FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 26, 2012) -- Fort Rucker will no longer issue Department of Defense decals for privately owned vehicles starting Jan. 28.

The Department of the Army released an order in September that eliminated the requirement for motor vehicle registration and the display of a decal for access to Army installations, said John Tkac, chief of physical security and contracting officer, adding that installation commanders could also choose to keep the decal system in place.

As a result of Fort Rucker adopting the policy, DOD decals won't be required for access to the post, Tkac said. Instead, people will use their common access cards or military ID cards to gain access through the installation access control points.

"The Defense Department gave military and DOD installation commanders the option of doing away with vehicle decals as a way of identifying authorized personnel," Tkac said. "Military personnel and their Families, Department of Defense employees and retirees who frequent military bases now only need to drive to the gate and show their military ID. No decal needed."

Until Saturday, current decal requirements will remain in effect. There is no mandate to remove them from the vehicle, he added.

According to Tkac there may be some uneasiness about this happening, but it's always been required that people show identification when they enter an installation, so they're being vetted based on their credentials and not the vehicle.

In an effort to standardize the ID requirements for contractors to gain access to Fort Rucker without having to be processed as a visitor for each visit, they will need to obtain a CAC or Department of the Army Civilian Identification Card, DA Form 1602. Contractors who require access to the network are generally authorized to obtain a CAC. Contractors who are not eligible to receive a CAC should obtain a DA Form 1602, Tkac said.

Contractors should contact their contracting officer representative for more information.

Along with the installation decals, black decals once issued to those who registered their vehicle through vehicle registration will no longer be valid, he said.

"Airfield decals and passes will still be issued for airfield access and requests for airfield access will not change," said Tkac. "Rank decals will no longer be issued and general officer decals will be relinquished to the protocol office, where they can be obtained."

Despite the decal changes, ID and documents such as car rental agreements, inspection, insurance and state registration are still subject to check at the gates and required to be presented to law enforcement officials or gate guards.

Soldiers, Family members, civilian employees and their commands must ensure that all POVs comply with Alabama state laws and are properly registered.

Maj. Gen. David E. Quantock, the Army's provost marshal general and commander of Criminal Investigation Command, said the move to eliminate the registration and decal display, known as DD Form 2220, came about because decals only offer a false sense of security and are redundant to the information technology systems in place at most post gates.

"Decals are really an old way of providing security for a post," he said. "Vehicles change hands and many times those decals go from owner to owner to owner and if all security counted on was a decal to give access to a post, then I think you're putting yourself at a huge vulnerability that could be taken advantage of."

As for cost savings, Quantock said that if every post and garrison did away with the decal requirement, the savings would be $256,000 a year, which is what it cost to issue 800,000 decals at 32 cents a pop.

"Over five years, it would be $1.2 million in savings and while we can be good stewards of the tax payers' dollars by taking something off the shelf that really isn't doing what we want it to do, it's really not about that," he said. "At the end of the day it's about analyzing threats and taking care of Soldiers, their Families and civilians and making sure they have the protection in place to live and work in a healthy environment."

The addition of automated card scanners may eventually make its way to Fort Rucker, said Tkac. Installations currently using these systems have been successful at catching unauthorized people trying to gain access. The systems identify outstanding warrants on individual and they alert the guard force to those who have been barred from an installation. They not only scan CAC (military ID) cards but also state driver licenses.

For more information, contact the Fort Rucker Security office at 255-0776 or 255-1258.