Apple has added Smart Card support for military use to Mac OS X 10.2.3 and higher.

The Federal Smart Card Package (FSCP) software lets users gain access to a Mac using a Department of Defense Common Access Card. The software enables log-in authentication, encryption and signing of email, and login to protected Web sites.

Apple has published an Installation and Setup Guide to FSCP.

The document describes how users can use a Common Access Card to verify their permission to log in to the computer, access the computer when the screen saver is on, make changes to some system preferences panes, and install software.

The news is further proof that Apple is acquiring more recognition as a credible choice for business, enterprise and government customers. OS X is one of a list of computer platforms officially supported by the US Federal government.