446th Airlift Wing Reservists start using common access cards
By Capt. Jennifer Gerhardt, 446th Airlift Wing
/ Published March 01, 2006
MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The 446th Airlift Wing is increasing its network security levels by instituting the Smart Card.
“Each wing member who has a network account will need a common access card, a PIN number, and the proper certifications loaded on the CAC by customer service at the military personnel flight,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Ross, 446th Mission Support Squadron.
Smart Card logon capability enables users to log on to the unclassified McChord network using their common access cards and associated six-to eight-digit pin number. It presents a much higher level of network security than the user name/password combination. Additionally, Reservists benefit by being freed from having to remember another password and being forced to routinely change it.
The CAC is the standard military identification card for Department of Defense. It is issued to U.S. military forces, DoD civilian employees, eligible contractors, and eligible host nation support personnel.
In addition to being an ID card, the CAC interfaces with the DoD’s public key infrastructure via digital certificates encoded on the integrated circuit chip. PKI includes a combination of hardware, software, policies, and procedures and provides the ability to authenticate, project, and digitally sign electronic mail and documents.
“Looking at this from the outside it would appear that the Air Force trying to make it almost impossible for an individual to get on to a DoD computer, when in reality they are simply ensuring that members meet the minimum requirements to access the system,” said Sergeant Ross.
All eligible civilian employees and contractors not enrolled in DEERS should report to the MPF and bring a current ID card, second picture ID, official government e-mail address, a six-to eight-digit pin number, and a completed signed DD Form 1172-2.
“We are responsible for issuance of CAC cards as military ID cards, plus we also reset PINS,” said Technical Sgt. Linda Moore, 446th Mission Support Squadron. “However, the local area network shop will (in the near future) have the capability to reset PINS.”
The MPF hours for ID cards are Monday through Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. During Unit Training Assembly weekends, the MPF is open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m.
For Reservists, it can be difficult to update their cards because they don’t work at McChord every day. However, Reservists are encouraged to get it done as soon as possible.
“It is typical of users in general to put off this type of thing until the very last minute in hopes it will ‘go away’," said Sergeant Ross. “However, this will not. The DoD and Air Force’s intent is to protect and defend the network against outsiders. Another thing to keep in mind is that the network is a weapon system and is being treated as such.”
For more information regarding Smart Card Logon and PKI, go to the AF PKI web site at https://afpki.lackland.af.mil/html/flashindex.asp or contact the 446th MSS military personnel flight at 982-2855.