April 26, 2012

Army extends smart card pilot for spouses, retirees

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 19, 2012) — The Army recently extended its smartcard pilot for Army spouses and retirees through September after what officials called a very positive response to the pilot program, which began in October 2011.

The Army is evaluating smartcard identity authentication as an alternative to username/password login to websites, such as Army OneSource, Army Family Readiness Group, milConnect, TRICARE Online and Army Knowledge Online, known as AKO.

Army spouses and retirees living near Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Jackson, S.C., are being asked to register for a smartcard, or renew their card by visiting the Smartcard Pilot page on AKO at

The Army Spouse and Retiree Smartcard Pilot is part of a larger initiative to secure sensitive data on Army private web servers, G-6 officials said. The smartcard’s public-key-infrastructure, or PKI-based authentication provides a more secure and convenient way to access Army and DOD online resources that contain personally identifiable information, they said, adding that the Army is also considering other solutions for family and retiree logon.

From October 2011 to March 2012, more than 700 smartcards were issued to Army spouses and active-duty, Reserve and National Guard retirees across five pilot installations. Surveys showed that 93 percent of respondents preferred using the smartcard over username/password and 64 percent used the smartcard at least once a day or several times per day to access Army and DOD websites.

The Army wants input from new smartcard users as well as from spouses and retirees who were accepted into the pilot’s first phase. Pilot participants will have the same level of access to information as before, the only difference will be how they make the initial connection.

The Army chief information officer/G-6 is executing the pilot with support from the Defense Manpower Data Center, AKO, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management/Installation Management Command, Army G-1 and the TRICARE Management Activity.

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