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Air Force initiative to stop registering private vehicles

Air Force initiative to stop registering private vehicles
Strategic Communication Plan Q & A
(Updated 22 Feb 2007)

The Air Force is staffing an initiative to stop registering private vehicles and to cease using vehicle decals -- the Department of Defense Form DD FM 2220, to be effective 15 March 2007 pending CSAF approval. Below are some questions and answers to assist the public in understanding how and why this action is proposed.

1. Q: Why would the Air Force want to do away with vehicle decals and base registration?
A: After September 11th, security at all DoD installations was changed to require 100% ID card checks of drivers at base gates. This has rendered the decals superfluous, since the ID card checks are a much more effective means of verifying the authority of a driver to enter the base.

In fact, the decals now are arguably a detriment to security. They are easily counterfeited, moved from one car to another, or found in used car parking lots. Moreover, looking for the decal on an approaching vehicle distracts our gate guards from focusing on the occupants.

Finally, the decals are an expensive duplication of state registration and licensing. The Air Force spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year just on procuring the decals - countless more money and time is spent on issuing them. All of our Security Forces units are able to verify vehicle ownership through the license plates and other means.

2. Q: When will the Air Force go AF wide with this policy?
A: Pending final Air Force Chief of Staff approval, the goal is the implement this policy on 15 March 2007.

3. Q: What will I use instead to enter Air Force Installations?
A: A DOD issued ID card will be the primary proof of authorization to enter AF installations. Gate guards may also check additional supporting identification such as driver's license, insurance and registration.

4. Q: Will visitors be affected by this?
A: No, visitors will continue to follow the entry procedures established at each Air Force installation.

5. Q: Does this mean that commissioned officers will not be saluted?
A: After checking the ID card, military gate sentries will render salutes as appropriate when force protection and traffic conditions permit.

6. Q: Will I have to remove the decal I already have on my car?
A: We recommend that vehicle owners remove decals from their vehicles when this change is effective. This will avoid advertising the driver's DoD affiliation while off-base, which could be of interest to potential terrorists, criminals, foreign intelligence operatives or other hostile agents. However, drivers who frequently drive onto the installations of other services might consider leaving their decals on their cars, taking into consideration any potential targeting risks. (See question 8.) Since the decals are no longer used for base entry, it is not worth taking this risk.

7. Q: Will I still have to comply with requirements for insurance, state registration, safety inspections, etc?
A: Yes. Air Force Security Forces will check for compliance with all of these requirements, randomly at the gates and during traffic enforcement. Motorcycle operators will still need to comply with base safety standards and have required training before being allowed to ride on AF installations. Commanders at all levels will also enforce compliance.

8. Q: What about the other Services (Army, Navy and Marine) - are they making this change as well?
A: Not at this time. The Air Force is taking the lead in this initiative. The other Services are interested in the Air Force proposal, but are further behind in the staffing process.

9. Q: Is there no DOD requirement to register vehicles at all?
A: The joint traffic regulation (AFI 31-218 I) currently requires the services to register vehicles, although it does have language that appears to allow for other options. A change to the joint regulation has been in coordination for some time. We think the language in the joint regulation that requires base registration is outdated and became obsolete, when the DOD mandated 100% ID card checks for base entry.

10. Q: Won't we lose the benefit of centrally registering vehicles in the DOD?
A: There has never been a central, DOD wide database for vehicle registration. That's one of the big problems with the decals--although each service uses the same decals, each service has always used its separate and unique registration database.

11. Q: How will I be able to drive onto sister Service bases without a decal?
A: Air Force drivers will have to comply with the entry requirements of each particular installation. This might require getting a visitor's pass. Drivers who frequently visit other Service installations may want to consider registering their vehicle at that installation, if allowed to do so.

12. Q: Will this initiative apply to overseas bases as well?
A: With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, no overseas locations use the decals now.

13. Q: Have some Air Force installations implemented this initiative already?
A: Yes, Hill AFB, Utah, stopped registering vehicles in June 2006 and Robins AFB, Georgia, ceased on 5 February 2007. Also Air Combat Command is no longer requiring base registration or decal issuance as of 7 February 2007. The AF wide initiative will further standardize these actions and assist other commanders in implementing the initiative in areas under their authority.

14. Q: How is this being done at some installations before it is effective Air Force-wide?
A: Air Force installation commanders have the authority to locally assess the costs and benefits of registering vehicles and issuing decals, and implement this initiative. Installation commanders may continue to issue existing stock if they wish, but as of 15 March, there is no requirement to do it anymore.

15. Q: Does this mean that airmen new to an installation will not need to register their vehicles on base?
A: That is correct. Security Forces and/or unit orderly rooms will not be conducting any sort of vehicle registration. Current state/host nation requirements for licensing, registration, insurance, safety inspections etc. will still apply and be enforced by commanders and Security Forces.