27 October, 2008
It’s deadline day. More than four years ago HSPD-12 mandated that government agencies issue secure credentials to government employees on Oct. 27, 2008. While all government employees will not have the credentials by the end of business progress has been made, says Mike Butler, program manager for the managed service office at the General Services Administration, though he is hesitant to estimate how many credentials will be out there. “Not everybody will be done, but everybody did get the message and they are working on it, the numbers will show that,” he says. “I know they’re out there because when I get on the Metro you can see the cards hanging on people’s necks.”
The GSA, which is handling credentials for 70 agencies, is supposed to issue around 800,000 credentials. All told, including the U.S. Department of Defense that has till 2011 to issue the new IDs, 4 million total credentials are expected to be issued to all federal employees. As of late September the GSA had activated 96,489 credentials and enrolled 287,512 government employees.
Even though the number of credentials activated might not be where some want it, Butler says the move forward is significant. “This is a huge project and to get a working credential into the hands of government employees is no small thing,” he says. “It may not be pretty but it’s getting done.”
As of early October the GSA was focused on activating credentials more than enrolling employees because it was the activation numbers that the White House Office of Management and Budget, the agency overseeing the program, would be looking at, Butler says. “We’re enrolling around 2,000 people a day,” he says.
Butler says there are many agency success stories when it comes to issuing the credentials. The United States Department of Agriculture has activated 16,338 credentials and is getting its employees new laptops so the cards can be used for logical access, Butler says. The agency is also using the card for physical access control in some of its buildings, too.
The U.S. Treasury Department is another that has stepped up, Butler says. The agency has sponsored more than 88,000 employees and activated more than 23,000 credentials. The U.S. Department of Energy has made strides, enrolling more than 42,700 and activating 22,644.
The progress of credentialing has picked up tremendously this summer, but the systems still have problems, including vendor issues. “I wish the vendor community had their act more together than they do,” Butler says, adding that the government remains the quality control medium to impact vendor performance.
Regarding ID editor Zack Martin spoke with Butler last week at the Smart Card Alliance conference. See what he had to say here.
Martin also spoke with Karen Evans, administrator for electronic government and information technology with the White House Office of Management and Budget, about the deadline for a podcast which can be heard here.