The federal government is interested in the use of smart cards--credit card-like devices that use integrated circuit chips to store and process data--for improving the security of its many physical and information assets. Besides providing better authentication of the identities of people accessing buildings and computer systems, smart cards offer a number of other potential benefits and uses, such as creating electronic passenger lists for deploying military personnel and tracking immunization and other medical records. Over the past 2 years, GAO has studied and reported on the uses of smart cards across the federal government. Congress requested that GAO testify on federal agencies' efforts in adopting smart card technology--based on the results of this prior work--and on the specific actions that the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking to implement smart card technology.
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