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Smartcard Employee Identification and Access Cards

Photo of a man using a security card to enter a door.

All Forest Service access control systems must comply with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), which requires a common identification standard for Federal employees and contractors. Since 2008, all Forest Service employees and long-term contractors have been issued Federal Government standard smartcard identification and access control cards. Within USDA, these cards are known as "LincPass" in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, who created the UDSA.

Fingerprint and background checks must be completed before the cards are issued to new employees. The card is used both for physical and computer system access. It has a programmable chip with both contact and wireless interfaces, and will support four levels of security. It uses cryptographic tools for higher levels of security and contains an electronic photo and biometric (fingerprint) data to verify identity. A printed photo appears on the card. The cards also can include a magnetic stripe and a bar code.

The physical specifications for the HSPD-12 standard are outlined in National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-73.

A separate document, National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-76, has biometric data specifications for HSPD-12 personal identification verification cards. It specifies technical acquisition and formatting requirements for biometric credentials.

More information on HSPD-12 security requirements are available at http://lincpass.usda.gov (available only to USDA employees) and in the USDA Integrated Physical Security Standards & Procedures Handbook (Web site available only to USDA employees). See chapter I—Physical Security, Part III—Issuing and Controlling Identification Badges (starting on page 13).

Information on specifying and installing Forest Service access control systems that are operable using a LincPass is available to Forest Service employees.