"Cyberspace is an important component of our plan, " Wynne noted. "Its national boundaries and social/political divides are minimal barriers to operations, and anyone can become a peer competitor with the United States in this arena."
With an increased emphasis on protecting government information, the people responsible for operating and protecting the Defense Department's information grid, Joint Task Force - Global Network Operations, told them to push up its plan for desktop, laptop, server and Web site security.
One of the actions of this tasking was to implement the new logon procedures by the end of July 2006.
To satisfy the mandate, Air Force Materiel Command will implement SCL-only (smart card logon-only) base-by-base starting in April, and will continue through July, officials said.
Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. are set to implement the changes no later than April 30.
"People should ensure their computers have a CAC reader installed, along with the ActivCard Gold software," O'Neal said.
ActivCard Gold allows computers to communicate with software programs that are coded into the CAC's computer chip.
People should contact their unit's client support administrator, formerly called the workgroup manager, if they need the reader or the software installed.
"People should also make sure their cards (CAC) are working properly," said Maj. Martin Solis, Chief of the Identity Management Branch at the Air Force Communications Agency.
The process for checking CAC cards varies by base, officials said. Some bases may create a Web site that people can access to check their cards. Other bases may use email for people to send a CAC-signed message to a specific mailbox.
Another added security feature to the process allows a user only three attempts total to gain access to a government computer.
When an incorrect personal identification number is entered three times, the CAC will have to be reset from a special workstation.
"CAC PIN reset workstations are already available on all Air Force Materiel Command bases," said O'Neal. "This will help people who have forgotten their PIN or put in the wrong PIN three times."
A list of reset workstations is available from a link on the Air Force Materiel Command Web site. Unit client support administrators can assist those who need to find the nearest PIN reset workstation.
Air Force Materiel Command bases are preparing for the changes and getting people ready by individual and large briefings.
More information about the new logon procedures can be accessed through a briefing on the Air Force Materiel Command and Air Force Public Key Infrastructure Web sites.
(Capt. Paul Baldwin, Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs, contributed to this article)