Wyatt Kash | Editor's Desk: PIV's new deal

Wyatt Kash

It has been a rocky road reaching the Oct. 27 deadline for federal agencies to begin issuing personal identification verification cards to federal workers.

The challenges in meeting the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 deadline over the past two years have been well-chronicled in GCN. What began as a straightforward objective'create a single, reliable identification card to more securely control access to government facilities and IT systems'quickly became mired in debates over credentialing, interoperability and logistics issues.

Not surprisingly, it took 'thousands of engineers working around the clock at a lot of agencies' to meet the deadline, according to Mike Butler, director of the Defense Department's Common Access Card office.

Card-issuing centers introduced the new cards with great fanfare just ahead of the deadline.

But the reality is that the journey is far from over, and the road for agencies still winds steeply uphill.

The apparent simplicity of scanning the new PIV cards belies the monumental work that must be completed.

For a glimpse at the record-keeping issues, and a hint at why a national identity card remains such a challenge, one has only to look at what the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles has been doing to update its document management systems, which GCN reports on this issue.

With the Real ID Act placing new burdens on states to tighten security standards for verifying a driver's identity, the need to build more robust document processing systems has grown enormously. And states, like federal agencies, aren't exactly getting additional funding for the additional demands.

The good news in the case of Virginia is that technology is making it possible to re-engineer antiquated business processes that were already severely strained. As for the federal government, the task of improving the back-office part of HSPD-12 remains far more formidable.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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