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Drivers coming on to Naval District Washington (NDW) installations may notice a change at the gates this summer. Effective July 1, NDW installations will no longer require vehicles to display Department of Defense (DOD) vehicle decals for base access.

The elimination of the use of vehicle decals for vehicle registration, in order to access Navy installations, was directed by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment) memorandum dated March 18, 2011.

Previously, the vehicle decal program registration process provided a simple way for base security to verify the vehicle had been properly registered with the state, confirm the driver had adequate liability insurance, and confirm the driver was authorized to operate the vehicle. NDW installations have been provided guidance to develop implementation plans of the new policy and associated policies for vehicle base access, parking, and other installation-wide driving concerns.

“Some have viewed the decal as a credentialing for base access,” said Tony Reid, Commander Navy Installation Command (CNIC) N3AT program manager. “Credentialing for base access has always been based on individuals having proper identification, such as a Department of Defense-issued identification card. Vehicle decals were used to ensure vehicles on Navy installations complied with state requirements for vehicle registration and insurance. State programs have become more uniform and efficient, eliminating one of the main reasons for vehicle decals.”

Security is also a prime concern for all DON installations. Since Sept. 11, 2001, 100 percent I.D. card checks have been implemented at all DOD installations. With this security measure in place, the decals have become redundant, and in some cases, a concern.

“In addition to the expense in administering the program, other issues prompting the change in policy include decals being moved from vehicle to vehicle or easily counterfeited and cars sold to non-Department of the Navy personnel with current decal still attached posed additional security risks to Navy installations,” said Timothy White, CNIC N3AT law enforcement assistant program manager. “In addition to our policy of conducting random Anti-terrorism checks, we will conduct command authorized administrative checks, similar to the way security departments conduct Driving-Under-the-Influence checks.

White said these administrative checks will check identification and vehicle licensing, and that security personnel will continue to rely on the assistance of the military community to report suspicious or abandoned cars, and any other security concerns. He added that frequent visitors to installations requiring decals may leave them on the vehicle until the expiration date. Otherwise, it is recommended that the decal be removed.

Reid said that persons using privately-owned vehicles on Navy installations will still be required to meet state and local requirements including valid insurance, vehicle safety inspections, registration, and proof of motorcycle safety training where applicable. Additionally, the policy change will not affect visiting procedures to Navy installations, as visitors will continue to use the normal visitor procedures established by the installation commanding officer.

Reid added that contractor access will be managed separately. Contractors either receive a temporary pass for a one trip visit or they register under the Navy commercial access control system that provides background checks and periodic reviews to allow them to be issued an annual valid credential for access to Navy installations for official business.

Parking will be managed at the installation level using a CNIC-generated template based on current color coding system (blue for officers, red for enlisted, and green for Department of the Navy civilians). The template provides for some standardization at all CNIC installations, but allows for minor changes to accommodate unique local circumstances.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the vehicle decals can be found at http://www.cnic.navy.mil/om/operating_forces_support/force_protection/Vehicle_Decals_FAQ.html.