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Highlights

In an effort to increase the quality and security of federal identification (ID) practices, the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) in August 2004. This directive requires the establishment of a governmentwide standard for secure and reliable forms of ID. GAO was asked to testify on its report, being released today, assessing the progress selected agencies have made in implementing HSPD-12. For this report, GAO selected eight agencies with a range of experience in implementing ID systems and analyzed actions these agencies had taken. GAO was also asked to summarize challenges in the DOD personnel security clearance process. This overview is based on past work including reviews of clearance-related documents. Military servicemembers, federal workers, and industry personnel must obtain security clearances to gain access to classified information. Long-standing delays in processing applications for these clearances led GAO to designate the Department of Defense's (DOD) program as a high-risk area in 2005. In its report on HSPD-12, GAO made recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to, among other things, set realistic milestones for implementing the electronic authentication capabilities. GAO has also made recommendations to OMB and DOD to improve the security clearance process.

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