DoD to begin phasing out SSNs on ID cards

By Jared Serbu
Federal News Radio

The Defense Department will begin the second phase of its plan to reduce its reliance on Social Security numbers this summer, removing the printed numbers from servicemembers’ military identity cards.

Starting June 1, DoD will begin to print Common Access Cards (CACs) with a new, unique identification number instead of the cardholder’s Social Security Number, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. The military also will issue a second, 11-digit benefits number to cardholders who are entitled to military benefits such as commissaries and healthcare services.

CACs are DoD’s implementation of Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 identification cards, and are held by uniformed servicemembers, civilians and some military contractors.


The move is part of a broader DoD SSN reduction plan. In an earlier phase, the department began removing the numbers from dependents’ ID cards. A final phase, slated to begin later this year, also will remove the numbers from machine-readable barcodes printed on the cards.

DoD is responding to a 2008 mandate from the Office of Management and Budget that agencies eliminate all non-essential uses of Social Security numbers in order to prevent identity theft.

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