Postal Service to act as PIV I service center under pilot plan

The U.S. Postal Service will use its experience in facilitating passport applications to help agencies meet the requirements for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

Under a pilot program, USPS will provide at least one agency with identity proofing services that comply with Personal Identity Verification I (PIV I) under an interagency agreement. The Postal Service is acting as a service provider, where an agency will pay about $30 per employee.

The Office of Personnel Management is among the agencies considering using USPS services for PIV I.

Agencies had until Oct. 27 to comply with PIV I as outlined in Federal Information Processing Standard 201, which called for them to make sure their processes to issue federal identity cards and register employees met certain standards.

Agencies now have until Oct. 26 to begin implementing PIV II, which calls for interoperable systems and issuing credentials that use these applications.

'The goal is to leverage bigger agencies or go to USPS,' said Eric Stout, an e-government specialist for the Housing and Urban Development Department and member of the Interagency Partnership Working Group that is sponsoring this test program.

'There are 2.8 million civilian federal employees, and 2.4 million live outside the D.C. metro area. What do you do for them? You can't stand up PIV issuance facilities for every field office. This is one idea of how to solve this issue,' Stout said.

Agencies would use as many as 10 USPS facilities around the country to provide these services in major cities such as Atlanta and Boston, said Lolie Kull, co-chairwoman of the working group. Kull gave a presentation about the working group today at a Government Smart Card Interagency Advisory Board meeting in Washington.

The General Services Administration is drafting an interagency agreement detailing the services USPS'or, for that matter, any agency service provider'will furnish, a project implementation plan, a time frame for the pilot and a document explaining the financial requirements, Kull said.

'USPS is charging agencies the same amount that they charge for passports,' Stout said. 'If they are successful in these initial locations, they could expand it up to 1,400 locations. And if PIV I is successful, officials are thinking about providing PIV II services, but that is far in the future.'

Stout added that this kind of partnership could save the government tens of millions of dollars because each agency would not have to set up its own PIV I facility.

Kull said the goal of the working group is to make the FIPS-201 transition easier by sharing costs, best practices and resources. The working group encompasses 25 agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, as well as GSA, OPM and USPS.

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