Commissaries to Begin Scanning Patrons’ ID Cards
From a Defense Commissary Agency News Release
FORT LEE, Va., Nov. 12, 2013 Cashiers at military commissaries soon will begin scanning customers’ Defense Department ID cards as part of the checkout process, Defense Commissary Agency officials said.
The commissary here, where DeCA has its headquarters, became the first store to scan ID cards Oct. 22 as the first part of a rollout throughout the agency that began Nov. 10 and will be completed by mid-January, officials said.
Noting that commissary shoppers are used to showing their ID cards to establish their eligibility to use the stores, officials explained that by scanning the ID at checkout, DeCA no longer will need to maintain any personal information on customers in its computer systems, such as the system used for customers who write checks.
Scanning also will help to improve the commissary benefit for all patrons, said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO.
"In addition to verifying customers as authorized commissary patrons, we'll gain information that will give us a better understanding of our patrons, allowing the agency to provide the commissary benefit more effectively and efficiently," he said.
Cross-referenced with other Defense Department data, the scan data will give DeCA useful information about patron usage by military service, officials said, along with customer demographics that do not identify specific personal data of an individual.
This eventually will help the agency identify shopping needs and preferences and will also allow more accurate reporting to the military services on commissary use, officials said.
The demographic information DeCA will use is strictly limited to card ID number, rank, military status, branch of service, age, household size, and ZIP codes of residence and duty station, DeCA officials emphasized, adding that the agency will not be using any personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers.
"The methods, processes and information we’ll use will not compromise our customers’ privacy – they can be sure of that,” Jeu said. “We're putting technology to work to better understand our customers and ensure the commissary benefit continues to remain relevant to them now and in the future."
The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of grocery stores for military personnel, retirees and their families. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5–percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones.