DHS to screen firms for worker ID card project

The Homeland Security Department is seeking contractors for the fourth phase of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, expected to enroll 850,000 port, dock, transit and other transportation workers, the agency announced yesterday.

The department's Transportation Security Administration wants contractors to submit their qualifications. Those that are deemed qualified will receive the request for proposals for phase IV implementation of TWIC, expected to be released by May 8. Proposals are due June 2, and an award is expected by July 31, TSA said in its pre-solicitation announcement.

The TWIC credentialing program will feature biometrics, public key infrastructure and other IT to improve security for physical and logical access. It also includes a centralized database known as the ID Management System.

"TSA intends to establish a nationwide, fee-based contract for enrollment, help desk, operation and maintenance of the ID Management System and future?enhancements for the TWIC program," the announcement states.

The credential must be secure and interoperable with existing systems. The contractor must be able to verify the identity of each TWIC applicant, complete a background check, issue the credential and quickly revoke privileges to TWIC holders identified as threats. Lost, stolen or compromised cards must be immediately removed from the system, TSA said.

The program was initiated in March 2003. Two prototype technology evaluations were complete as of June 2005, and prototype testing will continue through June 2006.

A prototype phase of TWIC experienced a cost increase and delays. As a result, the department extended the project deadline for the prototype by three months last year. BearingPoint Inc. was the prime contractor for the prototype phase.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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