DOD begins cross-credentialing pilot

The Defense Department is sponsoring a pilot program to test interoperability of government and private-sector identification credentials.

The Defense Manpower Data Center and six defense contractors participating in the summer-long pilot will use a central DOD broker to authenticate each other's credentials.

The program is an effort of the Defense Cross-credentialing Identification System and the Federated Electronic Government Coalition, a private-sector organization promoting electronic transactions with the government.

The goal is to enable contractors to validate and accept DOD's Common Access Card at company facilities, and for DOD to validate private-sector IDs at military facilities.

'We see this as a big advantage for the department,' said Bill Boggess, chief of the DMDC's access and authentication technology division. Thousands of contractors enter DOD facilities each day using company-issued IDs. 'Right now we have to take their word for it' that the ID is valid.

The pilot uses a federated trust system designed to interfere as little as possible with each party's existing credentialing systems. The program does not specify the type of credentials to be used, but requires the issuer to maintain a secure database that meets DCIS standards.

Software at the participant's entry point provides an interface with a gateway trust broker hosted by DMDC at its western office in Monterey, Calif. When credentials are presented at the entry point, the gateway routes an authentication request to the issuer's database for validation.

'The system allows each party to hold their own data,' Boggess said. There is no central ID database. 'At this level we're talking about Web services to achieve this.'

An option for the system would let a facility gather a fingerprint scan at an entry point for verification with the issuing party's database. Fingerprints are the only biometric identifier being used in the pilot.

Contractors participating in the program are:

  • Anteon International Corp. of Fairfax, Va.

  • BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va.

  • EDS Corp.

  • Lockheed Martin Corp.

  • Northrop Grumman Corp.

  • SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

  • About the Author

    William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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