What does CAC mean in military?

What does CAC mean in military? : Overview Common Access Card . Common Access Card (CAC) The CAC , a “smart” card about the size of a credit card, is the standard identification for active duty uniformed Service personnel, Selected Reserve, DoD civilian employees, and eligible contractor personnel.
Is CAC same as military ID? : One of the two forms of identification you need to present is your current, valid CAC, Uniformed Services ID card, or Civilian Retiree card. Your military ID can be renewed or replaced by submitting an online application to the Defense Department through the ID Card Office Online.
What is the purpose of a CAC? : Two-factor authentication is made possible by the CAC by using both what you have (the physical card) and what you know (the PIN). Rapid authentication and improved physical and logical security are both made possible by this CAC technology. There are numerous applications for the card.
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732,000 civilian employees, 826 000 civilian National Guard and Reserve members, and more than 1 million people total. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) will have 4 million men and women on active duty in 2021, making it the country’s largest employer.

By introducing strong employeeauthentication measures with secure card certificates and PIN codes, DoD has led digital security for the Federal government. The military CAC program has issued over 25 million smart identity badges to date.

The CAC is the accepted standard identification credential for DoD personnel and qualified third parties.

At any one time, the ubiquitous Common Access Card is being used by 4.5 millionpersonnel: 

  • Active-duty armed forces 
  • National Guard, Reserves 
  • DoD civil servants 
  • Select contractor workforce​

Thalesis is pleased to support this effort as a recognized supplier of smart cards to the DoD.

Visit the DOD ID card reference center for more information on the military CAC card, teleworking during the COVID 19 pandemic, and frequently asked questions.

These security mechanisms have been benefiting national ID card​ schemes around the world as well.


The Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) is the DoD system’s name that issues the Common Access Cards in particular.

The DoD Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) data is used by RAPIDS.

The RAPIDS ID Card Office is now available online.

What information is on the current military CAC card?​

​The microprocessor has a memory of 1​​44KB of data.

It contains PKI certificates that enable users to securely connect to online networks, encrypt/decrypt emails, and digitally sign documents with a PIN code.

It also stores :

  • two digital fingerprints,
  • the holder’s portrait,
  • PersonalIdentity Verification (PIV) certificate,
  • organizational affiliation, agency, department,
  • expiration date.

The name, birthdate, personnel category, pay category, benefits data, organizational affiliation, and pay grade are all stored in the bar code.

As of June 2011, the Social Security Number (SSN) has been replaced by the DoD Identification Number.

The DoD ID number is displayed on the back of the card.

Of course, when anemployee leaves, his/her entitlements are immediately and automatically erased thanks to the DoD identity synchronization feature.

Is the Veteran ID card (VIC) a military CAC card?

No, it’s a photo ID delivered by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and is unrelated to the CAC. With a VIC you can get discounts at many stores andrestaurants. It’s a practical way not to carry around your military discharge papers.

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Cac card: essential to every aspect of life at DoD 

The CAC card has greatly sped up administrative processing since it was introduced.

The card provides all necessary information in a single-use, preventing countless hours of busywork, such as filling out forms by hand.

Employees and contractors can complete tasks like tracking flight manifests, issuing weapons, and processing deployments in a matter of minutes rather than hours.

In terms of healthcare providers, the DoD leads the way. It accommodates nine. 5 million active-duty, retired, and family members of the military. A health insurance card is also included with the military ID card.

The only form of identification I bring to the gym is my CAC.

But the military CAC is not just atimesaver

With over 1.5 million CAC transactions logged daily, this fully scalable solution has quickly become a vital part of everything DoD employees, and contractors do throughout their workday.

There’s more.

It has streamlined many business practices and processes, making DoD operations more efficient and secure than ever. 

To refresh your memory, the Department looks after 561,975 facilities at 4,800 sites on 25 million acres.

In addition to ensuring fail-safe physical and logical security, the CAC card: 

  • Enables exact headcounts through computerized building access files 
  • Improves accountability for foodservice and recruiting functions 
  • Provides reliable authentication for healthcare and benefits processing 
  • Has served in place of a visa for deployment to Iraq 
  • It is recognized as an identification card under theGeneva Conventions.

