Agencies claim readiness on HSPD-12

Can Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 be one of those mandates that the government actually meets?

HSPD-12 requires agencies to start issuing highly standards-conforming smart ID cards to federal employees and on-site contractor employees by Oct. 27.

'We will be operational October 27,' said Joe Broghamer, the lead for authentication technologies at the Homeland Security Department. Speaking today at a Washington breakfast conference, Broghamer added that DHS has acquired six wheeled employee enrollment systems and 10,000 blank cards to be used for some 5,500 Washington region employees. The cards conform to current NIST 201-1 and FIPS 140-2 specifications, he said.

'This is not just PowerPoint,' he added, in contrast to programs that are more slide show presentations than reality.

The cards will require two visits per employee, once for enrollment and once for issuance. In between, employee information will be subject to FBI background checks. Once issued, the cards will admit their owners access to DHS computer networks as well as to buildings, Broghamer said.

He stressed that in addition to improving security, HSPD-12 implementations should also add functionality'in this case, combining logical and physical access in a single card.

Eric Stout of the HSPD-12 team at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told the Novell-sponsored gathering that 35 agencies have adopted HUD-generated implementation documents.

Referring to the 61 so-called 'micro agencies''those with a few hundred or fewer employees'Stout said, 'They have to do this, and they don't have a Joe Broghamer.' Such agencies need to collaborate and borrow best practices from the big agencies with technical expertise and contracts.

He called this the 'beg, borrow and steal' approach, adding, 'I'd rather do that than pay a fancy contractor hundreds of millions of dollars.'

Stout recommended that such agencies use existing providers, such as the Interior Department's National Business Center or enrollment stations established by the Agriculture Department. Stout noted that the requirements of HSPD-12 cover a lot of geography because federal employees are found in some 9,000 cities and towns.

John Sindelar, acting associate administrator at the General Services Administration, said GSA had certified 49 HSPD-12 products and 16 contractors to issue cards, plus four enrollment stations.

'This can be done,' Sindelar said. He said HSPD-12 cannot be considered an unfunded mandate because the government has been routinely buying non-standard ID systems for years.


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