DOT, DHS to test ID cards at ports this week

The Transportation and the Homeland Security departments will test the interoperability of different identification cards at three ports this week.

On Thursday, DOT and DHS officials will run an exercise with less than 200 port workers and seafarers at ports in Baltimore, Jacksonville, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., to see how identification cards with different types of tokens work in disparate environments.

Jim Zok, associate administrator for Ship Financial Approvals and Cargo Preference for the Maritime Administration within DOT, said this exercise will not test DHS's Transportation Worker Identification Cards and is not a substitute for those long-awaited cards.

The exercise would test an applet that eventually would go on TWIC's or DOD's Common Access Card.

Zok said this exercise is similar to the Winter Fox event DHS held with first responders in February.

"Each port is in a different state of affairs when it comes to credentials," Zok said today at the Interagency Smart Card Advisory Board meeting in Washington. "The goal is knowing who the mariner is and what attributes describe them."

Ship managers and crewmen will have to use the credential to get into the port and get on and off a ship, Zok added.

Zok said this will be one of several exercises planned to test cards that are complementary to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

Jason Miller is assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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