Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 10, 2006

TSA releases draft regs for TWIC

Filed under: Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on May 10, 2006

The Transportation Security Administration issued a press release today indicating that they (along with the Coast Guard) have approved proposed regulations for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The contents of the regulations include:

  • Details on what specific biographic information that TSA would collect;
  • A requirement that “all individuals with unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities” be required to have a TWIC, including U.S. merchant mariners;
  • Details on background check activities;
  • The requirement that TWIC would use Smart Card technology and be compatible with HSPD-12 and FIPS-201 requirements.
  • An expected per-worker cost of $139 for TWIC enrollment, with a five-year validity for the card, paid by the workers (or perhaps their employers);
  • A requirement that port facility and vessel owners and operators integrate TWIC into their access control systems;
  • The creation of a new Merchant Mariner Credential that combines existing documents into a single credential.

I think this is a necessary project for DHS, and it’s good to see these regulations finally emerge, after years of delay. But I’m a bit surprised by the high price tag, and would expect to see a fair dose of negative reaction to this number coming from some of the key labor unions and port employers. And one thing that is unclear is the extent to which these cards will have other uses; for example, will they qualify also as a PASS card for North American travel, consistent with Sec. Chertoff’s vision of a “Global Enrollment Network”?

Update (5/11): Here’s a link to the full notice of proposed rulemaking.

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