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Is it allowed to make copies of your CAC (Common Access Card)?

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The legality of making copies of your Common Access Card (CAC) is a matter governed by federal laws and Department of Defense (DoD) policies.

  1. Legal Reference - United States Code Title 18, Section 701: Making copies of a CAC is generally not allowed under United States law. This restriction is outlined in United States Code Title 18, Section 701. This section of the U.S. Code specifically addresses the unlawful production or possession of counterfeit or falsely made U.S. government identification documents, including military identification cards such as the CAC. Violating this law can have serious legal consequences. You can find the full text of United States Code Title 18, Section 701 on the Cornell Law School's website or the official U.S. Government Publishing Office's website.

  2. Exceptions and DOD Policies: While the law prohibits the unauthorized duplication of CACs, there may be exceptions or specific circumstances where making copies is permissible. It's essential to refer to Department of Defense Instructions (DODIs) or official Department of Defense (DOD) memoranda for guidance on such exceptions. The eligibility and purpose for copying a CAC may vary based on DOD policies and guidance issued by specific commands or agencies. These documents provide clear instructions on who can and cannot make copies of CACs and under what circumstances. It's crucial to note that exceptions are typically limited to specific official duties or requirements and should not be used for unauthorized purposes.

  3. Penalties for Unauthorized Copying: Unauthorized duplication of a CAC can result in legal penalties and administrative actions. Legal consequences may include fines, imprisonment, or other legal actions as outlined in United States Code Title 18, Section 701. Additionally, within the military, administrative actions such as disciplinary measures or revocation of privileges can be taken against individuals who violate these regulations.

To obtain the most current and accurate information regarding CAC copying regulations and any updates or changes, I recommend checking the following sources:

  1. Department of Defense: The official Department of Defense website ( may provide access to the latest DODIs and memoranda related to CAC usage and regulations. Look for publications or directives related to CACs and identification cards.

  2. Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA): DHRA is responsible for issuing policies and guidance related to identification cards, including CACs. You can visit the DHRA website ( or contact them directly for information on CAC regulations.

  3. Your Command or Unit: Specific regulations and guidance regarding CAC usage and copying may vary based on the command or unit to which you belong. Your command's legal office or administrative personnel may have the most up-to-date information regarding CAC policies within your organization.

  4. Legal Counsel: If you have questions or concerns about CAC copying, you can consult with legal counsel or a judge advocate general (JAG) officer. They can provide legal advice and guidance based on the latest regulations and legal interpretations.

In conclusion, while there may be exceptional circumstances where making copies of a CAC is allowed under specific DOD guidance, it is essential to consult the relevant legal references, DODIs, and memoranda to determine the specific rules and regulations governing CAC copying. Unauthorized duplication of a CAC is generally prohibited by federal law and can have serious legal and administrative consequences. It is crucial to use CACs responsibly and in strict accordance with applicable regulations and policies.

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