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DHS Draft Memo Directs Agencies to Get a Move on Secure ID Cards

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According to an unreleased draft memo, federal agencies have a little less than two months to “fully implement” secure ID cards, Federal News Radio reports.

Federal News Radio, which obtained a version of the draft memo, says its release by the Department of Homeland Security is likely imminent.

The wider use of smart cards across the government, a mandate under the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, is six years in coming. And, the memo, along with similar ones from the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration, is a “much-needed kickstart,” to such efforts, FNR reports.

According to the memo, by Feb. 25, agencies will have to name a senior official in charge of HSPD-12 implementation.

Other provisions of the memo:

  • All systems in development must be HSPD-12 (i.e. secure ID card) compliant before becoming operational
  • All procurements and acquisitions must also comply with HSPD-12’s guidelines
  • Starting in 2012, existing access systems must be updated to make them secure ID card-compatible

The memo states that of the 5.8 million federal employees, about 4.9 million have completed background checks, a necessary first step in identity and access management. And, the memo suggested, with 4.3 million federal workers already in possession of secure ID cards, there is little reason for federal agencies to further delay using the cards in their operations.

“With the majority of the federal workforce now in possession of the credentials, agencies are in a position to aggressively step up their efforts to use the electronic capabilities of the credentials,” wrote Greg Schaffer, DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications in the memo, according to FNR.

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