Forman urges agencies to move on PKI

Forman urges agencies to move on PKI

Mark Forman

Mark Forman, associate director for IT and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, told federal officials today that they should strongly consider public-key infrastructures to augment security for any new IT initiatives.

Forman, who spoke at a PKI conference in Washington, stepped out of the usual OMB role to give IT managers guidance instead of just telling them what is expected of them.

'PKI is integral to all of the president's management agenda,' Forman told the audience of 500. 'Agencies may not have thought too much about how certain projects involve security, but if they don't, they will not get funded. PKI has a bright future and is clearly an enabler.'

Since 1993, many agencies have tested forms of PKI for either their users or their customers, but few have moved to adopt it. The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are perhaps the most advanced in its implementation.

Forman said all 23 of OMB's approved e-gov initiatives include PKI. It will play a critical role, he said, in information sharing across agencies.

'Government workers will be knowledge workers and must have information from multiple agencies to do their jobs,' he said. 'We need evolving platforms that will be open-source, such as Linux platforms.'

Officials from VA, DOD and the Labor Department described their progress with PKI. VA plans to integrate PKI into its core financial system in March or April. DOD has issued more than 74,000 software certificates and plans to give all 3 million service members certificates over the next 18 months.

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