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CAC change aids visually color impaired security officers

New Common Access Cards will aid security officials who are visually color impaired by adding encircled letters “W” for military and civilian employees, “G” for contractors and “B” for foreign nationals. (Courtesy image)

New Common Access Cards will aid security officials who are visually color impaired by adding encircled letters “W” for military and civilian employees, “G” for contractors and “B” for foreign nationals. (Courtesy image)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Defense Department’s Common Access Card is undergoing modification to make it easier for visually color-impaired security officials to identify bearers who are military, government or contractor civilians, or foreign nationals, a Defense Human Resources Activity official said recently.

The changes to the cards are federally mandated, said Sam Yousef, the DHRA identification card and benefits policy program manager, in a DoD News interview June 16.

Beginning in July, only new CACs will be issued with the changes -- encircled letters “W” for military and civilian employees, “G” for contractors and “B” for foreign nationals, Yousef said. The encircled letter will appear under the card’s expiration date.

The letters will accompany white, green or blue bands across the cards, so security officials who cannot discern color can rely on the letter instead, Yousef said. Security officials will recognize the new format as valid DOD cards on military installations both stateside and overseas.

Another change on the CAC will be varied type size to accommodate the length of employees’ names, he said. Standard type size is 10 point, but 7-point type will be used for longer names, he explained.

New format only for new cards

Yousef emphasized that DOD employees with up-to-date CACs do not need to get new cards. The new format will only be issued for new and expiring cards.

“The change is going to be implemented through the natural life cycle of the cards, so people don’t need to have their cards replaced for this purpose,” he said.

New CAC holders and those whose cards are about to expire can update them at their Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System ID card office, Yousef said.

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