Archive for August, 2013

In 1994, the Department of Defense was once the leader in technological communication. They were the pioneers of email, the internet, and video tele-conferencing (VTC). Now in 2013, the DoD is now lagging behind in tech innovation, particularly in their ever-frustrating new Enterprise Email System.

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Unlike most web-based email systems, the Enterprise Email System does not let you login with a username and password. No, you must use your Common Access Card (CAC) pin to get inside. Just another way for Intelligence specialists to keep tabs on your every move – they know it’s you because all your personal data is kept on that gold little chip in your CAC!

But what if you’re the type of person who prefers to check his or her email on your mobile phone? Where are you supposed to stick your CAC? Fear not because they now make completely compact CAC readers for your phone. Just plug in the adapter and stick your CAC in and it will measure nearly 8 inches in length. Try fitting that into your pocket!

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But it’s not as easy as simple plug and play. You must first download all the plugins from militaryCAC. And unfortunately, they will not work on any browser other than Internet Explorer, because that’s obviously the most secure browser in the modern age. Once you enable your plugins and disable the more updated TSLs and SSLs, you MIGHT be able to actually log in with your pin. However, to make this EE Webmail system even more secure, a dialog box will pop up every two minutes asking you to enter your pin again, even if you are typing mid sentence. You can’t get more security conscious than that!

This email system is so secure that many members of the DoD can’t even access it from their own personal computers. Most agencies won’t let their employees take home their work computers due to operational security, so how are they supposed to get the word about breaking events? And with the budget cuts this year, the DoD will soon be short on government issued laptops for its people, forcing them to use their personal laptops. This creates quite an ironic scene. A government agency that was once at the top of the tech revolution is now too secure for its own good.  EE Webmail is a living, breathing example of how more security leads to less efficiency. And how are people handling this problem? Instead of finding alternatives, they are simply refusing to use the system. They are turning to texting or civilian emails which are completely unsecure, while their EE Webmail inboxes that they can’t even check are slowly building up with more spam and shotgun blasts than a clogged artery.  But why even try to clean them out if it requires CAC registration and a full background check to even access your email?  After all that should be pretty easy – the NSA has collected most of that info from your civilian email account anyway.

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“Some people like to make life a little tougher than it is.”

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