How to Get Your DoD ID Card Without Your Sponsor


A new online Defense Department system aims to make life easier for dependent ID card holders -– and their sponsor.

The system, called RAPIDS, lets common access card holders who need to get and renew ID cards for their dependents entirely avoid that super fun, often lengthy, trip to the ID card office.

In the past sponsors had to either personally carry the ID card form, DD-1172-2, to the ID card office or send a signed, notarized copy to the office with the dependent. By using the RAPIDS system, however, they can, using their CAC card, simply digitally sign the form from anywhere in the world. The office can then pull it up online once the person needing the ID is there.

The idea, said Mary Dixon, the head of the Defense Manpower Data Center which oversees the system, is to make it easier for families going through military separation or with a kid at college, to renew, update or replace their ID cards.

Since we like it when DoD makes life easier and paperwork less complicated, we think systems like this are fantastic. However, like many things in the military, it seems that this one just creates another redundancy: everything you can do with this digitally signed document can also be done with the special power of attorney for IDs and DEERS that every military family is encouraged to have on hand during any military separation.

I’m sure there are limited circumstances in which a servicemember would not want his spouse to hold such a POA. But since that POA can only be used for ID and DEERS changes and not for anything financial or even housing related, it seems unlikely that a servicemember would want to keep his spouse from having access to it. And, since the RAPIDS digital signature move currently does not do everything the POA can, such as allowing a spouse to register a new baby in DEERS, doing that in lieu of a POA isn’t a good idea either.

Dixon did describe one circumstance in which the digitally signed DD-1172 would be truly helpful: updating or replacing an ID belonging to a dependent in college. That person, she said, is unlikely to have POA but IS likely to need an ID card. With the digitally signed DD-1172 on file, the student could go to his nearest ID card facility and take care of business instead of waiting for his next break for a family pilgrimage to the ID office.

That makes sense. Let’s be honest, I have lost my military ID at least twice. (I make myself feel better about this by saying “that last pictured sucked — so glad to get a new one!” … even though the photos get progressively worse over time. What’s up with that?) Since I like to imagine that college students are even more careless than I am, needing an ID card replaced on the regular sounds like a pretty legitimate scenario.

The system is poised to offer additional tools in the future, Dixon said. For example, within the next year they hope to be testing a capability that will allow recruits to upload proof of dependents, such as marriage and birth certificates, into the system before they go to Basic instead of hauling them (and, let’s be honest, losing) them there. While at Basic they will be able to digitally sign the DD-1172, and their spouse and kids will be able to register in DEERS and get their ID cards before he even returns home as a brand spanking new member of the Armed Forces.


EDIT: To answer some questions in the comments regarding whether or not this applies to the Coast Guard — yes, it does! Unlike most DoD programs, which do not apply to the Coast Guard, this one does IF you have a CAC card. 

Eventually, Dixon said, she wants the system to not only notify users when their ID cards are about to expire (because we know finding out it expired last month while trying to get on base sucks) but also allows users to simply show up at the ID card office to pick-up the already printed ID card.

Dixon, however, noted that she is not sure when that “eventually” will be.

We can dream, right?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • George

    I am a WWll Vet. I have been trying to get an I.D. CARD FOR OVER A YEAR now. So far no luck.; ????

    • Greg

      Being a WWII Vet has me saying thank you for your service, but unless you retired after 20 years from the millitary, or were retired early for medical conditions, or were awarded through the veterans hospital a disability rating of 100% or 80% or more (plus unemployable) an ID card is not autherized…
      However, you can get a veterans card through the VA hospital with a DD214 showing you were honorably discharged.

  • Eric

    I like how the Coast Guard isn’t represented in the above photo. Thanks for the support…

    • Tommy

      umm, get over it CG. . .

