Thursday, January 14, 2010

Checking your email via Outlook Web Access (OWA) using your DoD CAC Card

This post can't provide all the details on how to do check your email with your DoD CAC Card because it varies by agency. Please remember that most agencies have rules and regulations regarding what it takes to access your email via OWA, so be sure to check with your Information Assurance section. This is intended to provide a high level overview of the steps necessary.


Most agencies will have mandatory or at the very least, recommended training.  The training should address the importance of dealing with personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive information that could be accessed via your OWA web mail. It should  also speak to your responsibilities when using OWA. These responsibilities run the gamut from ensuring that your computer is not filled with viruses and other types of malware to the proper way to end your OWA session in order to be safe. This cannot be overstated! Read it, know it. Most will also have user guides on how to use OWA.

Anti-Virus Software:

There is no reason for a DoD employee to not have valid anti-virus protection on your home computer. Especially since the DoD has free anti-virus software for home use. In fact if you plan on using OWA it would be negligent to not have a legitimate updated AV product installed...

“The DoD Antivirus Software License Agreement with McAfee and Symantec allows active DoD employees to utilize the antivirus software for home use. Home use of the antivirus products will not only protect personal PCs at home, but will also potentially lessen the threat of employees bringing malicious logic into work and compromising DoD networks. Contractors are excluded from using the software at home or on any other system not belonging to the DoD.

Note: You will NOT be able to download software if your domain is not a *.mil domain.

No technical support is provided for home users. If you have questions about the software, please contact the vendors directly for support. “

Software can be downloaded from the following site: (please remember that you have to download this software from a computer on a .mil domain.)

CAC Card Reader:

This is generally not provided by the DoD. You will most likely have to  purchase one if you want to use OWA. You can get an entire keyboard that has a CAC reader built-in, but that is rather bulky, especially if you travel with a laptop. I recommend buying a USB CAC reader . I have purchased this one and it works fine. Although I suggest that you plug it in for first use and let Windows download the newest drivers for it prior to first OWA use. It costs about $24 from Amazon.


This is the software that allows you to use your CAC card with the CAC Card Reader to check OWA.  Most agencies will have a link that you can download this from.  Check with your Information Assurance section to determine how to download the software. Most DoD agencies are using ActivClient. The most recent version is 6.2; this will work for both 32 and 64 bit computers.

We are not associated with any DoD agency.