GSA amends smart-card specs

GSA amends smart-card specs

By Susan M. Menke
GCN Staff

OCT. 20'The General Services Administration yesterday announced it has modified its smart-card specifications to ensure card and reader interoperability. The original specs were the work of GSA, other agencies and the five Smart Access Common ID prime contractors.

Mickey Femino, head of the Federal Technology Service's Center of Innovative Business Solutions, said an interoperability standard is a first for the smart-card industry. 'When customers buy off the GSA contract, they will have the assurance that the core applications will be interoperable,' he said.

The core requirements for the cards are to secure physical and logical access, provide biometric user authentication, and encrypt via digital signature, public-key infrastructure or other methods. Femino said the task orders will be competed among the five primes to keep cost low.

The prime contractors are Electronic Data Systems Corp., Litton PRC Inc., Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va., KPMG LLP of New York and 3-G International Inc. of Springfield, Va. The program's estimated value is more than $1 billion, but acceptance so far has been slow except in the Defense Department [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no28/news/2978-1.html].

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will test the different vendors' cards and readers together. GSA also will establish a Government Smart Card Interagency Advisory Board to consider more spec changes over the contract's 10-year life.

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