DOD readies first aid for forgetful cardholders

Holders of the Defense Department's Common Access Card who forget their personal identification numbers can soon reset the PINs more easily.

The cards are being issued to 4 million DOD service members, contractors and civilian employees. Cardholders select their own six- to eight-digit PINs at issuance. But early on, DOD found that many users couldn't remember the PINs they had chosen, said Lt. Col. Greta Lehman, program manager for secure electronic transactions and devices in the Army's program executive office for enterprise information systems.

'It's a problem that fully half of our people could be walking around' with unusable cards, Lehman said.

Now the CAC program management office and the Defense Manpower Data Center have developed the PIN Reset application to let users obtain new numbers without going back to the busy issuing stations.

The app runs on a notebook computer equipped with two card readers and a fingerprint scanner. The certified operator and the cardholder must each insert their cards. The user's fingerprint is matched against the print template on the card. If they match, the user can select a new PIN.

CPR workstations are undergoing field tests by the Pentagon, Air Force, Navy and reserves, and the Army already has ordered 550, Lehman said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


  • senior center (vuqarali/

    Bmore Responsive: Home-grown emergency response coordination

    Working with the local Code for America brigade, Baltimore’s Health Department built a new contact management system that saves hundreds of hours when checking in on senior care centers during emergencies.

  • man checking phone in the dark (Maridav/

    AI-based ‘listening’ helps VA monitor vets’ mental health

    To better monitor veterans’ mental health, especially during the pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on data and artificial intelligence-based analytics.

Stay Connected