The Defense Department, the General Services Administration and NASA are playing tough in an effort to ensure that special access cards used by government contractors are returned after a contract’s terms are over.
Until all the microchip-embedded cards are returned, the new rules, published in the Federal Register last week, allow federal agencies to withhold payments to contractors.
The rules amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to provide “additional regulatory coverage” for DoD, GSA and NASA to collect government-issued ID cards from contractors once they are no longer needed to support a contract.
Government IDs, such as Personal Identity Verification cards, often provide access to federal facilities.
The rule cites a 2008 Government Accountability Office review, which found that special DoD IDs, known as Common Access Cards, were not “adequately accounted for” after contract work was completed.
So, what will happen when a contractor loses an identity card and can’t return it, as one commenter wanted to know?
The rule says each agency will be tasked with creating a lost-card policy, with contractors even bearing the cost of a replacement, if an agency so decides.
DoD, GSA and NASA also recommend long-unused cards become inactive.
Another commenter said contractor companies are often not involved when an individual employee is issued an ID and including the companies would improve the return rate.
The rule, which Washington Business Journal characterized as an “attempt lock down security of federal facilities and computer networks,” takes effect later this month.