Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) oversees the operation of a worldwide chain of military commissaries. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Commissary use has long been 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).
Since January 1, 2020 the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security has expanded in-store commissary and military exchange shopping privileges as well as MWR retail facility use to Veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, Veterans who are former Prisoners of War (POW), all Veterans with service-connected disabilities and caregivers or Family caregivers (who are enrolled as the primary caregiver for Veteran's in the Department of Veteran Affairs Program of Compressive Assistance for Family Caregivers).
Army National Guard Soldiers on drilling status with proper ID and immediate Family members with authorized Family member IDs are eligible for unlimited commissary use.
Commissaries are grocery stores, usually located on military installations, which sell food products and assorted goods. As one of the military’s top non-pay benefits, commissaries save authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their grocery purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at these stores. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Authorized shoppers can access promotional prices and the percentage of savings in their store by visiting https://www.commissaries.com/, clicking on the "Rewards & Savings" tab to open a dropdown menu and accessing the "Savings Center" web page.
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.
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 the FAQ on authorized shopping for information on 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.
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, and their authorized Family members, and to Veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, Veterans who are former Prisoners of War (POW), all Veterans with service-connected disabilities and caregivers or Family caregivers (who are enrolled as the primary caregiver for Veteran's in the Department of Veteran Affairs Program of Compressive Assistance for Family Caregivers).
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.