TSA taps firms TWIC competition

The Transportation Security Administration today announced that it has selected eight vendors to compete for the job of providing enrollment and help desk services under the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, a job that could lead to an estimated $1.2 billion in payments from card recipients.

The agency announced in a notice posted today on FedBizOpps.gov that the eight companies are BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va.; Computer Sciences Corp.; EDS Corp.; IBM Corp.; Integrated Biometric Technology; Lockheed Martin Inc.; Maximus Inc. of Reston, Va.; and Motorola Inc.

The TWIC program has faced a delay in one of its most important elements, the rollout of devices that can read the biometric information embedded in the credentials.

Harsh environmental conditions at port facilities, including moisture and dirt, could damage the readers and the cards, according to comments filed with TSA, an agency of the Homeland Security Department, in response to a draft rulemaking notice.

TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser said, 'As we will be rolling out the TWIC cards to over 700,000 workers, we will be working with facility owners and operators so we can get the reader technology and access control completed.'

Kayser said TSA has already completed checking the names of about 400,000 longshoremen, truckers, and other port and transportation workers against terrorist databases.

The agency plans to issue a final rule that will describe the biometric features of the TWIC cards, he added. TSA has been relying mainly on 10-digit fingerprint images in the pilots it has conducted so far.

TSA issued requests for proposals to the eight companies on Sept 1. According to the notice, the companies' proposals are due Oct. 2.

The companies will compete to provide enrollment and help desk services to the workers who receive the credentials. Those employees, in turn, will reimburse the vendors for their cards.

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