Army mandates PKI log-on for access to NIPRnet

Complying with a recent Defense mandate, the Army has announced it will require users to use a public-key infrastructure to log on to the service's unclassified network.

The Army is implementing the Common Access Card Cryptographic Logon, which requires a smart card and a personal identification number to gain access to the Non-Classified IP Router Network (NIPRnet).

The Defense Department's Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO), headed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, set a July 31 date for all of the services and agencies to fully install a PKI to help ward off network intrusions.

JTF-GNO, which reports to the Strategic Command, is responsible for operating and protecting the Global Information Grid, DOD's classified and unclassified network.

'One of the greatest vulnerabilities of our networks is posed by weak user names and passwords,' said Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, Army CIO, in a news release. 'Spyware or keystroke tracking software can steal your username and password, and even your personal identification number or PIN. It cannot steal your CAC. The Army's goal is to eliminate the use of username and password.'

Boutelle said about 10,000 workers at Army headquarters are expected to begin using the CAC cryptographic log-on by March, with implementation moving Army-wide by summer.

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