Friday, July 13, 2007

Conflicting Priorities

An old IT mantra--there's three characteristics of software and IT systems that are mutually exclusive--you can have speed to implementation, low cost, and software that works, only if you choose 2 of the 3. (I'd throw in the rule that the first version of software never works well.) Our politicians don't know this: From Government Executive

House lawmakers had two specific messages Thursday for Homeland Security Department officials when it comes to issuing new biometric identification cards for port security workers: Get it done, but do it right.

Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said they are frustrated that the Transportation Security Administration has not yet started offering the transportation worker identification credentials to port workers.

Under the program, up to 1 million workers with access to sensitive port areas are to undergo background checks and be given special IDs with fingerprint biometric identifiers. TSA just missed another deadline for the TWIC program, this time to begin enrolling workers at 10 of the nation's busiest ports by July 1.

But lawmakers also are worried about widespread problems when TWIC is deployed. "If we don't get it right, it's going to be total chaos," said Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., added: "When you do roll this out, I hope you realize that there is no reason for any excuse for why it doesn't work."

Maurine Fanguy, the department's TWIC manager, said the program is taking time to develop because of its scope. She said the program is on the forefront of biometric credentialing.

No comments: