Do I have to log into AKO/DKO with my CAC anytime I want to access the AKO/DKO portal?
The Army, and by extension the Army Knowledge Online, has made steps to have a greater amount of security on user’s ability to access Army systems. The Common Access Card is the solution for increasing security on your account with something you know (your PIN) as well as something you have (the physical card).
If you are issued a CAC and are a direct employee of the military or government you will likely be required to use your CAC in order to change details of your account including your password and manage your sponsored accounts. If you are in a situation where you are unable to immediately access AKO/DKO using your CAC and you need a new password you can obtain a new password through the lost password function temporarily until you have a chance to log in with your CAC. You will not be able to manage sponsored accounts or change any other account details until you log in using your CAC.
If you are not a direct employee of the military or government, including Army Retired or Individual Ready Reserve, then you are not typically issued a CAC and thus not required to use a CAC to change your account information.
Please note: If you are approaching a transition period such as an upcoming retirement or change of status to IRR there will be a lag time of up to six weeks before your AKO account reflects your changed status. You will want to access your account and change your password and other account information using your CAC prior to turning it over.
CAC Protected Content
The content providers on AKO/DKO are typically users themselves. They post information about their unit or organization and control their own access rights. One of the ways content providers on AKO/DKO have to restrict their content is to require you to log in with your CAC to view the content. AKO/DKO management has no control over what content users select to require CAC access so if you have any questions please contact that content provider directly.
CAC at Home
AKO/DKO management has taken many steps to ensure that CAC access is as optional as we can make it, users are only required to log in to the portal at most once every 150 days with their CAC to update their password, but AKO/DKO content providers can elect to restrict their content to be viewable only with after you have logged in using your CAC. In those situations it might be necessary to access AKO/DKO from home using your CAC.
In order to access AKO/DKO from home you need two things; a CAC reader and the appropriate software. You should be able to be issued a CAC reader by your local network service center or operations team; they can also be found inexpensively at retail stores. To obtain the software needed to read your CAC you can visit AKO/DKO’s CAC Resource center located at: https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/241504
Once you obtain the CAC reader and software it should be as easy as installing the software, plugging in the CAC reader and inserting your CAC, then logging in with your CAC as you would at work. If you have any issues please visit the CAC Resource Center for troubleshooting instructions.