​The future of US military ID

The DOD is collaborating with a Brooklyn-based artificial intelligence startup to replace the military CAC and create better identity, credentialing, and access management (ICAM) through deep-learning-based AI, according to a 7 February 2019 report from the website fedscoop.

However, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said inSeptember 2018 that the CAC card is still a key component of the DOD security and will remain the “principal authenticator for the foreseeable future.”

DOD also said the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s new SP 800-63 digital identity guidelines​ are central to normalizing identity management.

In a recent interview(January 2021), DoD’s Defense Manpower Data Center wants to include iPhone and Android devices and create a digital identity for its 8 million clients shortly.

So, stay tuned.

​And​ in the meantime, don’t leave your desk without it!​

Where do we fit in?

Thales is the proud partner of the US government for ePassports, the Department of Defense for military CAC cards, and state DMVs for secure IDs. 

  • More on the U.S. passport
  • More onnew driver licenses
  • more on digital driver licenses

[/lightweight-accordion]How do I install a CAC certificate on my computer? : You can get started using your CAC by following these basic steps:
Get a card reader.
Install middleware, if necessary.
Install DoD root certificates with InstallRoot (32-bit, 64-bit or Non Administrator).
Make certificates available to your operating system and/or browser, if necessary.
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One must set up their systems to access PKI-protected content if they have a legitimate authorized need to access DoD Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)-protected information but do not have access to a government website or government-provided equipment.

Your Common Access Card (CAC)’s PKI certificates are the most popular method for accessing DoD PKI-protected data. You may be able to carry out routine tasks using the certificates on your CAC, including accessing OWA, signing documents, and browsing other online PKI-protected data. Visit http://www. for more details regarding your CAC and the data it contains. cac. mil.

You can get started using your CAC by following these basic steps:

  • Get a card reader. At this time, the best advice for obtaining a card reader is to work with your home component to get one. In addition, please review theDoD CAC Reader Specifications for more information regarding the requirements for a card reader.
  • Install middleware, if necessary. You may need additional middleware, depending on the operating system you use. Please contact your CC/S/A for more information on the middlew​are requirements for your organization. Youcan find their contact information on our Contact Us tab.
  • Install DoD root certificates with InstallRoot (32-bit,64-bit or Non Administrator). In order for your machine to recognize your CACcertificates and DoD websites as trusted, run the InstallRoot utility (32-bit, 64-bit orNon Administrator) to install the DoD CA certificates on Microsoft operating systems. If you’re running an alternate operating system such as Mac OS or Linux, you can import certificates from thePKCS 7 bundle. The InstallRoot User Guide is available here.
  • Make certificates available to your operating system and/or browser, ifnecessary. Pick your browser for specific instructions.
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    To get started you will need:

    • CAC (seenote below)
    • Card reader

    You can get started using your CAC on your Mac OS X system by following these basic steps:

  • Get a card reader Typically Macs do not come with card readers and therefore an external card reader is necessary. At this time, the best advice for obtaining a card reader is through working with your home component. In addition, please reviewthe DoD CAC Reader Specifications for more information regarding card reader requirements.
  • Download and install the OS X Smartcard Services package The OS X Smartcard Services Package allows a Mac to read and communicate with a smart card. In order for your machine to recognize your CAC certificates and DoD websitesas trusted, the installer will load the DoD CA certificates on OS X. Please refer to this page for specific installation instructions.
  • Address the cross-certificate chaining Issue These instructions walk through adjusting the trust settings on the InteroperabilityRoot CA (IRCA) > DoD Root CA 2 and the US DoD CCEB IRCA 1 > DoD Root CA 2 certificates to prevent cross-certificate chaining issues. This can make it appear that your certificates are issued by roots other than the DoD Root CA 2 and can prevent access to DoD websites.
  • Configure Chrome and Safari, if necessary Safari and Google Chrome rely on Keychain Access properly recognizing your CAC certificates.
  • In Finder, navigate toGo > Utilities and launch KeychainAccess.app
  • Verify that your CAC certificates are recognized and displayed in Keychain Access
  • Note: CACs are currently made of different kinds of card stock. To determine what card stock you have, look at theback of your CAC above the magnetic strip. Most CACs are supported by the Smartcard Services package, however Oberthur ID One 128 v5.5 CACs are not. Third party middleware is available that will support these CACS; two such options are Thursby Software’s PKard and Centrify’s Express for Smart Card.


