DOD and IT group craft identity network agreement

A federation that includes many IT companies has signed an agreement with the Defense Department to connect identity systems and establish an interoperable authentication network.

The agreement formalizes the relationship between the Federation for Identity and Cross-Credentialing Systems Inc., or FiXs, and the Defense Manpower Data Center, which have been working together since 2003 to develop a secure means of authenticating employees while protecting their personal information.

"Over the last two years the Department of Defense has worked aggressively on policies, processes, and technologies to substantively raise the bar on force protection," said Mary Dixon, defense manpower deputy director.

"To do this effectively, we must ensure that the person coming through our gates or in our doors has been given access, that we can confirm that person's identity, and when that person's affiliation or trustworthiness changes, you know that in as near real-time as possible," she said.

To accomplish that goal the groups are moving toward federated agreements and solutions that allow members to trust each others' credentials.

The network established by connecting the DOD and FiXs systems verifies an employee's identity by relying on a federated approach whereby each employee's personal information is maintained by his or her employer. The system is based on the model of commercial automated teller machine networks, in which each customer can use his or her bank's card and each bank retains its customers' account information and relationship.

DMDC and all private sector federation members retain their own employees' information for there is no central database. To ensure trust and interoperability, federation members adhere to a common set of operating rules and a uniform trust model.

The founding members are:

  • BearingPoint, Inc.

  • Data Systems Analysts Inc.

  • EDS Corp.

  • Lockheed Martin Corp.

  • NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association

  • Northrop Grumman Corp.

  • Saflink Corp.

  • SRA International Inc.

  • SRP Consulting Group, LLC

  • 3Factor

  • Unlimited New Dimensions LLC

  • Wave Systems Corp.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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