DOD prepares for credentialing pilot

The Defense Department is preparing for a pilot of an identity management system that will allow authentication of credentials across multiple agencies and vendors.

A handful of companies have partnered with the Defense Manpower Data Center to test the Defense Cross-Credentialing Identity System. DCIS would be a federated authentication system, which means each issuing authority would maintain its own database of credentials.

The Defense Department hopes the system will eliminate the need to issue Common Access Cards to DOD contractors, said Robert Brandewie, deputy director of the Defense Manpower Data Center. DOD and its vendor partners discussed the project today at the E-Gov Homeland Security Conference in Washington.

Five companies?Anteon Corp. of Fairfax, Va., BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., EDS Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and SRA International Inc. of Arlington, Va.?signed memorandums of understanding with DOD in September to take part in the pilot. They will establish a common trust model and technical architecture that will interoperate with DOD systems.

DOD initially will run the switch for routing credential data to the proper databases for authentication.

The National Automated Clearinghouse Association, a banking trade group, is helping develop operating rules for the credentialing system. The model will be the electronic benefits transfer system used by 38 states and the District of Columbia to provide government benefits over the Automated Clearinghouse Network, said Helena Sims, NACHA's senior director for public-private partnerships.

DCIS cards will contain smart chips and proximity antennas for physical access, a photo and a fingerprint biometric, said Ralph Billeri, DCIS program manager for BearingPoint.

In the initial phase, the cards will be used only for physical access at participating DOD and commercial facilities.

The plan calls for installing hardware for issuing the cards next month and to issue cards in February. The pilot will run through June.

Billeri said that BearingPoint plans to expand the program enterprisewide.

William Jackson writes for Government Computer News magazine.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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