WASHINGTON - The Defense Department began issuing Next Generation Uniformed Services Identification Cards on July 31, the first time since 1993 that changes to the card have been made.

Michael Sorrento, director of the Defense Manpower Data Center, discussed the new ID cards that are for military family members, retirees and other eligible card holders.

The new ID card transitions the current laminated paper card to much more durable plastic material, similar to that used for the common access cards used by military members and DOD civilians, he said.

Also, the new ID cards feature enhanced security measures that will reduce the likelihood of them being compromised, Sorrento said.

Although the new ID cards are available now, Sorrento said, only about 20 Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification Card System sites currently offer the card because new equipment is required to produce them, and that takes some time. All RAPIDS sites worldwide likely will have the new equipment by the end of the year, he said.

However, to reduce foot traffic — particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic — Sorrento said that unless a card is about to expire, it would be better to wait until summer to get a new one. Even then, he added, it would be good to call ahead first to schedule an appointment.

The complete transition to the new ID card, is targeted for January 2026, Sorrento said. In the meantime, the current cards will continue to work.

DOD is looking at future capabilities that can be provided with the new ID cards, Sorrento said. For example, users of the card may eventually be able to go online and order a card through a proper vetting process and have it directly distributed to them by mail, rather than sit in a RAPIDS office and wait for a card to be made.

The underlying technology could support greater and greater capabilities for a long time to come, he added.

More information can be found at https://www.cac.mil/Next-Generation-Uniformed-Services-ID-Card/.

Connecticut Media Group