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Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12

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Credentialing Centers
Using Your LincPass
Agency Certification Portal:
The web based tool available to agency role holders to select and certify that Applicant records are complete for submission to USAccess.

FIPS 201: Federal Information Processing Standards #201-1, entitled “Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors.” This document contains the detailed standards for the PIV process, the system, and the specifications for the resultant identification card. Read it at

LACS: Logical Access Control Systems. Systems which authenticate and authorize an individual to access federally controlled information systems. Under the HSPD-12 mandate, Departments and Agencies are required to have their logical access control systems ready to read and process the new smart card no later than October 27, 2009. Logical access control systems will require use of smart card readers.

LincPass: USDA branded its smart card the “LincPass”. The unique spelling of LincPass is in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, founder of the Department of Agriculture. The card “links” your personal identity to the card and to your ability to access Federal buildings and computer systems with the card. The LincPass meets all FIPS 201 standards, is produced by GSA’s Shared Service, will include USDA’s name and logo, and will be used for access by USDA employees and affiliates.

NCR: National Capital Region, used to describe the USDA operations in the Washington DC metro area

PACS: Physical Access Control Systems. Systems which authenticate and authorize an individual to access federally controlled government facilities. Under the HSPD-12 mandate, Departments and Agencies are required to have their physical access controls systems in place by October 27, 2011.

PIV: Personal Identity Verification. PIV is a process developed by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). PIV outlines a standard procedure that all Federal Departments and Agencies must follow to confirm the identities of its employees and contractors before issuance of a credential (identification badge). The PIV process was divided into two parts (PIV I and PIV II) to help all Federal agencies meet the deadlines for compliance.

PIV I: Personal Identity Verification Phase I standardized the processes used by Federal Departments and Agencies in issuing existing ID badges to its employees and contractors, but allowed for issuance of existing credentials using existing methods. The process requires sponsorship of an applicant, separation of duties for those sponsoring from those issuing the ID cards, and a standardized list of acceptable documents an applicant can provide as proof of identity. Applicants must also undergo or already possess a successfully adjudicated minimal background investigation. Departments and Agencies began using this new process to issue ID badges on October 27, 2005.

PIV II: PIV II takes PIV I a step further and requires issuance of a common identification card, using the process developed in PIV I. PIV II requires a significant technology infrastructure to support issuance of the new cards. The standards for the system were also developed by NIST. Departments and Agencies were required to have their own HSPD-12 systems operating, or to sign up with a HSPD-12 Shared Service provider, by October 27, 2006.

PIV Card: The generic name for a common identification card that is produced by the HSPD-12 system. Other generic terms that are interchangeable with “PIV card” include credential or smart card. Departments and Agencies have the option to further brand the PIV card to make it more relevant and recognizable to employees and contractors. A well-known example of PIV card branding is the Department of Defense’s “Common Access Card”, known as the CAC throughout the military.

Shared Service: Departments and Federal Agencies have the option to either develop the required HSPD-12 system solely for their own use, or to join one central system that can be shared by multiple agencies. USDA has elected to partner with the General Services Administration (GSA) in it's HSPD-12 Shared Service offering. Choosing this option allowed USDA to reduce operating, implementation, and management costs.

Smart Card: A plastic card, the same size as a credit card, that contains an embeded microchip which can be loaded with data and software. These cards come in 2 versions - Contact and Contact-less (Proximity).

Contact Smart Card: “Contact” smart cards must be inserted into the slot of a smart card reader in order to transmit data through the physical connection.

Contact-less Smart Card: “Contact-less” smart cards, also referred to as proximity cards, have the ability to transfer data through a proximity reader by holding the card close enough to the reader that it is able to transmit data through electro-magnetic fields.

Smart Card Reader: A device which detects data from a contact or contact-less smart card. Newer laptops have card readers built in, as do newer keyboards. External smart card readers, PIN pads, and fingerprint readers that can be utilized by more than one computing device are another option. For contact-less smart cards, a specific type of smart card reader, known as a proximity reader, is required.

USAccess: The name of the GSA shared service solution USDA is participating in to issue PIV cards. Also refers to the name of the web based application used by Role Holders to manage PIV card records.
Site Updated: 10/26/2020     
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