Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

Army National Guard: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet



The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) oversees the operation of a worldwide chain of military commissaries. DeCA commissaries provide groceries for cost plus 5% surcharge. Purchasing goods from the commissary saves Families thousands of dollars annually compared to shopping at civilian grocery stores. Commissary use is available to Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers, to Retirees, to 100% disabled Veterans, Medal of Honor recipients and to qualified Family members. Authorized shoppers are required to possess and show a Uniformed Services' Identification Card (ID).



Retired Army National Guard Soldiers with proper ID and immediate Family members with authorized Family member IDs are eligible for unlimited commissary use.

Benefit Highlights:

Commissary Use

Commissaries are grocery stores, usually located on military installations, which sell food products and assorted goods. Authorized patrons purchase goods at cost plus 5% surcharge. The surcharge covers the costs of building new commissaries and renovating existing ones. This benefit saves Families thousands of dollars annually on groceries as compared to commercial market prices - savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. Authorized shoppers can access promotional prices and the percentage of savings in their store by visiting, clicking on the "Shopping" tab to open a dropdown menu and accessing the "Savings Aisle" web page.

The 2004 National Defense Authorization Act eliminated the previous restrictions on commissary shopping - including the yearly 24 shopping day limit and the Commissary Privilege Card - unless otherwise stipulated in overseas host nation agreements. According to the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act, with the proper ID, unlimited commissary shopping privileges are authorized for:

  • Ready Reserve members (Selected Reserve, IRR, and Inactive National Guard)
  • Retired Guard members,
  • "Gray Area" Guard retirees not yet age 60,
  • Dependents of these members with a Department of Defense Family member ID

Additionally, under special provisions authorized by Department of Defense Memorandum in August 2009, a member of the Armed Forces who is involuntarily separated from active duty under other than adverse conditions through Dec. 31, 2012 may continue to use commissary and exchange privileges for a two-year period beginning on the date of involuntary separation. Once the military service sends the Separation Program Designator (SPD) to DEERS, the separated Soldier will be eligible for a new DD Form 2765 (Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card) reflecting these continued benefits. For more information, refer to DoD instructions 1330.17, 1330.21 and 1000.13, or consult your ID Card issuing facility.

Authorized shoppers are permitted to bring a guest to the commissary. However, guests are not permitted to make commissary purchases, and authorized patrons are not allowed to make purchases on the guest's behalf. Guest access to the commissary may vary based on local military regulations, and checking these regulations with the commissary management is recommended.

Overseas Commissaries
In overseas areas, Status of Forces Agreements (or other international agreements between the host country and the United States) determines access to commissaries and to the purchase of duty-free goods sold in these commissaries. Overseas military commands publish regulations of commissary access based on the terms of these agreements. These regulations differ by country. Contact the particular installation Pass and ID office in the country of interest to determine commissary privileges.

Click here for a chart that shows the current overseas privileges. As host-nation laws and conditions may change, as well as treaty obligations of the United States, before traveling, it is recommended all travelers check with the military customs in the country(s) you are visiting.

Veterans' Exceptions
As an honorably discharged military veteran, commissary privileges are granted only to those who are recipients of the Medal of Honor, or who have been certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as 100% disabled in connection with military service.

Additional Information:

For more information about commissary eligibility, operations, or locations, please visit the following websites: The DeCA website, maintained by the Defense Commissary Agency:

The DeCA Facebook page:

The agency's Twitter page:


Theme-based image collections:


Department of Defense Instruction 1330.17, Department of Defense Commissary Program:

To determine situation-specific commissary privilege and eligibility, contact personnel in the Pass and ID Office at the nearest military installation.

Document Review Date: 5 August 2016