CAC-enabled kiosk
A test model CAC-enabled kiosk stands at the New York National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Latham, N.Y. The Army National Guard is installing thousands of these kiosks at armories and reserve centers in all 54 states and territories.

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, April 22, 2009) - The Army National Guard began installing thousands of Common-Access-Card-enabled computer kiosks last year at armories and Guard reserve centers.

More than $3.5 million has been allocated for about 8,400 kiosks in all 54 states and territories, according to National Guard Bureau officials.

"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, officials said.

While the active-duty military responds to hacker attempts with security measures -- such as the requirement to log into government computers with a Common Access Card -- traditional Guard members with no CAC reader find themselves locked out and unable to do their jobs.

The kiosks will allow Guard members to log into Army Knowledge Online with a CAC card so that they can reset their AKO password. The kiosks will allow them to access other sites that require a CAC card, such as the Defense Travel System.

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. Guardmembers will be able to access Army and Guard Knowledge Online and other Web sites to identify personnel issues before jumping into line. They will also be able to 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 only as an Internet portal.

(Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum serves at the National Guard Bureau)

Page last updated Wed April 22nd, 2009 at 15:22