Friday, May 16, 2008

TWIC - Transportation Worker Identification Credential

The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation this year was organized to consider the roll-out of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Roll-out has now been underway for just about 180 days.
There was hearing on TWIC in July of 2007. At the end of that hearing, a number of questions about TWIC remained unanswered in large part because the enroll­ment process had to actually commence before some details about how it would proceed could be known.
As a result, the Subcommittee would reconvene to receive a status report on the roll-out of TWIC.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which, along with the United States Coast Guard, is responsible for managing implementation of TWIC reported that as of January 11, 2008, 49 of 147 planned enrollment centers had been opened.
Approximately 109,000 TWIC pre-enrollments had been initiated, just under 50,000 enrollments had been completed, and just under 12,000 physical TWIC cards had been distributed to workers in the maritime commu­nity as of that date.
While enrollment has now successfully begun, they estimated that approximately 750,000 people would enroll but it is now estimated that more than one million people will apply for the card.

Reports from workers as well as port authorities, have testified that glitches at several enrollment centers that have caused unacceptable inconveniences for those seeking to enroll.
For example, one enrollment station expected to serve more than 30,000 people was staffed with only one employee, while another station closed for the day when its printer ran out of toner. At yet another station, lost data led to significant delays in the enrollment process.
After these incidents were reported, Lockheed Martin worked to resolve them. However, when workers must pay to enroll in a program necessary for them to do their jobs and provide for their families, they have the right to expect reliable, efficient service that will cause little to no interruption to their schedules.

It is therefore imperative that Lockheed Martin, the contractor hired by TSA to manage the enrollment process, address the concerns raised during the Subcommittee's hearing regarding its customer service by ensuring that every new enrollment center is ready and able to operate smoothly on the first day it opens its doors.
The TWIC card was designed to prevent access to secure areas of maritime transportation facilities by individuals who pose a threat to our nation's secutity.

However, while a deadline for enrollment has been established (September 25, 2008), the Coast Guard has yet to announce the dates by which the many captain of the port zones will begin phasing in use of the card as an access control measure.
A pending rulemaking that will determine which vessels must install the machine that will be used to read the TWIC cards has also not been completed.
When the government is imposing new procedutes on businesses, it must ensure that these requirements are accompanied by a clear date of implementation and a rea­sonable timeline for compliance.

The Coast Guard must separate from its long history of delays in the promulgation of rules so that mariners and businesses affected by TWIC are able to plan accordingly.
To ensure that we can assess how TSA and Lockheed Martin have improved customer service at enrollment centers, and that we can follow the Coast Guard's progress in developing the reader rule and setting dead­lines for access control.

TWIC will be a critical part of our maritime security regime going forward, and it is imperative that this pro­gram be implemented as effectively and efficiently as pos­sible.

Another issue dis­cussed during the hearing is that enrollment is progress­ing more slowly than anticipated. In particular, there is concern that those who might believe that they will be dis­qualified from receiving a TWIC due to past criminal convictions are hesitant to apply.

Waivers are available for many circumstances, everyone who has a concern about whether they will qualify for a TWIC to carefully read the rules pertaining to the program and to call TSA's TWIC help desk at 1-866-347-8942 with any questions they may have. Those who think they might need a waiver to go ahead and apply now so that they can work through the waiver process over the coming months before possession of the TWIC becomes a requirement that could interfere with employment.

Recently they extended applications till 2009, from start to finish it took me 3 1/2 months to get my card, there were two crew members whose application was lost for about 1 1/2 months which makes you wonder.
Also you can make application online which might help you save some time.