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Military removes social security numbers from CAC cards

9 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Kel Clark Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

The Department of Defense is working to protect the identity of service members and DoD employees.

The plan has begun to remove the social security numbers from the Common Access Cards, the U.S. DoD smart card issued as standard identification for active duty and reserve military personnel, civilian employees, non-DoD government employees and state employees of the National Guard and eligible contractor personnel, according to DoD CAC Web site,

This proposal is part of an ongoing effort to provide government personnel with the most secure and reliable forms of identification possible, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center Web site  The next-generation CAC represents significant strides in contactless technology and heralds a critical step in the evolution of personnel and national security.

The next-generation CAC is more sophisticated than the standard CAC card. It will have increased data storage and memory capacity with an integrated circuit chip, magnetic stripe and contactless capability. It will be the DoD’s solution to the new federal credential, according to the DoD CAC Web site.

The next-generation CAC is safer because it will be used for identification purposes when entering federal buildings and controlled spaces, according to the DoD CAC card Web site. There will also be improved vetting and background check requirements for all cardholders.

“This change is already taking effect on the Air Station,” said Roberta Sanders, a Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System representative aboard Fightertown. “We (DEERS) think this will be a good change in applying more security for service members and their families.”

The plan is broken down into three different phases, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center Web site.

The first phase will consist of removing the social security numbers from service members’ dependants’ cards, which began at the end of the 2008, and replacing them with X’s.

The second phase will be comprised of removing the SSN from all CAC cardholders, slated to take place at the end of 2009. The difference, however, is Geneva Conventions identification cards will retain the last four digits of their SSN.

The third phase of the plan is to remove SSNs from the barcode of the cards, scheduled to take place in 2012.

For more information about the new CAC card, visit the Common Access Cards Web site or the Defense Manpower Data Center Web site.