Highly sought contract will result in issuance of 400,000 IDs at 40+ agencies
By Marisa Torrieri, Contributing Editor
Vendors who make FIPS 201-compliant products have spent the first quarter of 2007 aggressively courting federal agencies while waiting to see who will get a piece of the anticipated $100 million contract as part of the General Services Agency’s Shared Services Provider program.
For months, stakeholders in all corners eagerly anticipated the GSA’s announcement of the award for its SSP program. As we prepared to go to press with this issue of re:ID, the award was finally announced. The consortium of companies led by EDS was selected for the five-year. $66 million deal.
As a bit of background, the PIV cards are the key to Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, which President Bush signed into law in August 2004. HSPD-12 calls for all federal employees to be issued cards based on a technological specification developed by the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST), known as FIPS 201.
GSA’s Shared Services Provider program, which began last August, gives agencies a one-stop-shop for implementing standards-compliant solutions. The SSP program sets up a long-term partnership between the GSA’s chosen contractors and federal agencies to help them with card issuance and management of the program.
Under the SSP competitive contract, agencies in the same geographic locations would be able to share required HSPD-12 implementation services and take advantage of GSA’s oversight and related management services.
The original $104.6 million contract was first awarded to McLain, Virginia.-based BearingPoint, which helped nearly 40 agencies produce their first cards for the October 27, 2006 deadline. Participating agencies included the departments of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Archives and Records Administration, and Commerce. But the contract ended in December – a BearingPoint spokesman says it “expired” so the government could open up the program to multiple bidders.
As the myriad of players in the game busily fine-tuned their technology, each hoped to be selected to help agencies through the next phase of the PIV project. That next phase involves getting background checks up and running, activating card enrollment centers, and putting final methods of production and distribution into place.
And the winner is …
The announcement of the award to EDS was made in late April of this year. Other members of the consortium include:
- Northrop Grumman Corp.,
- ActivIdentity Corp.,
- Data Systems Analysts Inc.,
- Identification Technology Group,
- L-1 Identity Solutions,
- Oberthur Card Systems, and
- Tibco Software Inc.
EDS brings a strong background in major government ID issuance to the table. The company was a key player in the Department of Defense Common Access Card (CAC), a standard ID issued to all military personnel, and was responsible for much of the CAC issuance.
But not all agencies will go for the shared service approach
Many agencies with unique needs or other drivers will certainly implement their own solutions outside of the GSA’s Shared Services Provider program, says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. But, he points out, “the majority of agencies are planning to use the Shared Service Providers. It’s easier for agencies to go through the GSA because they don’t need to build internal infrastructure, they just need to link their internal cardholder database to the Shared Services provider that will produce the cards.”
Companies that were not a part of the contract will still have plenty of opportunities for work with FIPS 201. Though not a part of the GSA award, smart card chip manufacturer Gemalto’s Neville Pattinson, vice president of governmental affairs and standards, says the company is intensely promoting its product line – SafesITe Government Solution, which consists of a comprehensive set of cards and services, all of which are listed on the GSA FIPS 201 Approved Product List.
“We see, over the next couple of years, agencies getting their infrastructure in place,” says Mr. Pattinson.
Mr. Vanderhoof agrees, “there’s plenty of business out there for other vendors.”
Research and evaluate FIPS 201 Approved Products and get the latest info on compliant credentialing systems at FIPS201.com. Click to visit FIPS201.com.