Certain Gold Star and next-of-kin survivors are expected to find it easier to visit Fort Knox since a new Army policy went into effect in January.The new survivor’s access policy allows qualified family members to obtain a survivor access card, which enables them to get through gate security more easily and travel on post without an escort to attend events and take advantage of authorized services and facilities.“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 resulted from Section 626 of Public Law 115-232, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The law recognizes survivors as having a valid requirement for long-term, unescorted access to Army installations.Fort Knox SOS Coordinator Jeanette Hack said this is one way the military is keeping its promise to care for the families of Soldiers who gave their lives for the nation.“This is another way to let those families know that they will always be connected to the military community and that their sacrifice will always be honored,” said Hack.According to U.S. Installation Management Command Policy Memo 608-1-2, Eligible survivors are those who meet the same criteria to receive the Gold Star lapel button or Gold Star Next-of-Kin Lapel Button, including widow or widower, parent, child, stepchild, child through adoption, brother, half-brother, sister and half-sister.Among the services available to Gold Star spouses and next-of-kin family members is the Army Survivor Outreach Services program, which provides dedicated and comprehensive support through a network of civilians serving as advocates for survivors. SOS staff can assist survivors to access benefits available to them at their local installation, such as career and financial counseling.Fort Knox’s SOS office will also work with Gold Star Families to file their paperwork with the Fort Knox Directorate of Emergency Services.“After SOS [validates] a Gold Star Family and after we’ve conducted a clean background check, we’ll produce the AIE plastic card pass at the Chaffee (Main) Gate Visitor Center,” said Jamie Desrochers DES chief of physical security. “This digital card will say ‘Gold Star’ at the bottom and will be good for three years. The cards can also be renewed at the Visitor Center.”Survivor’s access cards will be consistent across the Army. DOD leaders are determining policy to provide reciprocity for survivor cards across all services.For more information on SOS or to apply for a Survivor Access Card, visit https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/personal-assistance/survivor-outreach or call 502-624-2006.