Schedule will offer PKI services

The Federal ID Credentialing Committee is qualifying public-key infrastructure providers that it will invite to bid on new General Services Administration schedule contracts.

The contracts will offer PKI services under the Federal Common Policy Framework, which is supposed to establish an interoperable, governmentwide PKI infrastructure replacing separate agency systems. It would let agencies authenticate digital certificates issued by other entities for identification and access control.

The Office of Management and Budget has directed that, beginning in October 2005, agencies using PKI services must obtain them from vendors with contracts under the Common Policy Framework.

The committee announced it expects to have the first round of qualified vendors listed by Jan. 30, 2005. Vendors interested in being prequalified in the first round must submit information to GSA by April 15. An industry meeting to answer questions is set for March 11 at GSA in Washington.

The credentialing committee first will verify that a vendor's certificates meet the framework's X.509 policy. Approved vendors then must demonstrate their certificates on smart cards meeting the government's smart card interoperability standards.

Qualified vendors can submit proposals to GSA's Federal Supply Service for newly created Special Item Numbers on the Group 70 Schedule. GSA will periodically reopen the list to qualify additional vendors.

Proposals should arrive by April 15 at GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, 1800 F St., N.W., Room 4006, Washington, DC 20405. Vendors can register for the March 11 industry meeting and get more information at the credentialing committee site.


About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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