Some Civilian Retirees Must Get New ID Cards or They Could Soon Be Barred from Bases

Marines with Security and Emergency Services Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, conduct daily security operations at the main gate, Jan. 6, 2020. (Cpl. Dylan Chagnon/Marine Corps)

Military bases are set to stop accepting Civilian Retiree Identification Cards after next month as part of the Defense Department's move toward a federal ID standard, though commanders may choose to continue accepting the cards temporarily.

The DoD introduced ID cards for its civilian retirees to get on base in 2009 as some installation commanders allow them to use the base's morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities.

However, in February, the department announced that it would stop issuing the cards because of a federal law that pushed states to require more documentation from residents before issuing IDs, part of the Real ID Act passed in 2005.

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Civilian Retiree ID Cards will no longer be valid after Aug. 31; instead, civilian retirees will likely need a Real ID-compliant driver's license, in addition to potentially re-registering with their local base, according to the February memo. Commanders can overrule the new requirement.

The change will not affect uniformed military retirees or their dependents.

The Real ID Act came in response to the federal 9/11 Commission report, which found that "all but one of the terrorist hijackers acquired some form of identification document" to help with conducting the attacks.

After a number of delays to enforcement, all states now issue compliant IDs. A Real ID-compliant driver's license features a star on the front of the card in the upper right corner.

The February memo that terminated the Civilian Retiree ID Cards suggested that, by presenting a Real ID-compliant driver's license and Standard Form-50 retirement document titled Notice of Personnel Action, civilian retirees could enroll at a base's Visitor Control Center "to facilitate future visits."

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has said its retirees may present Form 2574, Armed Forces Exchange Services Privilege Card, in place of the retirement form.

Officials at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, plan to enroll civilian retirees in the DoD's Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS). A Facebook post says the base will accept Civilian Retiree ID Cards that become invalid after Aug. 31 until the transition is complete and the retirees have their DBIDS cards.

"DoD civilian retirees have traditionally enjoyed MWR facilities and programs, including escorting guests on the installation at the discretion of the Joint Base Commander," according to the post. "We want to ensure that all DoD civilian retirees will continue to enjoy base access privileges while maintaining security measures."

Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, also said on its Facebook page that civilian retirees will need to apply for DBIDS cards.

The DoD is switching over to Real IDs for its civilian retirees sooner than the Transportation Security Administration, for example, will require them for airline passengers. Travelers will be able to fly with non-compliant IDs through May 6, 2025.

-- Amanda Miller can be reached at

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