FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 5, 2020) -- A new access policy is making it easier for Gold Star and next-of-kin family members to enter installations across the Army.Soon, eligible members will be able to receive a new digital access badge to enter post unescorted at Fort Drum, once the electronic access control system at the gates is upgraded to Automated Installation Entry (AIE) later this year.For now, surviving family members can still use the DA Form 1602 card issued at the Casualty Assistance Center in Clark Hall, or have a digital access card (valid for three years only at Fort Drum) issued to them at the Visitor Control Center.The Fort Drum Survivor Outreach Services support coordinator works with the Directorate of Emergency Services to get the required background clearance for applicants to receive post access. The driver's license or state identification used for documentation must be in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.The process will be the same for the new Survivor Access Badge once the AIE is operational. The new card does not grant any additional benefits or privileges, nor does it allow cardholders to escort additional guests onto post.According to the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, the Survivor Access Badge will be consistent across the Army and will be valid for three years."The Army values people, especially our Gold Star spouses and family members," said Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command. "This change allows them to more easily receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled, and helps enable them to remain connected to the Army."The new process was a result of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which recognizes survivors as having a valid requirement for long-term, unescorted access to Army installations.Fort Drum hosts several events annually to honor Gold Star and next-of-kin family members, and the Survivor Outreach Services staff provides support services ranging from bereavement counseling, benefits assistance and financial counseling.2020 events for Gold Star families include:*Gold Star Spouse Day - April 5 *Gold Star Mothers and Family Day - Sept. 27 *Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony - Oct. 1For more information about visitor access at Fort Drum, visit https://home.army.mil/drum/index.php/about/visitor-information.For more information on Survivor Outreach Services at Fort Drum, call (315) 772-6357 or visit https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/personal-assistance/survivor-outreach.