Smartcard pilot for spouses and retirees yields valuable feedback

By Magaret McBrideOctober 10, 2012

Army Policy graphic
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Oct. 9, 2012) -- In October, the Army ended a two-year smartcard pilot for 900 Army spouses and retirees, who log on to Army private networks such as Army Knowledge Online and Army self-service sites. Five installations participated.

The Common Access Card-like smartcards were an alternative to the Army Knowledge Online, or AKO, username/password login for identity authentication. The Common Access Card, or CAC, is used for identity authentication by active-duty Army members and Army civilian and contractor employees.

"We want to thank all the participants who made this pilot a success, and provided valuable feedback to the Army," said Mike Krieger, Army deputy chief information officer/G-6. "The pilot was part of a larger DOD initiative to secure sensitive personally identifiable information and personal health information data on Army and DOD private web servers."

"We found that smartcard identity authentication is not cost-effective for non-CAC holders," said Krieger, "We also found that most users preferred the smartcard." Pilot participants are again using AKO username/password to access non-FOUO sites.

The Army CIO/G-6 led the pilot with support from the Defense Manpower Data Center, AKO, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management/Installation Management Command, Army G-1, and the TRICARE Management Activity.

As part of the move to more secure login by non-CAC holders, the Army recently started moving Army self-service benefit websites to DOD Service Logon, or DSL. A transition period allows users to choose the authentication mechanism. Army applications that have begun the transition to DSL include Promotion Points Worksheet, Credentialing Opportunities Online, Army Career and Alumni Program, myMEB (Medical Evaluation Board), and Army Career Tracker.

All Army self-service sites are expected to move to DSL for non-CAC holders by 2013. At the end of the transition period, only DSL will be available. Login for other non-FOUO content on AKO remains the same for non-CAC holders. Most DOD benefit applications already use DSL (such as TRICARE and eBenefits), or are migrating.

Eligible DSL users include DOD civilians, service members (active-duty and reserve-component), veterans, retirees, spouses and family members older than 18. They can register for DSL credentials online at or in person at Veterans Administration regional offices, TRICARE Service Centers, Military Treatment Facilities, and DOD ID Issuance Facilities.

According to Krieger, the Army continues to test other authentication methods for non-CAC holders that provide access, meet Army network security requirements, and are cost-effective and convenient.

Related Links:

Belvoir testing new Smartcard Program for Army Spouses, Retirees

Army extends smart card pilot for spouses, retirees Inside the Army News

DOD Common Acces Card

DoD Logon Registration