Rule to put contractors, feds under same scrutiny for HSPD-12

Under a soon-to-be issued rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulations, agencies will have to vet contractors through the same processes they put employees before issuing identification cards.

Judy Spencer, chairwoman of the Federal Identity Credentialing Committee (FICC), said the interim rule with request for comments should be issued in the Federal Register soon. The FAR Council was supposed to have released the rule Oct. 27, in time for the first deadline under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12.

HSPD-12 called for agencies by Oct. 27 to have changed their processes to meet the requirements laid out in Federal Information Processing Standard 201, Personal Identity Verification I.

'This is a security hole that needs to be plugged,' Spencer said today at a forum on HSPD-12 in Washington, sponsored by the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee. 'We should perform the same due diligence for contractor personnel that we do for our own employees.'

The second FAR case (which Spencer was unsure would be a proposed rule or interim rule) would direct agencies to purchase only approved products for HSPD-12. He said the rule should be out before Dec. 30.

Spencer also said the FICC would offer three additional online courses to help agencies implement HSPD-12 by early spring. Through the Office of Personnel Management's USALearn.gov portal, agencies can take a PIV overview course and another on agency PIV roles and responsibilities. The other three courses will include privacy awareness, PIV administrator and appropriate uses of PIV compliant cards. The courses also would be available by CD-ROM and agencies can customize them.

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