HSPD-12 hits a critical stretch

OMB still waiting for agencies that will provide services

The services and cities of HSPD-12

Agency shared-services providers likely will provide four common services so agencies will have interoperable cards that meet the Personal Identification Verification II requirement by Oct. 27:

  • Enrollment

  • Systems infrastructure
  • Card production
  • Card activation and finalization.

The Office of Management and Budget and the HSPD-12 Executive Steering Committee plan to start issuing cards in four cities, which should help the largest 25 agencies meet the HSPD-12 mandate:
  • Baltimore

  • New York City

  • Seattle

  • Washington.
  • At your service: Joe Bond, VA's HSPD-12 program manager, sees many situations where it would make sense for an agency to be a card supplier to other agencies.

    We have millions of employees in thousands of locations, and we need to figure out where the shared infrastructure makes sense.' ' David Temshok, GSA

    Laurie DeWitt

    It's make-or-break time for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

    Over the next three months, the Office of Management and Budget expects a number of pieces to fall into place to help major agencies meet the Oct. 27 deadline of issuing at least one secure, interoperable ID card.

    But a lot still hinges on whether the General Services Administration can finish interoperability testing of products and services, and whether agencies step up to become HSPD-12 shared-services providers of four services common to all agencies, officials said.

    In fact, if GSA and agencies pull it off, OMB expects the largest 25 agencies to achieve the Personal Identity Verification II target'which is just 123 days away.

    'We have figured out what we can reasonably accomplish and we are aggressively moving forward,' said one agency official involved in HSPD-12, who requested anonymity. 'If GSA doesn't finish testing, then we can't move forward at a basic level and there will be a delay.'

    GSA has promised to finish by mid-July and have at least three vendors in each of the 20 categories of products and services.

    At the same time, OMB expects at least one agency, the Agriculture Department, to begin implementing HSPD-12-approved products by August and start to issue cards in October, said an OMB official who requested anonymity. Other agencies also have expressed interest in becoming an SSP, including GSA, the Interior Department's National Business Center and the Government Printing Office.

    OMB as early as June 30 will survey agencies on their desire to be a service provider or a customer, the OMB official said.

    'The survey will help OMB and the Executive Steering Committee better understand the picture and what services could be provided through the SSPs,' said David Temoshok, GSA's director, Identity Policy and Management in the Office of Governmentwide Policy and a member of ESC. 'We have millions of employees in thousands of locations, and we need to figure out where the shared infrastructure makes sense.'

    Temoshok said that shared-services providers likely will offer services in four areas:
    • Enrollment
    • Systems infrastructure
    • Card production
    • Card activation and finalization

    The Executive Steering Committee and GSA have developed a model statement of work for what ordering shared services would look like, Temoshok said.

    'It states the functional requirements in each area,' Temoshok said.

    The steering committee already has identified four sites where a potential shared-services provider could be stood up, said Joe Bond, Veterans Affairs Department HSPD-12 program manager and a member of ESC.

    Bond said Baltimore, New York City, Seattle and Washington have high populations of federal employees that could be served by a common provider. 'We could capture a significant portion of the largest agencies in these cities.'
    'There will be some situations,' Bond said, 'where it will make sense for some agencies to manage their own enrollment and final issuance processes. But if you have 15 agencies in the same building, it doesn't make sense for each one to implement and manage their own system.'

    Big agencies will do OK

    The official added that having the four providers in the cities should take care of the large agencies by the Oct. 27 deadline.

    In fact, OMB will ask agencies to resubmit their HSPD-12 implementation plans this summer, justifying why they would not use a shared-services provider, Bond said.
    The OMB official said guidance on what it takes to resubmit the plans would be forthcoming.
    Bond said many agency officials were supportive of using service providers, but he cautioned that some decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.
    'VA, for instance, is unique as anyone else,' he said. 'We don't want to be forced to a shared-services provider if we believe standing up our own enrollment system makes the most sense.'

    Keith Nelson, the assistant secretary for administration at the Housing and Urban Development Department, said his agency is interested in shared services for its 82 field offices.

    'Rather than buying equipment to set up 82 HUD enrollment stations, we'd prefer to send our employees to local enrollment centers, run by trusted government agencies with a larger federal presence locally,' he said.

    While OMB and the steering committee continue to figure out which agencies will provide shared services, Temoshok said he expects the private sector's role to increase over the next three months as well.

    GSA made it clear at a recent industry day that systems integrators who are prepared to offer managed services should begin applying for admittance to the special item number for HSPD-12 services on Federal Supply Service Schedule 70.

    'We will qualify them and put them on the schedule as soon as possible,' he said.
    The National Institute of Standards and Technology held a demonstration in early June for systems integrators to exhibit their offerings across functional areas.
    Temoshok expects at least six vendors to submit paperwork to be qualified as managed-service providers under the IT schedule.

    Additionally, GSA by mid-July expects to approve at least three products and services in each of the 20 categories in their interoperability lab.
    Temoshok said vendors have been actively signing up and submitting products and services for testing.

    Without these approved products and services, many agencies could be left with unspent money that will have to be sent back to the Treasury.

    Bond said VA has allocated about $28.3 million for HSPD-12. Some of that must be spent in 2006, and some of that can be carried over to next year.
    Another agency has as little as $2 million, with some of the funds eligible to be carried over until next year.

    One solution, according to an agency official, is to treat it like other e-government projects, such as E-Authentication. With E-Authentication, agencies contribute a certain amount of money to a general fund to finance the project, and they receive services based on the amount of money they put in.

    'The official policy has not yet been decided,' the agency official said. 'But right now it is the time of year when people are scrubbing their budgets to figure out what money has not been used and what can be slid over to other programs. All agencies are dealing with this issue.'

    As GSA, OMB and the rest of the agencies scramble to put the HSPD-12 pieces in place, Temoshok said the real work has only just begun. 'It has been unbelievably busy up to this point, and it will only get busier,' he said.

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