Military, VA get smart

The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs last week announced advances in their smart card programs.

n DOD began upgrading and expanding the worldwide infrastructure that will enable it to issue smart cards to military and civilian employees, selected reserve-duty personnel and some contractors.

This phase, which lasts until August 2002, involves installing hardware and software upgrades to the 1,300 work-stations known as the Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System.

Smart cards, which will become the new military identification cards, will provide access to buildings and systems, and store a security hardware token to support public-key infrastructure.

DOD has issued 15,500 smart cards in the program, which is still in beta testing at 70 sites. By the end of 2002, DOD expects to have issued 4 million smart cards.

n Four Army posts beta tested the card over the past six months, and now the Army will begin fielding cards at eight sites: Fort Monmouth, N.J.; Fort Meade, Md.; Somerset-National Guard, N.J.; Tobyhanna, Pa.; 352nd Civil Affairs Command-Reserve, Md.; Fort Hamilton, N.Y.; Fort Detrick, Md.; and Fort Myer, Va.

The card stores user information designed to automate many of the ways the Army goes about garrison business.

n The VA plans to expand the number of employees who will receive smart cards through a pilot program that it hopes will become permanent.

The VA Express Card project, launched in January, has issued about 11,000 smart cards to employees in Iron Mountain, Mich., and Milwaukee. The VA plans to issue an additional 40,000 cards at those sites this year.

The goal is for veterans to have one card recognized by all parts of the VA.

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