Corps of Engineers Electronic Signature System

AIMD-97-18R: Published: Nov 19, 1996. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 1996.

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Rona B. Stillman
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GAO reviewed the Army Corps of Engineers' electronic signature system. GAO noted that: (1) the electronic signatures generated by the Corps' system provide at least the same quality of evidence as the handwritten signatures they are designed to replace; (2) the system produces electronic signatures that are unique to the signer, under the signer's sole control, capable of being verified, and linked to the data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the signature is invalidated upon verification; (3) the ability of the Corps' electronic signature system to be used by other agencies has also been demonstrated; (4) according to a State Department official, adoption of the Corps' system allowed State to field a production system in about 6 months while minimizing development risk and cost; (5) the third-party security review conducted on the Corps' system resulted in a number of recommendations to enhance the security of an already well-implemented system; (6) the Corps has already completed a number of these actions and has a detailed corrective action plan that specifies how and when the remainder will be completed; and (7) GAO sanctions full-scale deployment of the Corps' electronic signature system for financial management applications, but this sanctioning does not constitute GAO approval of the Corps' financial management system.

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