Monday, October 27, 2008

TWIC, TWIC, baby

I'm going to start this entry off with 1 ground rule:

Please do not ask me to try and find out the status of your TWIC enrollment, I won't do it. If you need information, please call the TWIC hot line at: 1-866-DHS-TWIC (1-866-347-8942). You can also check out their website at Finally, you can shoot them an email at

Bottom line, I'm just here to give you a breakdown of what NMSAC has done to advance the TWIC effort, I am not a TWIC insider (nor would I ever, in my wildest dreams, wish to be).

So, now that we have that out of the way, let's begin with NMSAC and TWIC...

NMSAC has been involved with TWIC almost from it's (NMSAC's) inception. Two years ago, NMSAC was tasked to:

"Develop a contactless biometric specification for the TWIC. Working with the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard, augment the Credentialing Work Group, or form a new work group with appropriate members of the biometric industry, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to perform this work, applying expertise both from the biometric credentialing industry and maritime industry TWIC stakeholders. Provide an opportunity for public comment on a draft specification and incorporate comments into a final specification. The specification developed shall be:
a. Non-proprietary;
b. Incorporating appropriate security and privacy controls;
c. Interoperable with FIPS 201-1;
d. Capable of being a platform for future capabilities;
e. Capable of supporting maritime operations;
f. Suitable for manufacturing."

In response, NMSAC provided this response. For the most part, DHS has tried to address most of the concerns brought up by NMSAC.

A report , issued by the NMSAC's TWIC working group, in response to a tasking to provide a “health check” on the TWIC roll out endeavor, however, seemed to highlight some miscommunication between DHS and the general public. Suffice it to say the report generated quite a buzz in the media...

At the September 18 meeting, a joint TSA/USCG response was submitted back to the NMSAC to help address the laundry list of issues brought forward by the TWIC working group. The report highlights that many of the issues raised by the working group are documented and if not already resolved, are being worked on by TSA and the CG to be resolved.

What's next? A follow on WG is scheduled next month to go more in depth to the TSA/CG response, hopefully more information can be reported on then. For those of you who want more detailed information on the TWIC roll out and implementation, I would suggest checking out the TWIC dashboard, a useful tool that provides regular updates. You can find that and more at

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