FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 14, 2013) -- Commissaries will soon begin scanning customers' Department of Defense ID cards during checkout, as the Defense Commissary Agency continues its pursuit to deliver a 21st century benefit.

The commissary at Fort Lee, Va., became the first store to scan ID cards, Oct. 22, as the first part of an agency-wide roll-out to all stores that began Nov. 10, and will be completed by mid-January.

The Schweinfurt Commissary at Askren Manor will begin scanning ID cards Nov. 19, said store manager Marie Glaser, and the roll-out should be complete for every other commissary by mid-January 2014. According to store director Peter Sloan at the Ansbach Commissary at Urlas Housing and according to the assistant store director Evelyn Hairston at the Bamberg Commissary at Warner Barracks, both commissaries will begin scanning ID cards Nov. 19, as well.

Commissary shoppers are used to showing their ID cards to establish their eligibility to use the commissary. By scanning the ID at checkout, DeCA will no longer need to maintain any personal information on customers in its computer systems, such as the system used for customers who write checks. Scanning will also assist in improving the commissary benefit for all patrons, according to Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO.

"In addition to verifying customers as authorized commissary patrons, we'll gain information that will give us a better understanding of our patrons, allowing the agency to provide the commissary benefit more effectively and efficiently," Jeu said.

Cross-referenced with other DOD data, the scan data will give DeCA useful information about patron usage, by military service, along with customer demographics that does not identify specific personal data of an individual. This will eventually help the agency identify shopping needs and preferences -- information that is essential in today's retail business environment. It will also allow more accurate reporting to military services on commissary usage.

The demographic information DeCA will use is strictly limited to card ID number, rank, military status, branch of service, age, household size and ZIP codes of residence and duty station. DeCA will not be using any personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers.

"The methods, processes and information we'll use will not compromise our customers' privacy, they can be sure of that," Jeu said. "We're putting technology to work to better understand our customers and ensure the commissary benefit continues to remain relevant to them now and in the future."

For more information on ID card scanning, visit DeCA's Frequently Asked Questions page on ID card scanning.