TSA to begin TWIC prototype testing

The Transportation Security Administration has awarded a $12 million contract to BearingPoint Inc. to conduct the prototype phase of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, program.

A prototype TWIC will be tested in three regions: Camden, N.J., Islip, N.Y., Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.; the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif.; and the 14 major port facilities in Florida. About 150,000 workers are expected to participate at over 40 sites.

TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser said the three regions were chosen for several reasons, in part because they all volunteered to participate, in part because among them all modes of transportation'seaports, airports, rail, pipeline, trucking and mass transit 'are included.

The seven-month prototype evaluation will begin in a few weeks, Kayser said.

The agency has selected a card incorporating an integrated circuit chip as the standard to be evaluated during the pilot program, though other technologies 'optical memory strips, magnetic stripes, 2-D bar codes, linear bar codes and digital photographs 'will be supported to facilitate the use of legacy systems now in place.

As part of the testing program, TSA will be doing name-based background checks on transportation workers in California and the Delaware River Valley who volunteer to participate.

'Florida has a state law that requires certain aspects of this [program], and they will be doing background checks beyond what we're doing,' Kayser said. 'They'll be doing fingerprints.'

BearingPoint of McLean, Va., was one of four prime contractors chosen by TSA for the first, planning, phase of the TWIC program; the other three were Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles, Maximus Inc. of Reston, Va., and EDS Corp. of Plano, Texas.

The second phase, evaluating alternative technologies, was awarded to Maximus, with EDS as a teammate.


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