WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation – Transportation and Security Solutions of Rockville, Md., worth $70 million for the initial deployment of a credential for workers requiring access to secure areas of port facilities.
The contract supports the deployment of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, which will enhance port security by requiring all workers with unescorted access to secure areas of vessels and maritime facilities to successfully complete a security threat assessment and carry a biometric credential.
Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin will establish enrollment centers within close proximity of port facilities, where applicants will provide certain biographic information and fingerprints to conduct a security threat assessment and produce the biometric credential. The threat assessment, conducted by the Transportation Security Administration, includes a check of criminal history, immigration, and intelligence databases. Once a worker successfully completes the threat assessment process, Lockheed Martin will issue the credential to the worker.
Last week, the final rule for the TWIC program – which describes the enrollment process, disqualifying crimes, fees and other requirements for workers, port owners, and operators – was published in the Federal Register. The rule has been available on the TSA and Coast Guard Web sites since January 1, 2007 and becomes effective on March 26, 2007. Along with the final rule the U.S. Coast Guard published a Supplementary Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for the Consolidation of Merchant Mariner Credentials which will work in tandem with TWIC.
“It is fundamental to our nation’s security that individuals who pose a security threat do not gain access to our ports,” stated TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. “With the rule and contract in place, we can now begin to roll out this significant port security measure.”
The fee for obtaining a TWIC will be $137.25 and will be valid for five years. This amount is below the estimate of $139 to $159 that the federal government had anticipated charging for the credential. The fee includes the cost for the threat assessment, program management, card production and issuance. Workers with current, comparable background checks including a hazardous materials endorsement on a commercial driver’s license, merchant mariner document or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) credential will pay a discounted fee of $105.25.
TWIC enrollment will begin March 26, 2007 at select ports and will then proceed to ports throughout the nation over the next 15 months. Workers will be notified of enrollment site locations prior to the start of the enrollment period in their area. Once workers have had ample opportunity to enroll and receive TWIC cards, DHS will establish a deadline for workers to possess a TWIC. On September 25, 2008, all mariners and workers requiring unescorted access to secure areas will require a TWIC.
While developing the regulation for TWIC in the summer and fall of 2006, TSA completed name-based security threat assessments on port employees and longshoremen. These assessments against terrorist watch lists and immigration data sets were an interim measure and did not include the criminal history records check or biometric credential that will be a part of TWIC.
More information on the TWIC program is available on TSA’s web site at www.tsa.gov and more information on port security is available at the Coast Guard’s Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil, by clicking on the Maritime Security link.