DoD to reduce use of Social Security numbers

Rick Maze reports:

The Defense Department is preparing to launch a militarywide effort to reduce the use of Social Security numbers to lower the chances of identity theft for military and civilian workers and contractors.

But the announcement, included in the March 3 Federal Register, makes clear that stopping the use of Social Security numbers altogether is not feasible.

The SSN is a prize to identity thieves, but it also has become ingrained in various military uses that can’t be fully eliminated, defense officials said. They are proposing new regulations calling for a complete review of military records and reports to determine when the number isn’t necessary.

In phases, starting in 1969 and ending in 1974, Social Security numbers replaced service numbers as the primary identifier and authenticator of military personnel.


The proposed regulation, open for comment until May 3, says there are several purposes for which SSNs remain acceptable, such as for employment and tax purposes, security clearance investigations, computer matching with other government agencies, and as the primary form of identification for Geneva Conventions purposes.

In all other cases, the proposed regulation directs a review of every instance when SSNs are used in military records to determine if a replacement is possible.

Read more in Navy Times.

The Federal Register notice can be found here.

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