The federal government is still woefully behind schedule in issuing high-tech identification cards to its employee and contractor work force.
The White House said in budget documents released May 11 that 2.7 million ID cards — about 48 percent of the total 5.6 million cards to be issued — had been issued to employees and contractors as of the beginning of March.
“It turned out to be a more daunting task than the government realized,” said John Palguta, vice president of policy for the Partnership for Public Service. “We need to have secure credentials in today’s world. Let’s hope the last 52 percent doesn’t take as long as the first 48 percent.”
Palguta said that agencies must maintain their capacity to issue cards once this initial deployment is finished. The federal government will have to hire hundreds of thousands of new employees over the next few years to replace retiring baby boomers, and agencies will need to issue them cards too.
White House and Office of Management and Budget officials were unavailable for comment.