Only 3 percent of feds, contractors have received new ID cards

Federal agencies still have a long way to go to meet the Bush administration's 2008 deadline for issuing new credentials.

The Office of Management and Budget released a report on Thursday indicating that 97 percent of employees and contractors have yet to receive their new identification badges, placing the federal government far behind the ability to meet a deadline to have the new high-tech ID cards in the hands of all employees by October, the Bush administration reported.

President Bush called for the new cards when he issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 in 2004, requiring a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors. Employees will use the cards, which include biometrics and other high-tech features, to access federal buildings and to log on to government computers.

OMB set a deadline of Oct. 27, 2007, for agencies to have completed background checks of employees and contractors who had worked for less than 15 years for the federal government, but most missed that deadline. They are now working hard to meet the Oct. 27, 2008, deadline to replace the flash badges for all employees and contractors.

Agencies had blamed technical challenges to issuing the cards. For example, agencies had to develop solutions for integrating the IDs with support systems that maintain the data and provide an interface with enrollment and issuance functions. But OMB said that agencies no longer can say technical challenges are preventing them from issuing the new cards. "Agencies can't use those excuses anymore," said Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology at OMB, the top IT position in the administration.

In total, agencies must conduct background checks and issue new IDs to 4.3 million employees and 1.2 million contractors. So far, 59 percent of employees and 42 percent of contractors have completed the background checks, OMB reported, and 143,260 employees and 36,102 contractors have been issued cards.

These numbers are in sharp contrast to those reported in October 2007, when OMB reported that a total of 1.9 million federal employees and 591,358 contractors required credentials, and 97 percent of federal employees and 79 percent of contractors had completed the required background checks.

OMB attributed the increase to poor data on the number of government workers. "From my understanding, we originally had more issues with data quality," an OMB spokeswoman said. "We have better and more complete data now than we had previously."

In a report released in February 2008, the Government Accountability Office faulted OMB for moving too slowly in following the HSPD-12 directive. OMB had emphasized issuing cards, rather than focusing on implementing the full capabilities of the cards, and had not provided guidance to agencies on how to manage the substantial investment needed for implementation, GAO concluded.

"We're highlighting [to agencies] that here are the milestones, [and] here's what you said you are going to accomplish. You're not quite going to make it there at your current rate," Evans said. "We're working through that on a case-by-case basis. [Before] we knew we had technical shortcomings. . . . But those issues have all been addressed, so they can't use those excuses anymore."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.