Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: Common Access Card: Mission E-Possible

Common Access Card: Mission E-Possible
New ID Card provides reliable and secure physical and cyber access through the use of a single multi-functional Smart Card
By Kim I. Plyler - January-March 2002
From the invention of underwater warfare to the modern anti-missile defense technology of today's warfighter, the Department of the Navy (DON) is at the forefront of technology. The current use of Smart Card technology in the new Common Access Card (CAC), enables the DON to take the Department of Defense (DoD) lead in reengineering business practices.

"The CAC is a crucial asset for our Revolution in Business Affairs. The combination of technologies on the card makes it a powerful enabling tool to change and improve business practices by smoothly integrating into our current infrastructure. This technology will help us to streamline existing paper-based and labor-intensive business practices," said Rob Carey, eBusiness and eGovernment team leader for DON CIO.

The Common Access Card is a priority effort within the DoD. Public Law 106-65, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, directs the DON to cooperate with DoD to develop plans to utilize Smart Card technology as a means of enhancing readiness and improving business processes throughout the military departments. The Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) Memorandum, Smart Card Adoption and Implementation, November 10, 1999, mandated the implementation of the CAC.

"The CAC is the new military Geneva Convention Identification Card (ID). It also currently serves as the principal card used to enable physical access to buildings and controlled spaces, it is the principal card used to enable computer network and system access, and the primary platform for the PKI authentication token, which will allow a user to sign on to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), and use their PKI credentials to sign and encrypt e-mails as well as access secure Web sites," said Carey.

NMCI is envisioned to be an all-encompassing information and communications solution. It will leverage the National infrastructure and connect the "E" in Enterprise Resource Planning. Bringing the Department together using the NMCI will afford an unprecedented level of security and global connectivity to enable our civilians, Sailors and Marines to reach the rich intellectual resources that extend throughout the Naval Enterprise.

The DON is working closely with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), other military departments, federal agencies, and industry to ensure implementation of interoperable Smart Cards. The DON is currently leveraging applications and lessons learned from numerous efforts to continue to improve, and expand Smart Card technology usage throughout the DoD.

The CAC program is a DoD program -- and all Services issue cards using the same primary systems --the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), the Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) and the DoD PKI Certificate Authority system. "The DON has been at the forefront of card issuance to date. Currently we are operating stations at NAVAIRSYSCOM; Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River; Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) China Lake; Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane; Naval Air Engineering Center (NAEC) Lakehurst; NAWC Orlando, and numerous temporary stations in selected areas in support of NMCI," said Captain Charlie W. Bell, NAVSUP CAC eBusiness Director. Mass card issuance was completed at SPAWAR Headquarters and SPAWARSYSCEN San Diego.

The DOD has issued more than 89,000 CACs; 66,000 of those have been issued by the DON. Card issuance is an ongoing process. Under the DoD Access Card Office upgrade schedule; all DEERS/RAPIDS stations will be upgraded to issue the CACS over a 65 week schedule. Once a DEERS/RAPIDS site is converted to be able to issue a CAC, the site will begin issuing CACs as needed. This will include the initial issue to authorized users and normal sustainment issuance due to promotions, card expiration date, or other valid reasons, commented Bell.

Additionally, a secondary means of issuing a CAC is through the DON mass issuance plan. This plan augments the sustainment capability by providing additional DEERS/RAPIDS workstations on a temporary basis to meet the requirements of the NMCI implementation schedule and to offset the increased requirements on the sustainment infrastructure at high population locations.

Under the current DON mass issuance plan, the CAC eBusiness office in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, expects to complete mass issuance at these additional sites by the start of January 2002: Ventura County, California; Bethesda, Maryland; Nebraska Avenue Complex/Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.; Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; White House Communications Agency, Washington, D.C.; McDill Air Force Base (AFB) (CENTCOM only) and New Orleans, Louisiana.

"As we move into the next millennium, we will continue to expand the use of Smart Card technology to enhance missions, improve quality of life and reduce costs. We will leverage the lessons learned from our Smart Card deployment thus far, to move away from storing large amounts of data on the card and, instead, Web-enable our existing databases to allow our military and civilian personnel secure access to applications around the world," said Carey.

"The challenge will come as we embed this enabling technology in the end-to-end system reengineering of long-established, paper-based business practices. This means cultural change. We must all work to encourage our people to innovate and explore new ways to take full advantage of this technology. Smart Card technology on the CAC, coupled with the connectivity of the NMCI, offers the opportunity to achieve and harness the benefits of a secure, Web-enabled infrastructure supporting our warfighters," said Carey.

