CAC-enabled kiosks coming to armories, reserve centers
April 21, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. (April 20, 2009) - Information security has become an increasing concern in the military. Hackers attempt to crack into the Department of Defense global information grid daily.
While the active-duty military responds with new security measures, such as the requirement to log in to government computers with a Common Access Card (CAC), traditional Guard members with no CAC reader find themselves locked out and unable to do their jobs.
Army National Guard officials began rectifying this situation last year by installing thousands of CAC-enabled kiosks at armories and reserve centers in all 54 states and territories.
More than $3.5 million has been allocated for about 8,400 kiosks around the country.
"These (kiosks) are spread across units in an armory that may only have one computer," said Lt. Col. Rodney Swann, chief of network engineering operations for the Army National Guard. "When you have units that are drilling in that armory, they have no capability to do their work."
As Internet access and e-mail become more important to the job specialties of more Guard members, these kiosks will serve a vital role.
The National Guard Bureau provides an integrated CAC reader and keyboard, said Swann. It also provides monitors for 75 percent of the kiosks fielded and the states have extra monitors for the remaining 25 percent, he added.
"Generally, it's been received very positively by the (traditional) force that before didn't have anything," said Col. Bret Slater, chief of information technology plans, programs and policy for the Army National Guard.
The kiosks will also be helpful during Soldier Readiness Processing drills.
Guard members will be able to access Army and Guard Knowledge Online and other Web sites to identify personnel issues before jumping into line. They can also fill out their periodic health assessment online to expedite the process of seeing a health provider.
"They know what issues they have and know what they need to do to get things working," said Swann.
Swann said the kiosks complement, but do not replace, the distance learning classrooms currently available in many armories.
"The distance learning computers are all personal computers that are put into a specific area that serve a different purpose," said Swann.
The main difference between the two, he said, is that the kiosks will not be equipped with word processing or spreadsheet programs - they are intended for use as an Internet portal.