NSTIC’s $2.5 million grant for oversight chief goes to SI

NIST names system integrator Trusted Federal Systems to oversee the Steering Group that will build policies and guidelines for the National Strategies for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace initiative

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Thursday handed a 24-month, $2.5 million grant to systems integrator Trusted Federal Systems to provide oversight of the group that will develop policies and guidelines that define the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).

Trusted Federal Systems (TFS) will fill the role of “secreteriat,” a position laid out in the NSTIC Charter that is a sort of oversight committee that provides secretarial, administrative and logistical support. TFS will hold its first official in-person meeting on Aug. 13 in Chicago.

On its Web site, TFS says it “designs, implements and delivers solutions which result in improved integration, reuse, and leverage of legacy investments.”

The group earned the $2.5 million grant via a federal application process, which was open to accredited higher education institutions, non-profits and commercial organizations located in the U.S. In all, NIST considered 12 proposals.

TFS, based in Rockville, Md., will support the private-sector Identity Ecosystem 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, but TFS is required to remain neutral and will not be a voting member.

The Steering Group will create policies and standards for an “identity ecosystem framework.”

The naming of the secretariat represents a significant milestone in the NSTIC effort, which began in April 2011, 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.

NSTIC officials have repeatedly called the Steering Group the “long pole in the [NSTIC] tent.”

“I'm very excited about the selection of Trusted Federal Systems and think I they are going to do a great job,” said Jeremy Grant, senior executive advisor at NIST, which heads NSTIC's national program office. He said TFS was chosen because it best met the objectives and criteria laid out in a Federal Funding Opportunity issued March 9 by NIST.

The Steering Group is the second major milestone in the past three months for NSTIC, which appears to be hitting its stride. In April, NSTIC selected finalists for its pilot program and said it would commit $10 million to the program.

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