The Army sees bigger role for its proposed ID and authentication token

The Army sees bigger role for its proposed ID and authentication token

A Bluetooth token being designed by the U.S. Army for its own personnel in the field is being considered for a broader role. The contactless token could also be used to give wearers access to medical and enterprise information technology systems.

The goal, set last fall, is to improve upon the common access card, or CAC, that has been issued to soldiers, officers and contractors for 19 years.

Tokens likely would be tied into off-the-shelf biometric readers to restrict access to secured areas and resources as early as 2022. The Army reportedly looked at hundreds of products, but found none that met its criteria

Army Futures Command designers want to create an off-the-shelf, public key-enabled token using current protocols and communication systems. In fact, the plan is to put a system in the field that does not require specialized reader hardware.

When ready, the prototype token be the basis of a request for proposals for private sector manufacturers.

The tokens originally were seen by the Army as a way to identify, authenticate and give personnel in the field access to restricted resources. The tokens would be better in tactical environments because, unlike a card, they would not force the owner to stop to insert anything in a reader — a device susceptible to failure in environments more primitive than a warehouse.

But now, according to trade industry reports, the Army is considering widening the role for tokens to include controlling access to strategic-level uses and settings. Personnel could be detected wirelessly as they arrived at a checkpoint and told to log in with a passcode or biometric signature.

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