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Civilians may now make appointments to obtain a common access card

By Robert Goetz | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | July 27, 2009

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Waiting for a common access card or ID card at the 12th Force Support Squadron Manpower and Personnel Flight's customer service center can be a time-consuming experience, but a new policy may change that. 

An appointment system available to active-duty personnel seeking CACs has been extended to civilian employees and contractors. 

"The number one complaint across the board is the wait time," said Capt. Nicole Padgett, Military Personnel Section chief. "We're hoping that with the appointment system, we'll get things running more smoothly and more quickly for the customer. We're really hoping this will help the customer." 

Captain Padgett said civilians whose CACs will expire in 30 days or less should send an e-mail requesting a date and time for an appointment to 12msscustomerservice@randolph.af.mil, but they should allow 24 hours for a response. 

"They will get an appointment reminder or will be informed if that date and time is not available," she said. 

Captain Padgett said the center, which is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has six stations, and two are used for appointments. People who have confirmed appointments will follow the same process to sign in, but their wait should be much shorter. 

"I can't see more than a five-minute wait," she said. 

Captain Padgett said the new policy should also reduce the wait time for retirees and dependents who are seeking ID cards to access the base. 

"If we get a lot of CAC requests, others have to wait," she said. "It takes 15-20 minutes to process a CAC, depending on how systems are running; it only takes five minutes for a card for retirees and dependents." 

Captain Padgett said the new process may reduce the waiting time from an average of one and a half hours to 30-45 minutes. 

She said the customer service center is often crowded; traffic on Mondays and Friday afternoons can be especially heavy. The center also accommodates the Fort Sam Houston community. 

Captain Padgett said the keys to reducing wait time are people using the appointment system and being prepared for their appointment. Two forms of ID are required to obtain a CAC. IDs that are accepted include a current CAC, a driver's license, a passport and a Social Security card. 

Captain Padgett hopes the system will make people "more proactive." 

"We're hoping that people will look at their CACs and make an appointment, but they shouldn't e-mail asking for an appointment that same day," Captain Padgett said. "At least three days out is preferable."