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News > Hold onto CAC cards; lost card is a big deal
Hold onto CAC cards; lost card is a big deal

Posted 5/14/2010   Updated 5/14/2010 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. Armstrong
Tinker Public Affairs

5/14/2010 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- \While it may not seem so, losing a common access card is a big deal.

Officials said roughly 15 lost or stolen CAC cards are replaced each day and one-third of them are for repeat offenders. While the statistic may not trigger alarms, it is a cause for concern among base officials. After all, only 5 percent of lost cards are found and turned in.

"It's really serious," said Katrina Colbert, verifying official in the 72nd Force Support Squadron's Military Personnel Section's Customer Support office. "There is terrorism out there, every day."

Special Agent Justin Collins, Counterintelligence Branch chief for the Office of Special Investigations' Detachment 114, agreed.

"There are many nefarious reasons why people would attempt to gain access to the installation, so the subject can never be taken lightly," he said, adding that OSI is notified when CAC cards are reported missing or stolen.

While there is no evidence of a "black market" for CAC cards, Ms. Colbert said Tinker leadership has taken several measures to control the number of cards in circulation.

Should a civilian, active duty member, reservist or contractor need a new card, they must first speak with their squadron or group commander, or director and get a signed letter from that person -- which will go in their personnel file. Additionally, they must fill out Air Force form 1168, a statement of suspect/witness/complainant, and bring two forms of picture identification. Contractors must also pay $50 for the new card.

Ms. Colbert said because CAC cards are used in government computers and as base identification, they are more valuable than just a piece of picture identification.

"It's the nature of how serious you take your CAC," Ms. Colbert said. "If anyone is smart enough to get into those chips, they can pull all your personal data."

Agent Collins said in the past, local law-enforcement agencies have reported that they have found several military identification cards while conducting routine operations. But, it was unknown why someone had this form of identification.

Through the years, Air Force officials have changed the way they've done CAC-card business. In 2008, the look of the CAC card was modified. Additionally, at Tinker, verifying officials are no longer allowed to create new CACs. Card holders must be verified through another system as essential personnel.

Ms. Colbert said she encourages card holders to be equally protective of their cards.

"Don't be careless," she said. "Don't put your ID card in your pocket. Don't put it in your car. Keep it on you at all times."

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