The embattled Transportation Worker Identification Credential program was dealt a serious setback on Monday when the Department of Defense announced the program does not meet DOD standards.
The Dec. 10 Federal Register notice published by the Department of Defense states that the program does not meet DOD standards. It goes on to state that the TWIC cannot be used to authenticate users for access to DOD computer systems. The Department of Defense will require an additional credential of TWIC holders by Jan. 29, 2013, who need access to certain defense computer networks.
The TWIC program is designed to – among other things – clear transportation workers for unescorted access to secure areas of ports around the country. Industry-wide criticism, lawmakers and congressional hearings highlighting its burdensome process and shortcomings have plagued the program.
Enrollees have long been forced to make two trips to the sparsely located enrollment centers around the country just to apply for, submit documentation for background checks and pick up the TWIC. Once in possession of the credential, it has amounted to little more than a “flash card” at most ports as the card reader program has been riddled with glitches and continues to lag behind its implementation schedule.
The future of the program seemed suspect when the Transportation Security Administration opted this year to extend the expiration dates of some of the current cards. With the first round of five-year expiration dates bearing down on TWIC holders, the TSA offered a three-year extension. U.S. citizens with current TWICs that will expire on or before Dec. 31, 2014, can opt to pay $60 to extend the expiration date for three years.
OOIDA has long advocated for a single background check system to help truckers comply with all security clearance requirements they face.
“At one time we thought TWIC would be it, but it does not appear so now,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “The promise of secure credential to identify truckers authorized to work the ports is no closer to reality than ever. The TWIC program seems to exist only for the benefit of those who collect fees for generating the card at the expense of the time and money of professional drivers.”
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