    To get started you will need:

    • CAC
    • Card reader
    • Middleware

    You can get started using your CAC with Firefox on Linux machines by following these basic steps:

  • Get a card reader. At this time, the best advice for obtaining a card reader is to work with your home component to get one. In addition, please review theDoD CAC Reader Specifications for more information regarding the requirements for a card reader.
  • Obtain middleware. You will need middleware for Linux to communicate with the CAC. The CoolKey PKCS#11 module provides access to the CAC and can be installed using Linux package management commands.
    • ForDebian-based distributions, use the command apt-get install coolkey
    • For Fedora-based distributions, use the command yum install coolkey. The CoolKey PKCS #11 module version 1.1.0 release 15 ships with RHEL 5.7 and above and is located at /usr/lib/pkcs11/libcoolkeypk11.so.

    If you prefer to build CoolKey from source, instructions are included in theConfiguring Firefox for the CAC guide.

  • Configure Firefox to trust the DoD PKI and use the CAC. To configure Firefox to communicate with the CAC, followthese steps to install the DoD root and intermediate CA certificates into the Firefox NSS trust store, load the CoolKey library, and ensure the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) is being used to perform revocation checking.
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    Next Steps

    Your internet browser is now set up to use the certificates on your CAC to access DoD websites. After setting up your machine correctly, please log in and visit our End Users page for more details on using the PKI certificates on your CAC.


    Additional Question — What does CAC mean in military?

    How do I register my CAC for free?

    The procedure is very simple and easy to understand. To proceed, first log in to the official CAC registration website. The www. is now accepting CAC Business Name Registrations. cac. gov. https://pre. ng cac. gov. ng/login registration portal

    What certificates does the CAC card contain?

    Card Body Information
    Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates that enable cardholders to “sign” documents digitally, encrypt and decrypt emails, and establish secure online network connections.
    Two digital fingerprints.
    Digital photo.
    Personal Identity Verification (PIV) certificate.
    Organizational affiliation.

    How do I install my military CAC certificates in Windows?

    Steps for Installing Your CAC Reader on Your PC Overview Verify that your CAC Reader is compatible with your PC. Verify that your PC will accept the CAC reader. Update your DOD certificates. Check to make sure you have the appropriate ActivClient for your branch.

    How do I add CAC certificates to Chrome?

    For Google Chrome:
    Navigate to Tools > Options > Under the Hood and click Manage Certificates in the HTTPS/SSL section.
    On the Personal tab, review the list of certificates to determine if your CAC certificates are in the list.
    If the certificates appear in the list, you are finished.

    How do I setup a smart card in Windows 10?

    How to use virtual smart cards in Windows 10
    Create the certificate template needed for virtual smart card enrollment.
    Create the virtual smart card powered by the TPM.
    Enroll for the TPM virtual smart card certificate.
    To verify that you have a TPM installed, run tpm. msc. Note the following information:

    How do I install smart card reader on Windows 10?

    Windows 10: Right click the Windows logo (lower left corner of your screen). Click System, select Device Manager link (upper left corner of the screen), scroll down to Smart card readers, select the little triangle next to it to open it up.

    Are CAC readers plug and play?

    Most newly purchased CAC Readers are plug and play, which does not require you to manually install a driver!

    Why is CAC blocked?

    Your Smart Card is BLOCKED if you have three incorrect PIN (Personal Identification Number) entries.

    Do card readers need drivers?

    When a visitor enters with their own memory card, a card reader is also helpful. A card reader is simple to use, and most of the time it connects to the computer without the need for additional drivers. Less wear is placed on card readers’ memory card connectors.

    How do you detect a card reader?

    Search for a device called Memory technology devices in Windows 10’s Device Manager. Your computer or laptop lacks a card reader if this component is missing. You can view the name of your card reader by expanding the device, if it’s there.

    Why do card readers stop working?

    If your card reader isn’t working, it could be because your operating system or memory card are incompatible with the reader. With other drives, the drive letter is incompatible. It lacks or has an outdated card reader driver.

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