OMB to standardize government authentication

SSN Staff  - 
Monday, September 1, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Office of Management and Budget has asked government chief information officers not to buy authentication or identity management technologies without getting the green light from either the E-Authentication team or the Federal Identity and Credentialing Committee.

The decision to rein in spending on authentication technologies came after a survey of government departments found that more than $160 million was earmarked for potentially inconsistent authentication and identity-management technologies.

While the main thrust of the directive was to address computer security, the OMB would also like to standardize physical security technologies and government-issued credentials.

OMB has created a committee to develop a common credentialing policy for government employees and has asked agencies to comment on guidance that is soon to be released National Institute of Standards and Technology.

By the end of the year, OMB hopes to have selected vendors for standardizing credentials and public-key infrastructure services, but this will only solve half of the problem. Once these vendors have been chosen, individual agencies will be charged with migrating to the new operations standards, which OMB said should be a more lengthy process.