GSA sets up Office of Smart Card Initiatives

The General Services Administration will create a smart card office to
promote the technology and a test center where agencies can evaluate and develop
applications.


The Office of Smart Card Initiatives will spearhead the use of smart card technology
governmentwide, GSA Administrator David J. Barram said in a June memo to GSA managers and
department heads.


Jackie Robinson, Barram’s special assistant, will run the smart card office.


“The administration has decided to create a virtual team of various GSA
people,” said Michael Noll, co-director of GSA’s smart card initiatives team.


One of the team’s goals is to set standards for governmentwide administrative and
financial smart card applications. The team first will create a common access card for
applications such as entering buildings and logging on to networks, Noll said. The office
will then promote agency pilots of the applications.


“Our vision is that eventually every federal employee will carry one smart card
that can be used for multiple purposes such as identification, building access, network
access, property accountability, travel, small purchases and other administrative and
financial functions by the year 2001,” according to the GSA smart card conceptual
plan.


The office has four immediate objectives:


GSA next month will open the Smart Card Technology Center at the agency’s
headquarters. The center will showcase smart card applications. The Navy will provide
systems because the service has been using smart cards extensively.


Although smart card use has not become as widespread as many analysts had expected,
Noll said the technology still could take off. “I think we’ve seen some
breakthroughs,” he said.


The GSA office will also complete a request for proposals this year for common access
cards, the creation of a standards package and the management of some pilot programs, Noll
said. 

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