Pentagon to Award Smart Card Contract Soon

Pentagon to Award Smart Card Contract Soon

The Defense Department is expected to award its initial task order for 1.3 million smart cards by the end of this week or early next week, a federal official said at an industry conference Dec. 11.

Mary Dixon, director of the Defense Department's Access Card Office, also told attendees of the "Defending Cyberspace 2000" conference in Washington that the award is for smart cards only.

The order, being placed under the General Services Administration's $1.5 billion contract for smart cards, does not include the readers, scanners, software and other accessories needed to use the cards' information.

Individual service branches and military agencies are expected to make their own purchases of the add-ons, Dixon said. But she added none of the agencies have started to draft their own requests for proposal, let alone issue task orders for the equipment.

Five prime vendors have been selected for the GSA contract: Maximus Inc., KPMG Consulting LLC and Litton PRC Inc., all of McLean, Va.; Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va., and Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas.

Representatives from several of the primes and subcontractors on their teams attended the conference, working at exhibits. They said they have not yet been approached by any military agencies concerning proposals for purchasing peripherals for the smart cards.

Dixon said the department's transition to using smart cards for identification and access represented something of a chicken-and-egg situation. Agencies would not invest in equipment until there were sufficient numbers of smart cards distributed to personnel.

Consequently, Pentagon officials hope the task order will give the agencies incentive to make the change, Dixon said.

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