Agencies expand smart-card programs

Federal agencies are investing in "smart cards" at an increasing rate, and millions are expected to be distributed to employees in the next three years.

As of June 2004, 15 agencies had undertaken 34 ongoing smart card projects, according to testimony this week before the House Veterans Affairs Committee by Linda Koontz, director of information management issues at the Government Accountability Office. Nine large-scale agencywide projects are expected to be completed by September 2007. Six major efforts are already up and running.

Credit card-sized smart cards are used to allow access to buildings and computer systems by including information that authenticates the identity of the cardholder through photos, fingerprints or other means.

The Defense Department's program, which eventually will include 3.46 million users, is rolling out gradually, according to Koontz's testimony (GAO-04-948). Currently, 2.75 million cards are in use at Defense units.

The Army has launched a new smart card program known as EagleCash, to provide 15,000 cards for personnel at overseas bases to use in making purchases at military facilities. The idea is to reduce the service's vulnerability to counterfeiting by cutting down on the use of cash at bases.

Smart card projects still in the planning stages include a six-million-card project at the Homeland Security Department's Transportation Security Administration for a program that will provide access to secure areas in transportation facilities. Another DHS pilot program will distribute 250,000 cards to employees and contractors for identification and credentialing. The cards will use biometric technology such as an iris scan or fingerprint.

Smaller projects to provide access to computer systems, such a 50,000-card FBI project and a 3,100-card project at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are under way, with cards already in distribution.

The General Services Administration has followed a previous GAO recommendation to update its smart card administrative guidance to address security standards, the report said. But other recommendations, including developing an implementation strategy and an evaluation system as well as sharing the lessons learned about smart cards across the federal government, have not been completed, GAO found.

GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath said the agency has action plans for following through on the recommendations.

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

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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