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This Physical Access Control System (PACS) Guide will help you understand concepts related to Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management-compliant PACSs. At a high level, a PACS is a collection of technologies that control physical access at one or more federal agency sites by electronically authenticating employees, contractors, and visitors.

The contents of this guide are meant to be informative and do not serve as the basis for determining PACS compliance. Agency-specific guidance should supersede the recommendations within this guide, where appropriate.

To learn more:

  1. What is a Physical Access Control System?
  2. Physical Access Control System Deployment Models
  3. Aligning Facility Security Level and Authentication
  4. Procurements
  5. Training
  6. Lessons Learned
  7. Standards, Policies, and Guidance
  8. Glossary

Questions and Contributions

This guide is open source and a work in progress, and we welcome contributions from our colleagues. Some topics may still be under development. If you have questions, please review the GitHub Issues for in-progress information. If you would like to contribute or add a question, create a new Issue or add a comment to an existing one.


We want to thank the Secure Technology Alliance, especially the members of the Access Control Council, for contributions to the PACS Playbook and permission to reuse content from their presentations and the How to Plan, Procure and Deploy a PIV-Enabled Physical Access Control System webinar training.