Last updated 19 February 2018
A smart move to next-generation identity credentials
With 826,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists, 742,000 civilian personnel and more than 1.3million men and women on active duty as of 2016, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the United States’ single largest employer. Established under the National Security Act of 1947, DoD coordinates and supervises all agencies and functions of government relating directly to national security and the military.
Data integrity is of paramount importance given the highly sensitive nature of information handled by DoD employees and contractors on a daily basis.
By introducing strong employee authentication measures with secure card certificates and PIN code, DoD has led the way in digital security for the Federal government. The military CAC program has issued over 20 million smart identity badges to date.
At any one time, the ubiquitous Common Access Card is
being used by 4.5 million personnel:
- Active-duty armed forces
- National Guard, Reserves
- DoD civil servants
- Select contractor workforce
As an accredited provider of smart cards to the DoD, Gemalto is proud to contribute to this initiative.
For more details and frenquently asked questions on the military CAC card, please visit the DOD ID card reference center.
These secure mechanisms have been benefiting national ID card shemes around the world as well.
What information is on a military CAC card?
The microprocessor has a memory of 144KB of data and includes PKI certificates that allow holders to digitally sign documents with a PIN code, but also encrypt/decrypt emails, and securely connect to online networks.
It also stores two digital fingerprints, the holder's portrait, a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) certificate, organizational affiliation, agency, department, expiration date.
The bar code stores the name, date of birth, personnel category, pay category, benefits information, organizational affiliation and pay grade.
As of June 2011, the Social Security Number (SSN) has been replaced by the DoD Identification Number.
Cac card: essential to every aspect of life at
Since its implementation, the CAC
card has significantly expedited
provides all necessary information in a
single use, preventing countless hours
of busywork, such as filling out forms
by hand. Flight manifest tracking,
weapons issuance and deployment
processing can be completed in
minutes rather than hours, meaning
that employees and contractors spend
less time waiting in line.
“When I go to the gym,
the only identification
I take is my CAC”
But the militarycac is not just a
With over 1.5 million CAC
transactions logged daily, this fully
scalable solution has quickly become
a vital part of everything DoD
employees and contractors do
throughout their workday.
It has streamlined many
business practices and processes,
making DoD operations more efficient
and secure than ever.
In addition to
ensuring fail-safe physical and logical
security, the CAC card:
- Enables exact headcounts through
computerized building access files
- Improves accountability for food
service and recruit functions
- Provides reliable authentication for
healthcare and benefits processing
- Has served in lieu of a visa for
deployment to Iraq
- Is recognized as an identification
card under the Geneva Conventions
The future of US military ID
DoD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen declared in June 2016 that there is a plan to phase out the military CAC over the next two years for network authentication.
Web magazine fedscoop reported on 6 July 2017 that the Pentagon signed a deal to pilot behavioral biometric technology to identify those using its computer networks.
DOD said the National Institute of Standards and Technology's new SP 800-63 digital identity guidelines are central to normalizing identity management.
So, stay tuned for the outcome of this pilot.
And in the meantime ....don't leave your desk without it!