Lockheed Martin Snares $70 Million TWIC Contract

Lockheed Martin [LMT] recently won a five-year, $70 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to begin support of the long awaited Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, which initially is aimed at improving security at the nation's sea ports by requiring port workers to undergo a security background check and carry a biometric-enabled smart card for unescorted access to secure areas.

Lockheed Martin beat BearingPoint [BE], Computer Sciences Corp. [CSC], Electronic Data Systems [EDS], IBM [IBM], L-1 Identity Solutions [ID], Maximus [MMS] and Motorola [MOT] for the contract.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin on March 26 is supposed to have enrollment stations set up near select ports to gather the biometric and background information from each port worker that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require to do threat assessments. Once the assessments are completed, Lockheed Martin will issue TWIC cards to approved workers.

The biometric data that will be required from each worker includes a digital photograph and 10 fingerprints. The fingerprints will be stored on a computer chip that is part of the identity credential and will be used initially for random checks to verify that a card holder is the same person that was approved to receive the card. The card will also have a picture of the worker as well as a personal identification number.

A draft rule published last May for implementing TWIC initially called for port facility owners and operators to include access control systems such as card readers to help control unescorted access to secure port areas. However, the reader technology wasn't specified although many industry officials felt the government was leaning toward readers that require a card to be inserted in a machine. The concern with contact readers is that they might easily get gummed up in the port environment and require frequent maintenance.

TSA and the Coast Guard have begun a new rule making process to examine the possibility of using contactless smart card readers for access control.

Enrollment of all port workers, about 750,000 in all, will take 15 months and be completed by June 2008. By Sept. 25, 2008, all mariners and workers requiring unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities must have a TWIC card. The contract covers enrollment and production of 850,000 cards, which provides room to replace lost or damaged cards, and for new hires over the first 15 months. TSA expects 1.1 million port workers will have to be enrolled during the five-year contract.

Port workers will pay $137.25 to get a TWIC card that will be valid for five years. TSA had previously said the fee would be anywhere between $139 and $159. Workers who have gone through comparable background checks to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement on a commercial driver's license, a merchant mariner document or Free and Secure Trade credential will pay $105.25. Fees cover the cost of a threat assessment, program management, card production and issuance.

DHS hasn't decided yet on rolling the program out to additional transportation sectors. If so, Lockheed Martin said up to 6 million credentials could be issued under its contract.

For Lockheed Martin the contract win further expands its business base in the credentialing market. The company is a subcontractor to Verified Identity Pass under the TSA-sponsored Registered Traveler (RT) program, serving as the system integrator. Under RT, travelers who submit background and biometric data for background checks can be approved to receive, for a fee, a biometrically-enabled smart card that can speed their processing through aviation checkpoints.

Lockheed Martin is also on an IBM-led effort to credential employees at the Department of Interior under requirements stemming from Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, which calls for all federal employees to go through a background check and be issued smart cards for access control to certain facilities.

"Credentialing is a very important marketplace as we try to help the country be more secure," Carlaine Blizzard, vice president of Secure Enterprise Solutions at Lockheed Martin, told Defense Daily.

Lockheed Martin's teammates for TWIC include Daon, Datatrac, Deloitte Consulting, Maximus, and LexisNexis Special Services.