One card that works across the government as an ID and for access is a step closer to reality. In accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a standard specifying the architecture and technical requirements for a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors, such as a smart card with embedded biometric data. The first part of the standard gives minimum requirements for a personal identity verification (PIV) system that meets the control and security objectives of HSPD 12, while the second part provides the technical requirements, such as card elements and system interfaces, to support the control and security objectives as well as to maintain interoperability. PIV-I mandates, for example, that a detailed background investigation be completed before ID credentials are issued. It also requires that the applicant appear in person at least once during the process and that he or she present two forms of identification in original form.The Federal Information Processing Standard 201, Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors, is available at SM Online.