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Proof of identification and affiliation with the government is no longer in the cards for civilian retirees.

In an announcement last month, the Department of Defense said its civilian retiree ID card has been eliminated.

Existing civilian retiree cards will remain valid through Aug. 31 but not thereafter. And new cards are not being issued, per a Feb. 17 notification from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros.

Reasons for the change include “advancements in installation physical access control systems,” such as the facial recognition program at Redstone, and the radio frequency ID card available only to active-duty military and government employees.

Another reason for the change is the upcoming implementation of the REAL ID Act, which requires minimum security standards for driver’s licenses in all states.

REAL IDs or Star IDs are not mandatory for Alabama residents yet, but they are available.

Getting a REAL or Star ID for the first time in Alabama requires a trip to an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency licensing office. The deadline for this type of identification to be issued to drivers everywhere is May 7, 2025.

Once the REAL or Star ID is obtained, users must then take steps to get on military installations, including Redstone, per Procedures for access to DOD installations, as established in Department of Defense Manual 5200.08, Volume 3, Physical Security Program: Access to DOD Installations.

This requires “all persons seeking such access to establish their identity, fitness, and purpose. In situations where an installation commander authorizes DOD civilian retirees limited use of morale, welfare, and recreation activities, as defined by Department of Defense Instruction 1015.10, ‘Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Programs,’ that authorized use may provide the required purpose.

“DOD civilian retirees must present an acceptable credential, such as a REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s license, and establish their fitness as described in DODM 5200.08.

Also as described in DODM 5200.08, DoD civilian retirees making such authorized use, when they are in receipt of their retirement Standard Form-50, ‘Notification of Personnel Action’ may enroll their REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s license for future use at the installation Visitor Control Center to facilitate future visits to the installation.”

At Redstone, the Visitors Center is located near Gate 9 on Rideout Road.

Civilian retirees and other REAL or Star ID holders will be eligible to enter the installation after they have been registered in the installation database.

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