Story and photo by Dustin Senger
Fort Carson’s military personnel division started accepting online appointments Jan. 3 to decrease delays.
An online appointment scheduler has slashed average waiting times for common access cards and Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System updates from more than one hour to just five minutes, said Michael Pierson, identification cards and DEERS section chief.
“Waiting has been a concern for some time, since the growth of the installation,” said Pierson, referring to the move of 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, to Fort Carson. The identification cards and DEERS section at the Mountain Post is averaging more than 200 customers per day.
“We were looking for a new system when the Navy offered this,” said Pierson, explaining the Commander Navy Installations Command CAC program management office online scheduler.
The Web-based software assists in “controlling the flow of personnel to identification card issuance locations,” according to the CNIC PMO website, which suggests a “steady, manageable, stream of people seeking cards, instead of an unpredictable demand on their services.”
Sgt. 1st Class James Foster, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), made an online appointment during his final day in the Army, after completing 22 years on active duty and two years in the Reserve. He needed to update his DEERS record to retiree status and reissue his Family’s identification cards.
“The website asked where I wanted the appointment and I selected Fort Carson,” said Foster. “It gave me the times available, and I picked the time best for me and my Family.”
Foster began working with a verifying official three minutes after his scheduled appointment.
“The website helps you plan your day,” said Foster, who recently waited two to three hours during a walk-in appointment. “If you’re going to walk-in, plan on a long wait. But with online scheduling, you’re a priority.”
To make an online appointment, go to http://appointments.cac.navy.mil. Click the respective link to make, find or cancel an appointment, and then search by state or ZIP code.
Online appointments at Fort Carson are available from 8-11 a.m. and 12:30-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Two slots are offered every 30 minutes, which allows 28 appointments per day. Website use is monitored and available slots may increase if necessary, according to Pierson.
“We’re aware of the importance of people’s time,” said Pierson, “and we’re striving to process their needs in a timely manner.”