OMB considering shared-services provider model for HSPD-12

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.'The Office of Management and Budget has asked the Executive Steering Committee for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 to devise a plan for agencies to share the cost of registering employees and printing their smart identification cards.

One alternative the committee is considering is using the concept of shared-services providers, under which some agencies would set up geographically dispersed registration stations where all employees could go, regardless of agency, to register themselves and have their ID cards printed.

The SSP concept would be an alternative to agencies setting up their own registration and printing stations in every office or every city, said Chris Niedermayer, associate CIO for the Agriculture Department, today at the Interagency Resources Management Conference.

'The goal is to avoid 10 separate registration sites,' he said. 'There is a good business argument for doing that, and to leverage investments that are already in place.'

To that end, the ESC surveyed agencies to find out what technology they had and whether it met Federal Information Processing Standard 201-1. Now the committee, in the next few weeks, will ask agencies with at least some systems that come close to meeting the FIPS 201-1 requirements if they want to become SSPs, said Niedermayer.

'We will know what we can leverage and how we will have to fill in the gap,' Niedermayer said. 'We may fill the gap with industry's help. We will have a level of detail that will help us start to answer the final questions as the deadline gets closer.'

The plan is one of three goals of the committee, which is led by OMB and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, and the General Services Administration, said Carol Bales, a senior policy analyst at OMB.

Bales said besides the plan, the committee will:
  • Determine a governmentwide implementation approach to issue HSPD-12 credentials at the lowest possible cost by Oct. 27
  • Establish a mechanism for small agencies to buys services
  • Ensure governmentwide interoperability.

But the plan to promote shared-services providers for registration and card issuance are common things for every agency, while logical and physical security are agency-specific activities, Niedermayer added. That is why ESC is pushing the concept forward.

'Shared services will provide agencies with a variety of options to meet the requirements,' Bales said. 'Agencies will want to go into shared services because of the dramatic cost savings.'

Bales said the details of how the shared-services providers will work still have to be worked out, and a final decision on whether this is the direction has not been finalized. But it should be made by June, she added.

OMB also will issue a survey in the next week or so asking agencies what their registration and identification card requirements are, Bales said.

'We are asking them what their requirements are and whether they could be a provider, or whether they might want managed services,' Bales said. 'We also want to know how many people are in their offices and whether they are in a multitenant building.'

Bales added the survey will help GSA develop the acquisition strategy to buy HSPD-12 approved products and services.

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