NSTIC commits $2.5 million to build governance body

The government is looking for an organization to lead the establishment and oversights of a group that will be key to the success of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
Written by John Fontana, Contributor

The government's national identity strategy is committing up to $2.5 million over the next two years to fund an organization that will establish and oversee a steering committee that is the linchpin to securing private- sector participation in its plan.

The National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST) Tuesday began soliciting proposals from organizations that want to build and support the steering group, which will be a collection of private-sector participants focused on solving policy and technical issues for creating an "identity ecosystem." The definition of the steering group is laid out it the charter for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).

The goal of NSTIC, introduced in April 2011, is to create an "identity ecosystem" that provides secure identities for online transactions while limiting the disclosure of personal information. The system calls for both public and private accredited identity providers and a choice of identity credentials.

Organizations eligible to submit proposals include accredited higher education institutions, non-profits and commercial organizations located in the U.S. The organization that wins the grant will remain neutral and will not be a voting member of the steering group, which will be made up of 14 sub-groups each with a representative on a management council. The number of participants in the steering group is not restricted.

"This grant will help to establish an independent steering committee led by the private sector that works in conjunction with the federal government to support NSTIC," said Jeremy Grant, senior executive adviser for identity management at NIST and the head of NSTIC.

The steering group is a foundational element of the NSTIC plan and Grant has repeatedly signaled its importance by calling it "the longest pole in the tent."

He said in October, "If we want NSTIC to be private-sector led than crafting the proper approach to convening stakeholders from outside the government and having a formal governance structure to enable success with the development of the identity ecosystem is what we need to focus on."

The steering group will have an administrative office that provides secretarial, administrative and logistical support to the steering group. It will focus on facilitating efforts to agree on standards and policies for NSTIC.

The organization that wins the award will be expected to adhere to NIST's recommendations for establishing a governance structure.

NIST will hold a Webinar for interested parties March 19 at 10:00 a.m. EST (pre-registration is required).

Proposals are due April 11. The grant award will be made sometime after July 1.

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