New ID cards being issued for military family members, retirees

The Department of Defense began issuing Next Generation Uniformed Services Identification Cards July 31, 2020, the first time since 1993 that changes to the card have been made.

Sample of the Next Generation Uniformed Services ID card. (Courtesy image)

The complete transition to the new ID card, is targeted for January 2026, said Michael Sorrento, director of the Defense Manpower Data Center. In the meantime, the current cards will continue to work. In an effort to conserve resources and limit the impact on ID card issuance facilities, cards will not be reissued solely for the purpose of obtaining the Next Gen USID card.

Sorrento discussed the new ID cards that are for military family members, retirees and other eligible cardholders. 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.

Gloria Golden, mother of the late Capt. Jonathan Golden, 39th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot, gets her picture taken for her Defense Biometric Identification System ID card at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, July 18, 2019. Golden received the ID card as a part of the Gold Star Family Member program, which allows beneficiaries base access and other privileges on any Department of Defense installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Susan Roberts)

All RAPIDS sites worldwide likely will have the new equipment by the end of the year, he said. 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 next summer to get a new one. Even then, he added, it would be good to call ahead first to schedule an appointment.

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 on the DOD Common Access Card website at

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