State proposal would make smart IDs a must for contractors

The State Department has proposed a change to its acquisition rules to include new federal regulations for issuing identification cards to contractors.

The proposed rule would add new language to its acquisition regulations to require contractors to use interoperable, smart identification cards to gain access to federal buildings as required by Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12. Contractors who would require access to the agency's information systems also would have to have cards.

The new rule would ensure that the department is in compliance with the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201 requirements that call for agencies to issue Personal Identity Verification cards to contractors with routine physical access to a federally controlled facility and/or to a federally controlled data system.

In January 2006 changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation added the HSPD-12 and FIPS 201 requirements, but left it to agencies to customize their acquisition regulations to include the new rules.

The Office of Management and Budget has required agencies to issue HSPD-12-compliant cards to several million federal employees and contractors by Oct. 27, 2008. As of Sept. 1, State had issued the cards to 2,112 of almost 7,000 contractors it has identified as needing the cards.

Public comments on the proposed rule can be submitted until Jan. 18.

Ben Bain writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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