Smart card logon eases computer headaches
By 1st Lt. Michael Williams , 5th Communications Squadron
/ Published June 08, 2006
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
The Air Force is eliminating passwords and requiring people to use their common access cards to log on to government computers on Minot Air Force Base starting June 15.
It is mandatory that users log on with their CAC by the implementation date. As of July 1, Air Force wide users will not be able to access the network without a CAC also called a smart card.
The Air Force is implementing smart card logon to protect users’ information and privacy. Smart card also ensures users are positively identified and validated before they access any information on a military network from a government computer.
“So much of our warfighting capability is inherent to our networks and our ability to go to war relies on our networks,” said Lt. Gen. Michael W. Peterson, the Air Force chief of warfighting integration and chief information officer. “We have absolutely got to lock the networks down. Passwords and usernames are no longer sufficient against the sophisticated hackers that are out there. It is time to move on to the common access card, and use the embedded technology on their microchips.”
In addition to passwords and usernames being no longer sufficient, smart cards should make logging onto government computers less demanding.
“Using your common access card is easier because you no longer have to remember long, difficult passwords that change every couple months,” said Staff Sgt. Michelle Lorden, 5th Communications Squadron Help Desk. “Smart card login allows you to use a six or eight digit PIN that changes only if you reset it. Identification cards can also be used to access numerous systems that currently require individual passwords, such as the Air Force Portal, Mypay, Virtual Military Personnel Flight, and more.”
To use a government computer here, users will need a smart card reader on their computer, a CAC and a valid PIN number, which must be entered to log onto the computer.
Users who don’t have a smart card reader or one that doesn’t work should contact their client support administrator. Users who don’t remember their PIN number will need to go to MPF customer service to reset the PIN number.
Because smart cards will be the only means to validate government computer users, all contractors and temporary employees using the network need to fill out a Department of Defense Form 1172-2 and go to MPF customer service to get a card issued to them.