Military bases will no longer accept Washington driver's licenses as ID
The Department of Defense says U.S. military bases will no longer accept driver's licenses from five states, including Washington, as valid proof of identification because those states are not compliant with a 2005 federal law.
The feds announced the decision Wednesday. Going forward, residents from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington will need another form of ID, like a passport, to enter, officials said.
According to the DoD, service members, family members, DoD employees, and federal employees with the DoD common access card, DoD uniformed services identification and privileges cards, federal personal identification verification cards or transportation workers’ identification credentials are not affected, as these cards are authorized in DoD policy to facilitate physical access to installations.
“All federal agencies including DoD must comply with the law regarding the use of REAL IDs for official purposes,” an official said. “For most DoD installations, an identification card or an installation pass is required to facilitate access. Hence, where an ID or an installation pass is used for physical access, DoD installations are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or state identification cards from states deemed non-REAL ID compliant.
The REAL ID Act was meant to tighten government standards for government-issued IDs, like driver's licenses and ID cards. The legislation bans federal agencies from accepting government-issued IDs that don't measure up.
“DoD policy allows commanders to waive the DoD access control requirements for special situations, circumstances, or emergencies,” the official said. “Therefore, installations may authorize other alternatives to facilitate installation access, such as a graduation ceremony guest list, escorts, etc.”
A spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, said officials there received guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, or OSD, but were still reviewing it. Washington state driver’s licenses are among those on the no-acceptance list. Washington state is home to six major military bases.
“We received the notification from OSD about the changes, and our installation access division is reviewing those requirements to determine what course of action we need to do to be in compliance,” said Joe Piek, a base spokesman. “Right now there is no change to our installation access requirements but they are being reviewed.”
A spokesperson for Joint Base Lewis-McChord told Military.com they've received guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense but were still reviewing it.
“We received the notification from OSD about the changes, and our installation access division is reviewing those requirements to determine what course of action we need to do to be in compliance,” spokesperson Joe Piek told the site. “Right now there is no change to our installation access requirements but they are being reviewed.”
Good enough for airport security?
The Department of Homeland Security is pressuring states into compliance.
Right now, Homeland Security is only enforcing the legislation for access to military bases, most federal facilities and nuclear power plants.
Eventually the requirement will extend the ID requirements for air travel as well. Only 23 states are in compliance with the law, but many others have been granted exemptions until later this year.
Washington is among five states where your driver’s license will not be good enough to board a flight starting Jan. 22, 2018, even if you’re traveling within the United States.
After that, the TSA will require alternative identification, such as a passport, to board flights starting in 2018.
See also: Your Washington driver’s license will get you through airport security, but only for 2 more years