DoD, GSA tighten standards on contractor IDs

By Jared Serbu
Federal News Radio

The government is tightening regulations on microchip-embedded IDs issued to contractors in an effort to ensure that the smart cards don’t stay in the hands of private vendors when they no longer have a justifiable need for access to government facilities or networks.

New rules developed by the General Services Administration, the Defense Department and NASA for publication in Thursday’s Federal Register require agencies to ensure that any form of government-furnished ID provided to a contractor be returned as soon as the card is no longer needed to perform the contract work, or as soon as the contract is complete—whichever happens first.

The new rule will also allow agencies to withhold final payment to a vendor who fails to return all the cards issued to workers who need them as part of a contract. The measure is intended to correct problems identified in a 2008 Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, which found that DoD lacked procedures to ensure that Common Access Cards (CACs) issued to contractors were deactivated and reclaimed by the government when vendor employees no longer had a legitimate need for them.


The current generation of CACs are DoD’s implementation of Personal Identity Verification or HSPD-12 cards. The 2008 IG report found that even when the access privileges associated with DoD’s CAC cards were revoked, 38 percent of those canceled cards were never accounted for by the government, and that DoD sponsors for the contractor cards frequently “had inadequate evidence to link contractors to a contract or justify a CAC expiration date.”

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