US Army looks to replace plastic ID cards with biometric authentication

US Army plastic ID card in use
CAC REPLACEMENT: The US Army wants to introduce biometric ID to improve access and infection control

The US Army is aiming to introduce a biometric identification and access control system at military facilities to replace its current smartcard-based Common Access Card (CAC) and reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19 through the handling of physical cards.

The Pandemic Entry and Automated Control Environment (PEACE) will enable personnel “to secure access to sensitive/classified areas, access and operations of critical weapons/respective platforms, and homeland protection in urban areas,” the US Army says in a broad agency announcement (BAA) inviting proposals to develop the biometric-enabled system.

“Current identity management requires having a physical card (something you have) which is subject to compromise and in a pandemic environment results in a significant risk to the population that is to be protected,” the BAA says.

“PEACE leverages biometric (something you are) and other metadata (something you know, ie password) already collected, so that entry operations to bases and installations can be conducted safely and the military’s mission successfully accomplished.

“Use of PEACE provides real-time validation of persons at the entry point location as well as within the installation and various facilities.”

“The objective is a flexible system of identification that is not reliant on something one is carrying and that provides a comparable or superior level of protection while providing scalable, reliable and smarter DoD [Department of Defense] force protection capabilities,” the BAA adds.

“This capability will be used across DoD and governmental agencies and would apply for commercial and general public use without compromising any aspect of the privacy or security of the process or participating individuals.”

The US Army began researching the use of contactless wearable identity tokens in August 2019.

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