Edit this page


Federation Service Diagram - Overview of diagram follows in text below.

Federation is the ability of one organization to accept another organization’s work. Federation is based on inter-organizational trust. The trusting organization has to be comfortable that the trusted organization has similar policies, and that those policies are being followed:

  • A credential issued by your local library will not likely be trusted by the security staff at the White House.

  • A credential issued by your bank may be trusted by your health club.

  • A PIV credential issued by the Federal Government may be trusted by your State to access a website

Federation can occur at different points within ICAM. Examples include:

  • An organization can accept credentials issued by another organization, but still authenticate and authorize the individual locally:
    • A passport issued by the U.S. Department of State is accepted as a valid credential by a foreign country, but that country’s immigration office still authenticates the holder and requires a visa (authorization).
  • An organization can accept specific characteristics (attributes) describing an individual from another organization:
    • Your bank will request your credit score from one of the credit bureaus, rather than maintaining that information itself.
  • An organization can accept an authorization decision from another organization:
    • A driver’s license authorizing you to drive in one state is accepted by another.

Federation Services

The Federation services in the Federal ICAM architecture include Attribute Exchange, Credential Translation, Credential Bridging, and Policy Alignment. Federation Service Details Diagram - Service definitions follow in text below.

Attribute Exchange

Discovering and sharing identity attributes between different systems to promote interoperability and simplify the process for establishing an identity.
Keywords: Attribute Definition, ARS

Credential Translation

Transforming a token or credential into an alternative format, potentially containing claims about the client, for acceptance at a relying party. Keywords: Secure Token Service, Assertion Service

Credential Bridging

Establishing a cross-certified, affiliated relationship to trust credentials at a level of assurance asserted by those credentials.
Keywords: Federal PKI Bridge

Policy Alignment

Establishing a mutual relationship between parties by deliberately establishing common standards and principles.
Keywords: Trust Relationship