Smart Card Alliance 2016 education program aligns to requirements outlined in President Obama's Cybersecurity National Action Plan

March 7, 2016
CNA aims to modernize the federal government's IT security infrastructure and expand its use of two-factor authentication

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., March 01, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- President Obama's bold Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) aims to modernize the federal government's IT security infrastructure and expand its use of two-factor authentication. To help prepare government executives, managers and employees—and their technology provider partners—to achieve these goals, the Smart Card Alliance has updated its training programs and expanded the programs available at its D.C. capital-area training facility, the National Center for Advanced Payments and Identity Security.

The federal government’s NIST standard for strong, two-factor authentication uses the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card, a standard with a supporting ecosystem that the Smart Card Alliance helped create. To advance its use and other government strong two-factor authentication initiatives, the Alliance developed a professional training and certification program called the Certified Smart Card Industry Professional/Government (CSCIP/G) program that provides advanced technical knowledge and understanding of usage models for physical and logical access control using the PIV card.

Aimed at non-technical managers, the CSCIP/G program also prepares government and technology practitioners to understand how smart card technology can help advance other important objectives of the CNAP initiative including:

  • Making government and private industry less reliant on Social Security numbers for personal identity verification
  • Helping reduce identity theft and fraud in Social Security, Medicare and other government programs
  • Establishing a new higher level of security for both government and non-government online transactions and services

For system engineers and integrators of physical and logical access control systems, the Alliance offers the Certified System Engineer ICAM PACS Training and Certification Program (CSEIP). This program provides training on the use of PIV credentials across the government enterprise to protect government facilities and secure information systems.

These training programs are provided in the D.C. area at the recently opened National Center for Advanced Payments and Identity Security in Crystal City, Virginia. The Center, an initiative of the Smart Card Alliance and sponsored in part by a grant from Heartland Payment Systems, strives to improve government, payment and identity security through education and events.

“Broadly educating government practitioners and their technology partners is fundamental to achieving the much-needed action mandated by the President’s CNAP initiative," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “Our not-for-profit organization works across multiple industries in the public and private sectors, and has a long history of collaboration and achievement in the area of two-factor authentication and IT security with the federal government. We opened our new training center in the nation’s capital area for exactly this reason—to help advance the government's awareness and use of smart card technology for strong authentication."

The Smart Card Alliance has been instrumental in helping to achieve a number of government and private sector advances in security including:

  • Establishing the PIV and PIV-interoperable (PIV-I) cards and ecosystems for the federal government and its defense technology and supply chain partners
  • Helping make contactless smart card technology the security core underpinning electronic passports
  • Stimulating and facilitating the U.S. migration to more secure payments using chip cards, a goal held in common with the President’s BuySecure program

For more information on these training programs, please visit The current schedule for 2016 training is:

  • CSCIP/G Training and Certification Exam: June 1-2; September 6-7; November 17-18
  • CSEIP Training and Certification Exam:  March 29-31; April 26-28; July 12-14

The Smart Card Alliance Annual Government Conference, planned for June 6, 2016 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, is another opportunity for Washington D.C.-based practitioners and technology providers to get the latest information on two-factor authentication activities in the federal government.

Many other resources of educational interest are available on the Government Identity/Credentialing Resources page on the Smart Card Alliance website.