The DHS announcement today awarding REAL ID grants is a positive step in meeting the recommendation of the 9-11 Commission to make identification documents more secure.
With the adoption of a “verification hub” approach, where states work with other states to verify identities, DHS is letting the folks who issue driver licenses control their own processes – previously a source of irritation for many Governors. Having a secure and safe identification document will help reduce ID theft, identity fraud and the risk of having bad people move from state-to-state in order to exploit gaps in identity verification systems. These grants are a move in the right direction.
State Governors may quibble over whether they got “enough” money to do what they want to do, or whether the right states were picked to serve as the test and evaluation sites, but they should not debate the intent of DHS to work with them to find a solution.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the National Governor’s Association reacts.