Defense picks Viisage to make smart cards

The Defense Department has chosen Viisage Inc., Littleton, Mass., to supply equipment and services for producing smart IDs as part of the department's Common Access Card program. The deal is worth up to $10 million, the company said.

Under the contract, Viisage will supply 1,700 printers, consumables and services to the Defense Manpower Data Center for printing secure IDs through the agency's Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System.

Ashburn, Va.-based Telos Corp. holds the contract to support the overall CAC infrastructure. The CAC program has approximately 4 million users throughout the Defense Department.

"Selection of this highly secure, counterfeit-resistant solution by the Department of Defense has the potential to significantly improve the Common Access Card credential," said Rep. Tom Davis, (R-Va.), chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform.

Viisage's deal with the Defense Department is the first major offspring of the company's February acquisition of Arlington, Va.-based Trans Digital Technologies Corp. TDT has a long history of supplying ID solutions to government. In 2003, TDT won a five-year contract valued at up to $65 million from State Department for passport production systems.

Bernard Bailey, Viisage president and chief executive officer, said the TDT acquisition and the CAC program win give the company a significant foothold in the government market.

The CAC program uses smart card technology to hold critical identification information about Defense Department personnel and contractors and control access to facilities. The cards also serve as the authentication tokens for the department's public key infrastructure, which controls access to computer systems.

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