The Defense Department has selected Digital Signature Trust Co. -- a subsidiary of Zions First National Bank -- and Operational Research Consultants Inc. as the first two providers of digital certificate security for its electronic business initiatives.

The vendors will issue digital certificates, which authenticate the identity of parties in on-line communications, to the department's trading partners. The department said it would announce additional digital certificate authorities as it selects them.

"Selection of these two vendors is a significant milestone in the rollout of the Department's public key infrastructure, since it promotes broader industry participation," a Defense Department release said.

The announcement comes just one week after the General Services Administration approved Digital Signature Trust as the first vendor eligible to go after contracts with various government agencies to provide digital certificates to agency personnel and their trading partners.

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