FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Beginning Nov. 5, visitors to Fort Meade will only be required to show a Common Access Card or a military identification card to drive onto the installation. Department of Defense decals on privately owned vehicles will no longer be required.

The move comes as a result of a change in policy at the Department of the Army level which recommended that use of the decal system be eliminated. The new Army policy, first announced in late September, included an option which allowed local commanders to continue with the decal system if they chose to. Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, decided to follow the Army recommendations to eliminate the policy for installations in the National Capital Region.

Col. Edward Rothstein, Fort Meade garrison commander, says the decision made sense in light of current economic conditions.

"As we take hard looks at ways to improve services and efficiencies, we saw the elimination of the decal program as a cost saving measure which won't impact our security considerations in any way."

A Common Access Card is an ID card issued to employees of the Department of Defense and sometimes government contractors. A military ID card includes ID cards issued to active duty military, Reserve or National Guard members and retiree ID cards.

Drivers who qualify for decals who do not have one now can still register at the Fort Meade visitor control center on Reece Road and get decals until Oct. 31, 2011. After the Oct., 31 deadline decals will no longer be issued.

"You don't have to take the decals off your vehicle," said George Cartagena, Visitor Control Center Supervisor. "If you decide to remove them, wait until after Nov. 5, to do so."

As in the past, drivers who do not have a CAC, a military ID card can still obtain a daily pass by using the main gate located at Reece Road and MD Hwy 175. Visitors or contractors who require more frequent access must be sponsored by an individual or organization and registered at the Visitor Control Center for a gate access pass just as they have in the past.

"We're still open and issuing vehicle passes that are good for up to 30-days," said Cartagena. "
All vehicles driven onto Fort Meade are still required to be properly licensed, registered and insured according to state and local laws. Those entering the post are subject to a 100 percent identification check and all vehicles continue to be subject to inspection by security personnel.

"I see elimination of the decal as another measure we can take to help our neighbors in the community understand that they are welcomed on Fort Meade," said Rothstein. "We have lots of events and programs that are open to the public and you don't need a special decal to become involved with them."

Complete details about the vehicle entrance requirements can be found on the Fort Meade website at