The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is beginning to consolidate its efforts to verify the identities of transportation workers in various settings and standardize a secure credentialing process for them.
To that end, TSA awarded Accenture Federal Services, Arlington, Va., a five-year contract valued at $250 million to produce systems to verify and manage the identities of transportation workers who have access to secure areas throughout transportation systems, the company announced Monday.
Accenture intends to design an integrated system that is customer-friendly for transportation workers enrolling.
"This new identity management and card production capability tool will connect people and information to help facilitate secure travel and trade," Ken Lawhorn, an Accenture senior executive directing its TSA programs, said in a statement.
Currently, TSA manages several different programs to verify and manage identities for transportation workers at airports, including those who handle hazardous materials and support maritime facilities. The Accenture contract eventually will consolidate those into a single program.
Consolidating the programs into one system will improve credentialing for new and existing transportation workers, improve the consistency of information across different programs, and provide improved customer service to transportation workers, according to Accenture.
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, managed jointly by TSA and the Coast Guard, will be the first program to move into the new consolidated effort. TWIC has enrolled more than 2.1 million transportation workers to date with the goal of providing secure access to port facilities and maritime vessels.
As reported in the November issue of Homeland Security Today, the US Coast Guard is expected to soon issue a long awaited rule guiding port facilities on the installation of card readers for the TWIC identification cards. Many ports then will follow the Coast Guard guidance in the near future to procure separate systems to authenticate TWIC cards used to gain access to their facilities. These enforcement measures remain separate although connected to the verification and credentialing processes now under contract to Accenture.
As announced on April 2, Accenture previously received a $250 million award under the TSA Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing (TTAC) Infrastructure Modernization (TIM) program. BAE Systems and IBM Federal protested that contract award, but their protests were dismissed May 10.
Afterward, TSA migrated the TIM program to its office of Intelligence and Analysis, recasting it as the Technology Infrastructure Modernization (TIM) program. In a report issued last month, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called the program necessary for correcting weaknesses in TSA credentialing processes.
"A new TIM data system is necessary to address internal control weaknesses in the Adjudication Center’s transportation worker vetting and credentialing programs. Ongoing active oversight by senior leadership of TSA’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which assumed responsibility for Technology and TIM after TSA’s reorganization, would be prudent to improve planning and implementation efforts," the IG report said.
On May 4, 2011, Stephen Sadler, now TSA assistant administrator for intelligence and analysis, told the House Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee that TSA managed separate security threat assessment programs for 28 segments of transportation workers, accounting for 15 million individuals.