    • alex

      coast guard isn’t part of the dod anymore… they are part of HLS

      • tc1uscg

        umm.. ALL services are part of the UNIFORMED SERVICES. Look at an id card of retired Army or Navy person. CG has NEVER been part of DOD, just DON during war but that’s not been since WWII. They always provide Force Protection when the Navy is involved with blowing things up. And even up to OIF, they are there. And for the record, the CG did have a person killed in the line of duty during OIF along with 2 other Navy guys intercepting a suicide bomber heading for the oil platform they were guarding. And if you look at the streamers, the CG, your NON DOD branch of service has EVERY streamer of EVERY conflict that the US has been involved in. Yes, the CG is part of HLS however, they are still a military branch and the ONLY military branch that has Federal Law Enforcement abilities. That’s why the Navy takes them along during certain operations and hoist the CG ensign when they want to “board” someone in U.S. waters or involved with LE ops. Ask any CG TACLET. The ONLY reason the CG flag is at the end of the line after all others is because we are not DOD. However, if you do the math, you might find that after the Navy was disbanded in 1790 (and re-established in 1798) the CG is the OLDEST CONTINIOUS Navy service on the water. Now what’s funny about all the above is why don’t the other services know this history? Just goes to show why the CG can do it’s job with so little people. It’s called something like being smart. Nuff said.

      • Mathew Maheu

        True not any other service’s fault they were part of DOT now HLS talk to your congressman but it boils down to your operations and more so the funding I am sure no insult was intended.

  • Paul

    Thanks for including the oldest continuous sea service – THE COAST GUARD in your picture! That’s okay we understand ignorance (insert sarcasm here).

    Paul Coon GMC/ USCG

    • J B

      Coast Guard is not DOD, they are DHS (formerly DOT)…

  • theoldman

    What if you are 100% DAV? Should I get or wife get a new card?

  • Susan Freemyer

    If this new system works as smoothly as it’s described, then I think it will be a positive move. How often is the scan going to get lost in the system? We will probably be carrying a copy with us because we all know how important it is to keep a copy of everything because it often times gets lost in the process

    Some readers are asking, why is the process so difficult? For those families of Reservist it is difficult and scary. They often live 50 miles or more from the nearest ID Card or DEERS office and have to use the RAPIDS Site Locater to find a facility close to them. Families of Reservist navigate within the civilian world and then are thrown into the Military way of life when their Spouse is deployed. Some embrace it, some hate it.

    Acronyms? When you hear DEERS you think animal. One DEERS location said that you can not get your new card until the day your Spouses orders go from activation alert to activate. Some places tell you, not until 7 days prior. HUH? UGH!!


  • Sheena

    When I was in college and needed to renew my military id, my dad got crap for wanting to renew it months before it was scheduled to expire. I wasn’t planning on seeing him for another six months to one year (in which time it would be expired), and I could only do it with him around. It’s nice to know that the change will be helpful to some people.

  • How do I get wives card updated,I know by base, but can we get travel pay for 100% dav , Evan ,we have to drive over a hundred miles to get it?????

  • Pete

    I am retired navy and need to get id cards for my children. Can I use this system? If so, can you provide me with the URL or link?


  • andy indelicato

    why was my comment taken out?????

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Andy — I see your comment. Was there another one you’re missing?

  • lex

    I did served in the the military, 3 yrs active duty and 5 yrs in the National Guard, I was honorably discharged, when will you consider giving Commissary/PX privilege like me?

    • mandinka

      as soon as you have 20 years in

  • Sensei

    The system may work well for active, guard, reserve who as sponsors who have access to government computers with CAC readers. Willing to bet not many have them at home. Not so well with the majority of retirees who don’t. Need to work out the kinks to allow the option of either CAC or user/password access as many of the government links have. Seems like a great idea. As a military retiree working as a civilian contractor on a small guard/reserve installation in Georgia, it’s commonplace for long waiting times, if not turned away to obtain ID/CAC. I’m sure larger installations experience much the same on a smaller scale. Again, it’s a great idea. Just require more assessment.

  • Gerald Jones

    non-CAC ID cards, retired AF Reservist, haven’t reached age 60, my non CAC ID is good until age 60. On the other hand my wife has to renew hers, would like to see a system to make this process easier

  • Deborah Meade

    I’m a military wife, my husband retired with 32 years. I am entitled to have a military ID for the rest of my life Why does my husband have to go with me to get my ID renewed? Such an inconvenience. Still have some bumps in the road to resolve and this is one of them………

    • Amy Bushatz

      Deborah – he actually does not have to. Like I wrote, you can take with you a power of attorney specific to military Id and deers. That is how I always take care of our Id issues.

