DOD to Drop Social Security Numbers from ID Cards

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 — Begin­ning June 1, Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers on mil­i­tary iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards will begin to dis­ap­pear, said Air Force Maj. Mon­i­ca M. Matoush, a Pen­ta­gon spokes­woman.
The effort is part of a larg­er plan to pro­tect ser­vice mem­bers and oth­er DOD iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card hold­ers from iden­ti­ty theft, offi­cials said.

Crim­i­nals use Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers to steal iden­ti­ties, allow­ing them to pil­lage resources, estab­lish cred­it or to hijack cred­it cards, bank accounts or deb­it cards.

Cur­rent­ly, the Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber is print­ed on the back of com­mon access cards, and on the front of cards issued to depen­dents and retirees. Begin­ning in June, when cur­rent cards expire, they will be replaced with new cards hav­ing a DOD iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber replac­ing the Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber, offi­cials said. The DOD iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber is a unique 10-dig­it num­ber that is assigned to every per­son with a direct rela­tion­ship with the depart­ment. The new num­ber also will be the ser­vice member’s Gene­va Con­ven­tion iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber.

An 11-dig­it DOD ben­e­fits num­ber also will appear on the cards of those peo­ple eli­gi­ble for DOD ben­e­fits. The first nine dig­its are com­mon to a spon­sor, the offi­cial said, and the last two dig­its will iden­ti­fy a spe­cif­ic per­son with­in the sponsor’s fam­i­ly.

Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers embed­ded in the bar codes on the back of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards will remain there for the time being, and will be phased out begin­ning in 2012. The depart­ment will replace iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards as they expire.

“Because cards will be replaced upon expi­ra­tion, it will be approx­i­mate­ly four years until all cards are replaced with the DOD ID num­ber,” Matoush said. The iden­ti­ty pro­tec­tion pro­gram began in 2008, when DOD start­ed remov­ing Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers from fam­i­ly mem­ber iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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