Agencies agree to use GSA identification card services

More than 10 agencies have committed to use the General Services Administration's shared service center for help in meeting a presidential mandate to distribute new high-tech identification cards to employees and contractors.

David Temoshok, director of identity policy and management in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, said Wednesday at a conference hosted by Homeland Defense Journal that GSA has signed memorandums of understanding with the departments of Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development, among others. Temoshok did not provide the complete list of agencies.

The 10 or so agencies on board have from 250,000 to 500,000 employees needing ID cards, he said.

GSA's end-to-end service to assist agencies in complying with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 is being pulled together by BearingPoint under a $104 million five-year contract.

Temoshok also said that GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Jim Williams has talked with the Interior Department about a potential partnership between GSA and the National Business Center for HSPD 12 services. A business center spokeswoman would not comment on the matter. The business center offers a competing ID card shared services option.

A number of small agencies already are signed on with the National Business Center -- many through its human resources line of business initiative. The list includes the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Maritime Commission, the Office of Special Counsel, the Selective Service System, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Maritime Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GSA is working with the Small Agency Council to sign up additional agencies that could save money by using its shared service offerings, Temoshok said.

By Oct. 20, GSA plans to launch ID card enrollment stations in four cities: Atlanta, New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

GSA maintains that any agency signed up for its shared service offering will meet an Oct. 27 deadline to start issuing cards to at least some employees, despite the fact that contract protests have been filed by companies that lost out to BearingPoint. The protests halted work on the shared service center for 11 days.

Temoshok would not comment on the protests.

GSA does not have a break-even point for the number of enrollees necessary to make its shared service model work, Temoshok said. Rather, as the number of enrollees increases, the price per person will decrease.

"I don't think that it is possible for some agencies to … do this on their own on the level that we will offer them," Temoshok said. "If we can continue to increase enrollment to 500,000 or more, we increase the value to our customers. We don't make profit on this. We'll just lower the price [to the agencies]."

W. Curtis Barker, program director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's PIV Office, said the tight schedule for implementation of the presidential directive and a lack of funding still is giving a number of people doubts. This is particularly true since HSPD 12 products are still in the GSA-run testing phase.

"I'm actually amazed at how well departments and agencies have been able to adapt to that," Barker said. "In August 2004, I was a lot more skeptical than I was allowed to sound. People have stepped up and are making this thing happen."

Barker also said the government has to play catch-up in the physical access security area in order to effectively implement HSPD 12 across the agencies. He said that "those of us who worked on the standards were computer types" and that "we were amateurs" in the area of physical security.

Kathy Dillaman, associate director of the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Investigative Services Division, said background investigation requirements in HSPD 12 could necessitate a massive number of new contractor background checks.

"The estimates go from 200,000 new people to millions of new people, and I think this will be a telling year for us to figure out exactly how many new people this requirement will affect," Dillaman said.

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