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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 32
AUG 18 - 25, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Soldiers to Get Wearable Token in Place of CAC Card for Battlefield Computer Access

Aug 09, 2019
by Matthew Cox
Army Futures Command is working on a wearable identity token that will replace the Common Access Card (CAC) for connecting soldier laptops and other handheld devices to the service's future tactical network.

The Army has tasked AFC to oversee the development of a mobile, tactical network as one of the service's key modernization priorities.

Since 2001, U.S. military personnel have relied on the CAC for network and system access control, but CAC cards are not operationally suited for use in contested, enemy-controlled areas, according to a recent Army press release.

As a solution, Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), which falls under Army Futures Command, is exploring technologies to give soldiers secure and simple ways to "identify, authenticate and be authorized access to Army networks, operating systems, servers, laptops, applications, web services, radios, weapon systems and handheld devices," the release states. "The tokens are wireless, lightweight, flexible and rugged, and they can be inserted in a soldier's pocket, attached to a sleeve or integrated into a wrist band like a Fitbit."

CCDC officials envision that soldiers wearing these tokens would be recognized when they approach a system, but would still be required to enter a PIN to login, according to the release. It adds that soldiers would be automatically logged out when they walk away from the system.

"Soldiers should not have to take out a smartcard, insert it into a card reader and then remember to remove the card from the reader when they are done," Ogedi Okwudishu, project lead for the Tactical Identity and Access Management program, said in the release. "Contactless identity tokens are not only easy to use, they provide a significant cost savings for the Army. You can continue to add authentication capabilities without needing to redesign, or deploy new, tactical hardware to every laptop, server, handheld device or weapon system in the field."

Program officials hope to begin fielding the tokens in fiscal 2022.

"If done properly, it will make the authentication process a lot easier and a lot faster. Sgt. 1st Class David Worthington, senior enlisted advisor for the CCDC's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) center, said. "More important ... you can track what people are doing on the network."

* * * * *

Photo caption: The CCDC C5ISR Center is developing wearable authentication tokens that will enable soldiers to prove their identity when operating systems, devices and applications on the Army tactical network. (Spc. Dustin D. Biven/22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


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