Department of the Interior

  • 28 Aug 2015 17:25
In 2003, the U.S. Department of the Interior became the first federal agency to successfully implement the government’s new contactless smart card standard

In September 2003, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) became the first federal agency to successfully implement the government’s new contactless smart card standard, known as the Government Smart Card Interoperability Specification (GSCIS version 2.1).

Beginning at its mammoth Washington D.C. headquarters, the DOI is using contactless smart card technology as a key element in its new physical access control system and will soon begin using the card for logical (computer) access as well as for a digital signature application. With this new technology in place, the DOI is likely to be the first federal agency to meet the government’s new contactless security and electronic authentication mandates as well.

The process that culminated in the DOI’s ground-breaking adoption of the government’s standard for contactless smart cards began in 1993 when a DOI office in Reno, Nevada, was bombed. Bob Donelson, then business manager for the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada region, recalled, “Security, especially access control, became an immediate concern.”

After surveying a variety of access control systems, Donelson became concerned at the lack of interoperability between systems. Given the typical federal agency’s longevity and scope of operations, the government is uniformly averse to getting locked in to proprietary systems that can’t share information with each other and may not be supported in the foreseeable future. Donelson made it his mission to develop a truly interoperable access control solution.

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