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News > Photocopying of CAC and Military ID Cards is Against the Law
Photocopying of CAC and Military ID Cards is Against the Law

Posted 3/12/2012   Updated 3/15/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt Patrick Hughes and SSgt Rebecca Jordan
374th Airlift Wing Staff Judge Advocate Office

3/12/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- **Update to information provided below: Please assume all on base processes requiring a photocopy of your military ID have been properly vetted and are for an authorized purpose furthering a Department of Defense
(DoD) benefit, or are for official business with another US government agency. These include processes at the pharmacy, military personnel, etc.


It is an all-too-common occurrence that military members and civilians come into the legal office asking for a notarized photocopy of their military identification (ID) card. They offer reasons like needing it to invite family members from other countries to visit, purchasing a house, or because some other person or entity requested it. Few people are aware that such a reproduction can not only violate DoD Regulations (e.g,, Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-3026), but also federal law.

According to Title 18 U.S.C., Section 701, "Whoever manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge, identification card, or other insignia, of the design prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States . . . or in any other manner makes or executes any engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any such badge, identification card, or other insignia, . . . except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."

AFI 36-3026: Identification Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Eligible Family Members, and Other Eligible Personnel, dated 2 November 2009, establishes that the only authorized purpose to make a photocopy of your ID card is to facilitate DoD benefits. It is "prohibited in all other instances."

Distributing photocopies of your common access card (CAC) or military ID card as a form of identification increases the ability for the cards to be replicated, subjecting our computer systems and installations to a greater risk of threat. To avoid the possibility of punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or other federal laws*, use alternate forms of photo identification such as a state driver's license, passport, or student ID.

*Note: Any person willfully altering, damaging, lending, counterfeiting or using ID cards in an unauthorized manner is subject to fine, imprisonment, or both according to Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 499, 506, 509, 701, or 1001.

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