A defense authorization bill that cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 18, includes language that will press agencies to reduce redundant background checks and credentialing in favor of Transportation Worker Identification Credential cards.
The amendment, introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, passed by voice vote on the floor of the House on Tuesday. The amendment stipulates that TWIC cardholders be granted unescorted access to Department of Defense installations “to the maximum extent practicable.”
In addition, Hunter’s amendment further stipulates that TWIC holders with “Secret” clearance should be considered exempt from further vetting when seeking unescorted access to DOD facilities, once security personnel have verified their clearance status “in a timely manner.”
The amendment also calls for the DOD to begin documenting each instance of when a TWIC-holding transportation worker is denied unescorted access to a military facility in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, or Native American Islands, and that such reports will include the reason for the denial, and the amount of time the driver had to wait to obtain access. The reports will be sent to the Congressional Armed Services committees.
More than 2.1 million truck drivers, dock workers and others who enter U.S. ports are TWIC card holders. The identification uses biometric technology that can be accessed by card reader machines at ports and warehouses.
Doug Morris, OOIDA security operations director, says the amendment is part of a broader push by the Transportation Security Administration to make the TWIC card the single credential drivers will need to access facilities.
“If we’re going to move to one (card), TWIC is the logical choice,” he said. “It’s the only one administered by the federal agency. We’re saying TWIC is acceptable at ports, at government facilities, at airports; it should be acceptable everywhere.”
A TWIC, which is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels, can be acquired by applying at tsa.gov.
TWIC cost for a new applicant is $128, and $105.25 is the reduced rate for new applicants with a license that includes an HME.
Morris is on the TWIC taskforce. If you have any problems involving your TWIC, please contact him at Doug_Morris@ooida.com.
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