The DON CAC office has overseen the development and implementation of numerous Smart Card-based applications to date. Below are descriptions of the applications that are currently in use.

Property Accountability

Property Accountability is a software application that allows you to create an electronic database of items and users. A user is anyone who may be issued an item. You can use Property Accountability to track all item transactions, including issuance and return. The application allows items to be categorized as active, defective, lost, etc. Property Accountability records this information in the database and on the user's Smart Card.

Joint Card Maintenance

Joint Card Maintenance is a software application used to update cardholder information on Joint Services and Multi-technology Automated Reader Card (MARC) Smart Cards. As an administrator or operator, you can use Joint Card Maintenance to change any information not printed on the card (PIN, meal entitlement code, status, etc.), back up the cardholder's data in the database, and move cardholder data to a new Smart Card. Joint Card Maintenance also allows you to create customized administrative reports.

Manifest Tracking

Manifest Tracking is a software application that enables users to efficiently track military personnel and their baggage. As military personnel arrive at a location, or embark and debark on a mission, they are registered in a database. Individuals can register by presenting their Smart Cards, or the user can enter the individual's data manually. The application may also be used for muster or meeting/training attendance.

Joint Warrior Readiness

Joint Warrior Readiness is a software application used to determine deployment readiness through the use of Smart Cards. Deployment requirements are set up initially by the system administrator to create various deployment scenarios and functional areas. The following are examples of deployment functional areas important to the cardholder's readiness: command, personal, medical, dental, and training. When a cardholder reports to the central workstation, his/her card is inserted into the reader. The application displays the overall deployment readiness of the cardholder. The cardholder is then referred to the applicable functional area workstation to determine the nature of the deficiency.

Joint Food Service

The Joint Food Service application enables dining facility officers to manage food service more effectively through an electronic head count of all diners. The Joint Food Service application reads and collects meal entitlement information from the Smart Cards of military personnel. The application also allows staff to process and count military and civilian diners who do not have Smart Cards. Head count information is then uploaded to the Food Management System. The benefits of this application include more accurate and timely head count data, elimination of paper meal cards, elimination of redundant data entry, faster processing of diners, and reduction in waste, fraud, and abuse.


The SmartImmune application is an automated medical documentation system for client-server architecture. It uses the Smart Card's integrated circuit chip to identify patients and to record the immunizations administered to military personnel. It also collects additional related immunization information and generates various reports to track day-to-day immunization activity. SmartImmune is intended for use in remote and/or high volume areas.

Smart Dental Information/ DENCAS

DENCAS (Dental Common Access System) allows the dental community to examine and evaluate the dental treatment needs and dental productivity of the entire Navy through a secure Web accessible central data repository. Enhanced data management is accomplished by consolidating the patient and productivity data from approximately 400 stand-alone databases that currently exist at Navy Dental clinics. This is the first time that the dental community will have the ability to conduct data mining from a central repository that contains all of the patient treatment needs and workload productivity data. This improved capability will enable the dental community to evaluate future dental manpower requirements through treatment needs trend analysis. DENCAS will also assist the dental community in evaluating current manpower assignments based on workload needs weighed against productivity data. The improved requirements and productivity visibility will enhance Navy dental readiness and health.

Visitor Control

The Visitor Control Application is designed to track visitors to a facility through the issuance of Smart Cards. The application requires each facility visitor to be given a Smart Card. These Smart Cards are numbered so they can be tracked, and they are color coded so facility officials can quickly identify the status of each visitor. They are also electronically encoded with visitors' demographic information. The application database keeps a record of visitors, cards, card issuers, and visited recipients.

Personnel Accountability (Manned Pegcheck)

Manned PegCheck is a software application that records the status of personnel as they check in and out of facilities. Personnel can be checked in or out using their Smart Cards or by being manually added to the list of cardholders. Pictures of the cardholders can be displayed when Smart Cards are used, which adds a higher level of security to the check-in process.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)Participation Tracking

Participation Tracking is an application that electronically tracks patrons' use of an MWR facility. Data is gathered from patrons by reading and recording information from their Smart Cards. The data may also be gathered from patrons who manually enter their information into Participation Tracking.

Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO News
Related DON CIO Policy

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer