DEFENSE IT

DOD asset-tracking tool wins Kantara award for innovative ID management

SPOT provides single source of data for DOD, State and USAID

A Defense Departmet asset-tracking tool has won the Kantara Initiative's Identity Deployment of the Year award for its innovative use of Web-based technology.

DOD developed the Synchronized Pre-Deployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) system under a 2005 congressional mandate to better track and manage contractors and assets being deployed abroad with U.S. forces.

“We wanted better contract visibility to allow contacting officers, planners and commanders to see what is available now, down to the job skill level of the people, and how it can be leveraged for greater economy,” said Lt. Col. Richard Faulkner, SPOT program manager.

SPOT went operational in 2007, and has since been serving the State Department and USAID for identifying contract assets abroad.

SPOT is a Web-based enterprise networking solution for precise tracking and management of overseas assets. It was developed and launched by a collaboration between DOD and the Federation for Identity and Cross-Credentialing Systems Inc. (FiXs). It recognizes identity credentials issued by various government entities, as well as compatible certified identity credentials issued by the private sector.

In the past, there was no single source with the ability to track all contractors deployed with troops. SPOT provides a single, integrated database that can be used by DOD, State and USAID to gain visibility into available contractor resources. It also supports and tracks identity-based transactions between the U.S. government, foreign coalition governments, and supporting contractors and suppliers by gathering ID card data at the point of service for transportation and dining, so that activities can be compared with contractual permissions for auding.

SPOT provides visibility into 3,783 active contracts and contingency contracts with 10,439 companies and currently supporting more than 12,650 end users.

“Winners of the 2009 award reflect the evolving identity landscape, where applications are leveraging a wide range of protocols and collaboration is key to moving the global identity industry forward,” said Brett McDowell, executive director of the Kantara Initiative, an umbrella organization formed this year to address interoperability issues in identity management products and schemes.

A lack of interoperability between the schemes has become a stumbling block with the rapid adoption of online applications and tools such as cloud computing, Web 2.0 applications and social networking sites, and the initiative provides a venue for cooperation in developing interoperable technologies and practices to help enable identity-based applications and interactive services.

SPOT is the only government program to win an award. Other winners of awards this year include Google and Plaxo for their collaborative work in the development of a “hybrid onboarding” solution to increase the success rate of users registering with a social network, and Signicat for an online hosted identity provider offered as a managed service to private and public sector enterprises in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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