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Maj. Gen. Steve Smith on the Army’s Approach to Identity Management

Recently, Maj. Gen. Steve Smith, the Director of the Army Cyberspace Task Force discussed how the Army is approaching the issue of identity management with The New New Internet: “I think identity management is one of the more critical aspects of the operation. To start, take a look at how the solider operates. Today when you move through operations from your home station to a training site to a power projection platform, into the field of operations, this requires multiple email addresses, multiple phone numbers, and multiple means of data storage. So the CIO of the Army, Lt. Gen. Sorenson, along with support from the PEO EIS (Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems) and our  9th Signal Command , have developed and are implementing a concept we call GNEC, Global Network Enterprise Construct.  As a soldier (we call this the solider story) moves through that same scenario, the solider would have one email address, one phone number,  and  one means of  storage, regardless of where they are in the world of operations. So critical to that is knowing exactly who is on the network and what that person’s authorities are. The Army has implemented Common Access Cards or CAC.  The CAC contains personal data as well as biometrics data on the chip that provides us the identity of the holder of the card. So, in a sense that gives us our two-factor authentication in the Army . But along with that, the Army  also participates in working groups across the Department of Defense and the federal government to help set and meet standards for sharing and compatibility. In addition, the Army  works very closely with the biometrics task force on alternate or complimentary identity techniques, as this technology progresses even to thinking about facial recognition, finger tip, and iris scans.  At the end of the day, the Army  wants to know who is on their network and what they are authorized to do and what they are doing while they are there.”

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