Hearing Wrap-Up: Secure Credentials Issued by the Government Publishing Office

Published: Oct 21, 2015

Witnesses:

Ms. Davita Vance-Cooks, Director, Government Publishing Office
Ms. Kathleen M. Carroll, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, HID Global
Mr. James N. Alders, Senior Vice President of Government Operations, MorphoTrust USA
Mr. Michael A. Raponi, Inspector General, U.S. Government Publishing Office

TAKEAWAYS:

• Secure identity credentials must contain the most secure and innovative technology to effectively safeguard national security. The 9/11 Commission has noted that “travel documents are as important as weapons.”
• A full and open competitive acquisition process is imperative to ensure that government agencies are procuring the most cost effective, efficient and innovative solutions. Innovation is necessary to stay one step ahead of those who seek to misuse identity documents in an effort to enter the country and cause harm. “
• The Government Publishing Office (GPO) Inspector General Michael Raponi testified that the current process is “flawed.”
• Title 44 is an outdated authorizing statute that should be reexamined.

PURPOSE:

• To examine the impact of the GPO role in building secure identity documents for federal government agencies, its exemption from Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) as a legislative entity, and whether competitive acquisition is necessary to ensure that federal identity documents safeguard national security.
• To give industry experts an opportunity to provide an overview of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

BACKGROUND:

• Federal secure credentials include a variety of documents, including personal identification cards with security features to prevent counterfeiting or other illicit tampering. Such credentials may also have a memory chip with RFID that can store and transmit information to an external card reader.
• GPO is the federal government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. government information in all its forms.
• Recently, GPO started producing RFID-secured identity documents. Procurement of these documents is governed by the FAR when contracted by executive branch agencies from private suppliers. The purpose of the FAR is to provide uniform policies and procedures for government contracting.

 

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Chaffetz (R-UT): “The millions of dollars that are spent on research and development cannot be dismissed. … [B]ut also provide the next wave of technology that can make sure that we have the most secure documentation we can possibly have.”

Rep. Meadows (R-NC): “One of the concerns I have is when we look at integration. You can take wonderful pieces of technology as you try to integrate them and make them practical and noteworthy. It doesn’t produce the end results. … Is that an effective way?”

Rep. Walker (R-NC): “Are you saying that the GPO itself doesn’t reach out to federal agencies to sell their products and services GPO wants to produce?”