Air Force taps EDS for smart-card security

Electronic Data Systems Corp. has won a task order to secure computers systems at more than 100 Air Force sites around the world, the company announced May 21.

The Plano, Texas-based company declined to disclose the contract value.

Under the task order, EDS will serve as the Air Force's single provider of the middleware technology and smart-card readers for implementation of the Department of Defense smart-card initiative.

Initially, EDS will supply the middleware and smart-card readers to add a new layer of security for about 50,000 computers. The task order eventually could extend to hundreds of thousands of users as the program is rolled out throughout the Air Force, the company said.

The middleware and smart-card readers provide the interface from the smart card to the computer. Using a smart card, service members verify their identification and use the technology for secure access to computer systems and to digitally encrypt and sign e-mail. The smart cards are also used to allow access to Defense Department facilities.

Under a separate agreement with the Defense Department, EDS began delivering 600,000 smart cards to active duty personnel, reservists and National Guard members in November 2001. The Defense Department left the responsibility for integration and implementation of the cards to each branch of the armed forces.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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