Northrop Grumman IT gets contract for smart-card work

Northrop Grumman Information Technology won a task order from the General Services Administration to deliver middleware that allows smart cards to communicate with computers and computer applications for the Army's Common Access Card program.

Under the terms of the award, Northrop Grumman IT will provide middleware for signing and encrypting email, cryptologic network logon, client authentication for Web sites and secure data transmission to other applications such as virtual private networks and remote access.

The contract award, announced March 20, is worth $9 million over three years.

A smart card is a computer chip-based identification token that is capable of enabling the identification and authentication process. The Common Access Card is the Department of Defense version that is issued to all active duty, guard and reserve personnel.

The smart-card task order is the fourth Northrop Grumman IT has received. Northrop Grumman IT is a division of Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles.

Work on the CAC program will be performed at Northrop Grumman facility in Reston, Va. The company's team members include Northrop Grumman's primary middleware vendor, ActivCard Corp. of Fremont, Calif.; RSA Security Inc. of Bedford, Mass.; and SSP-Litronic Inc. of Reston.

The Army will be the first organization to use the ActivCard's next-generation middleware, called ActivCard Gold for CAC PKI 3.0, said Steven Humphreys, chairman and chief executive officer of ActivCard. The newest version of the company's smart ID badge software solution will reduce deployment, management and help desk costs, according to company officials.

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