Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

Regular Army: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) oversees the operation of a worldwide chain of military commissaries. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving nearly 25%, which equates to thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5% 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).


Retired active duty Soldiers with proper ID and their immediate Family members with authorized Family member IDs are eligible for unlimited commissary shopping privileges.

Benefit Highlights

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% surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries andCommissary modernizing existing ones. Authorized shoppers can access promotional prices and the percentage of savings in their store by visiting, clicking on the "Discover" tab to open a dropdown menu and accessing the "Patron Savings" web page.


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 the FAQ on authorized shopping for information on overseas privileges. As host-nation laws and conditions may change, as well as treaty Commissaryobligations 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, and their authorized Family members. .  In January of 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).

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: 27 October 2021