      • Jenna

        I was told when my husband was deployed last time and I renewed my ID that a general POA was sufficient. However, the general POA I have that was issued by Navy Legal already includes a section on DEERS issues and ID cards, so that could be why. It was nice not to have to worry about a separate POA.

    • Lace Josleyn

      I have just ran into this bump myself. We shouldn’t need anything from our spouses if we have earned
      the benefit through the marriage. If we are entitled to a military Id card for the rest of our lives, then that should be noted in DEERs and we should be able to renew it on our own !!

  • Robert W. Griggs

    I retired from USAF with 27 Years service in 1979. I am 80 years of age. My ID card is INDEFINITE. My wife’s ID card expired 9-03-2012. She has not been able to use her ID card for @ 4 years. I had put in the Lock Box. Yesterday I saw it and NOW do not know how or where to RENEW it. She is 78 years of age.


    Robert W. Griggs, SMS, USAF, Ret

  • bethv

    Is there any problem using this if my ID expired in July, 2012? Husband will not get active orders for awhile yet.

  • George M. Jarrett

    I am retired Army. My wife is disabled and home bound. I lost her ID while picking up her meds on base. How can I get her a new one without having to have an ambulance take her to base?

  • SLS Filoteo

    my husband retired from the USAF in 2008. We are now here in the Philippines- my military ID expired over a year ago- I have had NO LUCK trying to get an appointment through the embassy because you can only talk to a live person on the 1st day of every month- you are extremely lucky if you even get through on that day. anyway…is it even possible to have my sponsor fill out and sign a DD-1172 and then when I go to the States I can go to a RAPIDS office for the renewal OR does my sponsor have to be present with me?

  • Carmen

    My husband is retired Air Force , we have been married 34 years. My military ID card will expire in less than 2 weeks. When my husband was in the military, he worked in security-pass and id–he told me that if your ID card is not renewed, you’re dropped from DEERS–Tricare.
    For now, the govt. is shut down. How will this affect a person needing a new military ID card ?
    Are pass and ID offices open? Will I be dropped from DEERS If my card expired during the shut down.
    We live in Mississippi, the nearest military facility is the Navel base at Millington, Tn.
    Thank you.

    • Julie

      I’m wondering the same thing! Mine expired Sept 30. :(

  • Gloria Mabie

    My ID expired Sept 29.2013 Bet I have a hard time traving over 100 miles. Can i make an apptment,What can I do?

  • Michael Orr

    I was in the usmc in 69 -71 and lost ID about a year after leaving the corps . Is there any way I can get a new ID card ?

  • Linda Walshock

    My husband died in 2011, and my card is expiring 3/31/14. How do I go about getting it renewed/reissued?

  • Thomas Boyd

    2014/06/14 I am retired Army and currently in the Philippines, my wife is in the States and her ID expires in about 2 weeks, I don’t have a CAC card, how can she get a new ID in order to use our TRICARE. Need information ASAP. Thank You.

  • Michele Rice

    My husband is retired Navy and my ID expired june 2012. I did not have access to a military base until now…can i go to the base and get it renewed without my husband being with me?

  • tc-ret-uscg

    What should be noted is ONLY DOD is authorized to obtained CAC cards. This has caused issued for Coast Guard dependents (and retired) to deal with logging into TRICARE. We were suppose to be allowed to signup but they got axed but we have to jump though 3 hoops to access our Tricare info online. For security reasons, the ONLY people who should have CAC cards are those on active duty. Retired types should all carry the same type of card and have the same type of access. Just sayin..

  • Inez

    Why not let the sponsor be in control of signing a statement for his dependents to receive an ID card for as long as needed instead of putting them through all of this hassel. If the sponsor decides he no longer wants his dependent (s) to receive an ID let him/her go to a base office to request no longer issue.