number of agencies have asked whether GPO would be interested in serving as a repository of sorts for card production.

Because GPO already is producing electronic passports for the State Department, producing PIV cards is a natural next step, Brink said.

'We don't expect to be the sole supplier [of PIV cards] for the government,' he said. But 'we're suited to serving smaller agencies. ... Given that we are ramping up to produce e-passports, this makes sense for GPO as an agency to produce PIV cards as well.'

GPO has designed and will print the new electronic passport that includes a radio frequency identification chip and digital photo. The State Department began issuing the new passports this summer.

The HSPD-12 effort will help save money and resources'and ensure that smaller agencies are not left behind, Brink said.

'We believe we can get significant economies of scale on a purchasing basis by aggregating' the government's buying power, he said.

GPO's notice comes after a handful of agencies, including the Labor Department and the Postal Service, issued solicitations seeking HSPD-12 products and services.

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