CAC Identity Crisis

Proponents of the Defense Department's multifunction "smart" identification card — the Common Access Card — say that the card is amazing but is suffering from an inferiority complex, at least at the Pentagon.

The CAC is supposed to be the standard ID card for members of the uniformed services to use as a personal ID and to gain access to buildings and computer networks. Last week, however, we reported that people were complaining that the cards have not provided access at some sites, including the Pentagon.

Rob Carey, e-business and smart card policy lead for the Navy Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer, which is leading the CAC rollout, said that CAC officials are working with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency to allow personnel to use their CACs as the official ID at DOD's headquarters.

But the CAC "was not designed as a one-size-fits-all" card, Carey said in a Sept. 10 briefing.

The Pentagon ID card has coding that, for example, would let a person carry a firearm in the building, he said.

The Pentagon would have to change how they check IDs to accept the CAC, he said.

Some service people are still waiting. "I just wish the CAC was delivering today upon the promises of yesterday," said one CAC holder. "Hopefully, tomorrow...but I'm not holding my breath!"

Procurement Shop Repairs

Have you heard the buzz surrounding a reorganization of DOD's procurement shop?

The Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington, D.C., industry group, recently said that Deidre Lee, director of Defense procurement, has been named head of a newly formed DOD acquisition policy operation that will combine her current duties with those of the DOD Acquisition Initiatives operation.

Lee will lead a review of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy's Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Defense FAR with the goal of making "acquisition rules more operationally related to current DOD operations," the coalition said.

There have been discussions about a broad reorganization of the acquisition team led by Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

But we couldn't get much on the record.

"At this point, all the folks in [acquisition, technology and logistics] I have pinged on this say that it is too early to discuss as things are still moving," a DOD spokesperson said.

Can You Hear Me Now?

President Bush to the bat phone. Well, not exactly. But the Defense Information Systems Agency is upgrading the communications systems that are available to the president anytime and anywhere.

DISA is working with the White House Communications Agency, which is responsible for the communications systems that support the president and his staff. The two agencies identified major systems upgrades at locations including Camp David, Md., and the "Southwest Wing," Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., director of DISA.

DISA has helped deploy a secure videoconferencing system for the president and has plans for an IP-based networking system and a secure wireless solution "to support the president and those who protect him," said Raduege, speaking Sept. 10 at the Homeland Security and National Defense Symposium in Atlantic City, N.J.

Later this month, DISA will complete the first phase of additions to the secured Defense Red Switched Network, which can put the president in contact with key federal personnel.

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About the Authors

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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