Unique DoD ID Replaces SSN

By Steve Muck - Published, January 21, 2011

A memo from the Under Secretary of Defense issued Nov. 23, 2010, (DTM 13798-10, "Social Security Numbers (SSN) Exposed on Public Facing and Open Government Websites"), addresses concerns about the potential for adverse consequences if the Social Security number (SSN) is truncated or removed as previously planned.

Primary concerns are the potential impacts to existing business practices associated with the identification of Defense Department personnel overseas, especially in theater, as well as the administration of TRICARE benefits for DoD beneficiaries. Both of these mission critical business practices rely heavily on the presence of a visual, numeric identifier on ID cards.

The updated plan includes the use of two alternative identifiers, the DoD identification number and the DoD benefits number, which will help support the broadest array of business practices while still reducing the department's reliance on the SSN. When the new plan is fully implemented, all individuals with a direct relationship to DoD will use a new identifier called the Electronic Data Interchange-Personal Identifier (EDI-PI), hereafter referred to as the DoD identification (ID) number, to be printed on all DoD ID cards. All individuals eligible to receive DoD benefits, such as commissary; exchange; and morale, welfare and recreation; or TRICARE purchased care, will receive a DoD benefits number in addition to the DoD ID number.

Plan Timeline to Remove SSNs From DoD ID Cards:

  • 2008 – 2012
    Removal of printed family member SSNs from all family member ID cards.
  • 2010
    Begin replacing the SSN with the DoD Identifier and DoD Benefits Number.
  • 2012
    Begin removal of the SSN from barcodes.
Steve Muck is the DON CIO Privacy team lead.

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