Parroco Production Group wins USCG contract for biometric readers, support services

The US Coast Guard (USCG) awarded Chesapeake, VA-based Parroco Security Integration Group (P-SIG), the biometrics division of Parroco Production Group, Inc., the total proposed price of $1,395,554.32 to purchase 250 handheld multimodal biometric readers to replace readers that are past the end of their service lives.

According to the company, its “preloaded MOZAIC-ID Smartcard Credential Software is capable of reading TWIC, CAC, PIV, PIV-I and other issued smart cards. This will be preloaded and ready for on the fly verfications. MOZAIC-ID is primarily focused for guard controlled perimeters or on the spot checking of credential owners in real-time. MOZAIC-ID is also a strong choice for the TWIC program, port facilities and other access controlled enforcement.”

“P-SIG originally supplied the handheld biometric readers to the US Coast Guard starting back in 2009,” the company said.

“We checked the biometrics with 100 percent success. Within seconds a match was made verifying the crew member was the person on board,” a USCG Boarding Officer was quoted as telling the company.

The award decision was based on the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) selection method specified in the USCG’s Request for Proposal. The total award value (including options associated with FAR 52.217-8) is $1,435,721.56.

The USCG’s RFP was for “a firm-fixed-price contract to provide Hand-Held Multi-Mode Biometric Readers and accompanying technical support required by the USCG Office of Port Facility Compliance Cargo and Facilities Division (CG-FAC-2).” The readers are being deployed to USCG field units across the country to replace existing readers now “beyond their service life,” which the USCG stated it had “a time-critical need to purchase [the] 250 readers as replacements.”

Each reader had to include technical manuals covering installation, operation, and maintenance, as well as a storage case for each reader in accordance with standard industry practice.

The USCG had said in its RFP it “anticipates awarding one firm-fixed-price contract resulting from this RFP,” which resulted in considerable questions from potential bidders about the RFP and technical issues that the bidders didn’t consider clear enough.

One interesting question, or suggestion, that made sense, but which the USCG rejected, a former East Coast Customs and Border Patrol port security director told Biometric Update, was the USCG would not “accept a solution that supports a hot-swappable battery solution that would allow for an additional 8-10 hours of battery support.”

The USCG said specifications required that the device be powered for 10 hours, and that, “Furthermore, SOW 2.1.1 b. requires 12 hours minimum operational time – not 10 hours.”

In response to another interesting question about whether “the handheld solution [is] only required to perform fingerprint capture, Near Field Communication, and Common Access Cards (CAC) reading process,” USCG responded, “The handheld solution must be able to read (with and without contact) Transportation Workers Identification Credentials (TWIC), CAC and Seafarer Identification Documents (SID) cards. It shall also perform a fingerprint match for the TWIC and CAC. It shall also validate card certificates.

USCG said, “The full period of performance encompasses four years, inclusive of a one-year base period plus three option periods of one-year each. The projected period of performance is … through September 27, 2022.

The reader had to pass the following verification testing procedure for all Modes of Operation. Tests and expected results were:

• BADAUTH – Bad Authentication Certificate Test;
• CANCELED – Canceled Card List Test;
• EXPIRED – Expired Card Test;
• BADSIGN – Bad Signature Authority Test;
• UNTRUSTED – Untrusted Certificate Test; and
• INSPECTOR – Full Validation Test of inspector’s TWIC, the biometric match for which was conducted with the inspector’s personal TWIC.

The reader also has the ability to read TWIC, CAC, and SID. The reader accepted had to “yield the expected result outlined in” the RFP technical specifications, and the tester/user had to be able to confirm the results of the read transaction on the reader display. The reader also had to properly operate in all specified modes.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002, and the Safe Port Act of 2006, directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue biometric transportation security credentials to all mariners holding USCG credentials or qualification documents, and all individuals with unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels.

USCG said, “Controlling access to secured areas is a critical component of DHS efforts to enhance port security. The USCG verifies TWICs when conducting vessel and facility inspections and during spot checks — using readers to ensure credentials are valid. Over 2.8 million transportation workers have TWICs,” which “includes USCG-credentialed merchant mariners, port facility employees, dockworkers, truck drivers, and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas regulated by MTSA.

The software configuration consists of the following:

• A biometric sub-system that provides an equal error rate (EER) of 1% (i.e., 1% false rejections at a setting of 1% false acceptance), on a per transaction basis, up to three attempts as a minimum standard error rate. Readers provide a mechanism to adjust the security level sensitivity;
• The biometric template is encoded in a manner that communicates the following information to a reader for use in 1: 1 matching logic: The presence of zero, one or two fingerprint minutiae, and, the quality level of said fingerprint minutiae;
• Readers first check the number of minutiae present to determine if a 1:1 match may proceed;
• The reader checks all certificates on the card, and all data is retrieved from the card application except for operations involving active card authentication; and
• The reader automatically identifies various credentials without the user adjusting the settings.

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