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TWIC program facing enrollment, issuing challenges

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and the maritime industry continue to face enrollment and issuing challenges in implementing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The agency now faces enrolling and issuing TWICs to a significantly larger population than was done during program prototype testing. TSA and its enrollment contractor now plan to enroll and issue TWICs to an estimated target population of 1.2 million workers by April 15, 2009, compared to 770,000 workers estimated in January 2007.

Over 700,000 additional workers (59 percent of projected enrollees) still need to be enrolled in the program by the April 15, 2009, deadline.

"TSA and industry stakeholders will need to ensure that TWIC access control technologies perform effectively in the harsh maritime environment and balance security requirements with the flow of maritime commerce," the report stated. "While testing is underway, the lessons learned of the ongoing tests remain to be distilled and used to inform the development of additional regulatory requirements."

Ultimately planned for all transportation sectors, TSA, in cooperation with the Coast Guard, is initially focusing the TWIC program on the maritime sector.

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