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Washington D.C.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

TSA Seeks Proposals for Next-Gen Credential Authentication Technology

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) posted a SAM.gov notice on August 29, seeking proposals for a contract to develop, install and maintain the next generation of credential authentication technology (CAT2).

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, with a potential value of $128 million, will have an ordering period of seven years and will cover design, test support, installation, maintenance, engineering, program management and logistics support services.

The contractor will be required to integrate multiple interfaces and capabilities into a total CAT2 system solution that meets TSA requirements to verify the authenticity of an ID and display the authentication results to the operator. TSA states that the CAT2 must obtain and display the passenger flight reservation and pre-screening status assigned by TSA’s Secure Flight Program to ensure that passengers are authorized to enter the sterile area of the passenger checkpoint; automate matching between the person and the ID photo using 1:1 facial biometrics; reduce physical contact between TSOs and passengers attempting to enter the checkpoint to prevent the spread of disease; and, in cases where passengers are not immediately cleared for access by the CAT system, provide users with discrete and easy-to-see visual images demonstrating a scanned anomaly as compared to a genuine reference (alert descriptions, etc.) to enable effective resolution.

The CAT2 system is to include integrated hardware and software which will provide the capability of validating passenger IDs and verifying passenger identity while allowing for network connectivity to the Security Technology Integrated Program (STIP) for confirming a passenger’s flight reservation and pre-screening status from Secure Flight. The contractor will have the option to utilize the Department of Homeland Security Enterprise Facial Recognition Technology (DHS FRT) algorithm; this software will be provided as Government Furnished Software upon request. Contractors are not required to utilize this software and may develop or use their own solution if preferred but TSA cybersecurity requirements must be met.

Contractors will need to provide a CAT2 system capable of detecting counterfeit documents simulated by both traditional and digital print processes across the portfolio of ID types. This will include multiple simulated card substrates (e.g. PVC and/or Teslin, or adhered PVC and Teslin plastics). The system must also be able to identify printed anomalies from the genuine template without having to rely exclusively on data encoding errors or fraud mistakes in Machine Readable Zones. The Graphical User Interface will have a primary screen with high-level results information and a secondary screen with an easy to see comparison of scanned anomalies.

The CAT2 must be a standalone system (such as a kiosk) that resides in a fixed location. It does not however need to be bolted to the floor or wall. For instance, the system can be mounted on wheels but the general usage of the system should be that of a fixed location such as at the end of the passenger queue operated by a TSA officer.

Contractors have until September 30, 2022 at 2:00pm EST to submit their proposals.

In May, TSA Administrator David Pekoske testified that the agency had deployed an additional 1,520 Credential Authentication Technology units in fiscal year 2021, with the most recent announcement coming on August 25 regarding the installation of a CAT system at MBS International Airport.

Read the notice and full documentation at SAM.gov

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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