Pentagon wants smart cards in play

Defense Department officials are taking steps to make Common
Access Cards the single identity credential for authenticating
federal employees, members of the military and contractors when
they enter federal buildings or other restricted areas.

A request for information about making CACs the main credential
for physical access was announced on the Federal Business
Opportunities Web site.

CACs are now used for visual identification and access to
computer systems. The cards are also used with public-key
infrastructure tools for signing and encrypting e-mail

'The CAC is now moving in a new direction, identified as
the single identity credential for authenticating federal
employees, contractors, military and other CAC-eligible personnel
for physical access control systems,' the RFI states.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency wants to deploy a physical
access control system at the Pentagon that would confirm identities
using a smart card-based system.

DOD officials want input from industry before a potential
contract is announced and asked for information about
companies' experience with testing or installing readers.

They also want to know which card readers on the General
Services Administration's approved list can support existing
smart cards.

Officials also want companies to describe their plans for
developing middleware for card readers so they can identify various
generations of CACs and explain how readers will interpret the data
elements on the cards.

DOD officials plan to develop an alternative smart card for
people who are not eligible to receive a CAC. CACs and alternative
cards must store unique identity data, digital certificates and
biometric information.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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