GSA official: Standardize federal ID cards

GSA official: Standardize federal ID cards

Agencies must reach agreement on a standard type of government card before they turn to smart cards and biometric technologies to improve security at federal buildings, a General Services Administration official said yesterday.

Joseph Moravec, commissioner of GSA's Public Buildings Service, told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy that the time is right for the federal government to take the lead in smart card use. But before that can happen, agencies need to adopt a single identification card.

'There are 100 different agencies with 100 different ID cards,' Moravec said. 'The federal government is not a monolithic entity, and there are various responses to security cards. We need to get together and decide on one national government card.'

Moravec said the administration, or an agency such as GSA or the Office of Personnel Management, should set standards for using smart card technology within the government. Although he did not recommend the cards for access to all federal buildings, he said the use of security cards is a relatively unobtrusive way of monitoring and controlling access and would be a boon to agencies.

'There is no plan to name a specific technology,' he said. 'That is not our way to impose a prescriptive way of doing something. Every building is looked at on a case-by-case basis for security.'

At the hearing, Keith Rhodes, chief technologist of the General Accounting Office, said technology is helpful but cannot stand alone. 'Risk management is key,' he said. 'Agencies need to look at protection, detection and reaction. If security is not thought out well, no technology will help.'

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