The Navy is moving a step closer to letting sailors access their personnel records on cellphones and tablets without bothering with common access card authentication.

Sailors away from their commands have to use the cumbersome CAC to log in now, but that will change if ongoing tests of MyNavy Portal’s MyRecord Mobile App are successful, according to the NavAdmin message 008/17.

“The Navy is committed to transforming how it delivers human resources services — personnel, pay and training — to our sailors,” said Chief of Navy Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke, in a Jan. 9 press release.

"We are committed to expanding CAC-less services with the same level of security and convenience sailors expect from their personal banking services. In time, sailors will be able to conduct all personnel transactions using their mobile device.”

Burke, the Navy’s top personnel officer, has been campaigning to modernize the service’s human resources information technology systems.

He hopes upgrades will eventually allow sailors to negotiate their orders on their smart phones, among other innovations.

But first the Navy has to test the CAC-less system’s security technology so that sailors can safely access sensitive material. That’s what the service is doing now.

To try the app, sailors must start a multi-step registration and installation process. It begins with enabling the CAC-free setup from a desktop computer.

After sailors install the application and complete the login on their phones or tablets, they should be able to view a “read only” version of some, but not all, of their personnel data.

The main goal of the beta testing is to evaluate the security of the app. Officials plan to roll out access to more records in the coming months, once they’re assured the security system works.

That’s why they’re cautioning sailors to not rely on the app when they’re reviewing their records to prepare for selection boards. That should still be done on desktop equipment, officials say.

Sailors then will be asked to download both the MyRecord App and a Navy-approved third-party security application called Okta Verify.

“Starting with the MyRecord Mobile App launch in January, new capabilities and functionality will be released over time," Burke said in the release.

Okta Verify helps sailors set up the “multi-factor authentication account to log-into the MyRecord application,” according to the directive.

These free apps are available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Navy App Locker.

“The entire process should take less than five minutes and can be used on mobile devices with iOS version 10, 11, and 12 or Android version 6, 7, 8 and 9,” the press release said.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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