DOD hits smart card milestone

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"The eyes have it"

One million down — 3 million to go.

The Defense Manpower Data Center handed out its 1 millionth Common Access Card, a multifunction "smart" identification card.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, received the millionth CAC card during a ceremony Aug. 28 at Fort Belvoir, Va.

"It is a monumental step in our nation's steadfast determination to accomplish information security and assurance," said Dave Wennergren, Navy's deputy chief information officer for e-business and security. Wennergren is also part of the team in charge of the Defense Department's efforts to distribute the CAC cards throughout the department.

"In less than one year from the beginning of full implementation, [more than] 1 million Common Access Cards have been issued," he said.

The CAC, as the cards are generally called, is now the standard identification for the uniformed services. The secure, multiple-application smart card is used for physical identification and building and network access.

Mary Dixon, director of the DOD Access Card Office, said that the deployment of the cards at Fort Belvoir was an excellent illustration of CAC's importance because it supports cross-agency issuance.

"This allows for all eligible personnel to obtain their CAC at any issuance site no matter what service or agency they belong to or for which they work," she said.

DOD started handing out the CACs in October 2001. Officials hope to have all 4 million cards distributed by October 2003.

The CAC is embedded with a digital certificate that will enable secure communications departmentwide.

"Many are unaware of its full capacity," Wennergren said. The integrated chip enables the storage and processing of biometrics, e-commerce functions and other potential technologies in the future, he said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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