FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker ID Card Section services over 155,000 active-duty Soldiers, family members, retirees, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, foreign students, contractors and Department of Defense employees for the local Wiregrass community and beyond.

In addition to our standard customer base, we are faced with the mission of producing in excess of 3,200 additional expiring Common Access Cards within a 90-day period. This process began July 10 and runs through Sept. 30 in support of the Aviation maintenance contract. We have directly coordinated a surge plan with the Aviation Center Logistics Command and are working these actions in concert with the government contracting officers representatives. It is imperative that these contracted employees do not attempt to schedule an appointment through the normal process.

As a reminder to all other customers, the Directorate of Human Resources, ID Card Section is an appointment-only system. It is open Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Emergency walk-in customers are limited to retiree ID cards (blue card), lost or stolen ID cards, personal identification number resets (non-working card), DD Form 1172, and in- and out-processing Soldiers.

Wait times for walk-in customers can vary from five minutes up to two hours, depending on the throughput for any given day or the type service required. We ask for your patience and understanding as we strive to service our customers as efficiently as possible.

It is imperative that individuals show up for their appointments on-time. In the event an appointment needs to be cancelled, call the ID card section at 255-2182 or use the online appointment system prior to your scheduled appointment day.

For all new Department of the Army civilians, organization sponsors should schedule an appointment once the employee orientation date has been provided by the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. It is critical you do not wait until the employee's actual first day of duty and attempt to schedule an appointment. If organizations are not proactive, it could be weeks before the new employee can obtain a CAC.

The same can apply for DOD contractors, once their information has been placed within the Trusted Associate Sponsor System the trusted agent or contracting officers representative will need to proceed immediately to the Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification site and schedule a CAC appointment.

As the director of human resources, my top priority is taking care of our customers. My ability to accomplish this hinges partially on proactive efforts by the customer. The CAC is an accountable item, and people need to remember to treat it as such. There are impacts beyond our control, such as worldwide systems outages and card chips that fail; however, the most common issue impacting efficiency continues to center around customers who are unaware of the process, do not plan appropriately or fail to show up for appointments.

I remind all ID card customers who do not meet the emergency criteria above to utilize the RAPIDS scheduler located on the Fort Rucker Home page to make their appointments or contact the ID Card Section. Our customers can make an appointment to renew their CAC/ID cards up to 90 days prior to the expiration date.

Another common issue with expiring cards is that many users turn off the automated notification they receive from their computers 90 days before it actually expires. I would caution all to either continue to let the system remind you or schedule your appointment before you deactivate the message pop up. Make sure and place a reminder on your calendar to keep you on track for a successful experience obtaining your new card. These efforts will assist in streamlining our process and reducing the extended wait times some may have experienced.

To be fully prepared for a successful appointment, visit: http://www.cac.mil/docs/required_docs.pdf for a complete list of requirements for each type of ID card appointment or give our local office a call at 255-2182.

To make an appointment, please visit: https://rapids appointments.dmdc.osd.mil/appointment/building.aspx?BuildingId=876.

• Click on the calendar on the right side of the screen, select the date you would like to make your appointment (only dates in green are available).
• On the next screen, a list of available dates will appear. Select the time you prefer.
• Fill in your information and select, "Submit."
• The next screen will have your appointment confirmation number. You may print this out, or if you entered your email address on the previous screen, the confirmation will be emailed to you. Please retain your confirmation number.
• Click "OK" and you are finished.

As a reminder, if a DAC is transferring employment locations from one DOD installation to another, there is no need to confiscate the CAC. The same applies for DOD contractors who are transferring from one contract on Fort Rucker to another contract located on Fort Rucker. Contractor CACs do require the TA for both organizations to communicate and the gaining contract TA must update the employee's contract number within the TASS.

In a resource-constrained environment it can be tough to manage expectations; however, everyone's efforts to assist in awareness of and complying with the processes can go a long way.

I truly appreciate your support, understanding and assistance as we work towards improving the overall experience within the Fort Rucker ID Card Section.