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CHIPS Articles: DoD's Business Initiative Council Approves Common Access Card-Physical Access Control Initiative

DoD's Business Initiative Council Approves Common Access Card-Physical Access Control Initiative
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2002
The Business Initiative Council (BIC), comprised of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Staff, the Service Secretaries, the Department of Defense (DoD) Comptroller and the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics), recently approved an initiative to "simplify physical access control of personnel at DoD installations and facilities by using the Common Access Card (CAC) as the principal access badge." With an action-focused agenda, the BIC uses a streamlined decision making process to assign initiatives to the military departments and DoD agencies to realize Department-wide savings. The BIC's mission is to improve the efficiency of DoD business operations by identifying and implementing business reform actions, which allow savings to be reallocated to higher priority efforts. Such savings are to be retained by the services/agencies for their reallocation.

The BIC process is comprised of three levels where initiatives are prepared, completed, and forwarded for final decision. Seven functional process boards meet regularly to develop issues, which can be raised up for consideration as formal BIC initiatives. These functional process boards provide input to the BIC Executive Directors, who report progress and status to the BIC Executive Steering Committee, which in turn reports to the BIC principals. Leadership of the BIC efforts has been rotated from service to service, and currently, the Department of the Navy (in its second six month rotation) is the lead military department responsible for managing the BIC's agenda, developing and coordinating new initiatives, as well as tracking progress of approved initiatives.

The BIC IT Functional Process Board oversees the progress of the CAC initiative. Other IT-focused BIC activities include the Enterprise Software Initiative (resulting in license agreements for Oracle, Informix, Sybase, Adobe, several Section 508 tools, SAP, Microsoft desktop and Microsoft operating system products) and the DoD virtual marketplace initiative. Specifically, the CAC-physical access initiative is referred to as "BIC IT-05." The objective is to eliminate unnecessary access badges and badge systems where possible and also save our workforce the time and effort expended to obtain unnecessary access cards. The BIC has assigned the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer as lead proponent in this initiative. Meetings are ongoing with the services and DoD agencies to craft a detailed implementation plan which includes pilots, testing, potential policy modifications, and timelines. The BIC will diligently track the IT-05's progress and provide any necessary guidance or assistance.

In parallel, DoD personnel within the CAC population will soon get a new boost in their pockets. As the new military and civilian identification card, the CAC contains several technologies used to facilitate physical access and network assurance. The next generation CAC (target launch February 2003) will contain contactless technologies embedded within the plastic. Advanced physical access control systems that use contactless technologies will be able to use the CAC in the same manner as systems utilize magnetic stripe, barcode, or picture identification processes.

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