YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — In response to what Air Force officials called an “unreasonably high number” of lost identification cards, the 51st Fighter Wing commander has modified the procedures for reporting a loss and getting a new card.

According to instructions written by Brig. Gen. Maury Forsyth, all reports of lost or stolen cards — including those made by civilians — must be made to unit commanders. Previously, the reports were made to flight chiefs or section commanders.

Each unit commander will then “counsel” the person who lost the card on his or her responsibility for keeping track of it and prepare a letter authorizing a replacement.

The change is effectively immediately, officials said Friday, and applies to both the new Common Access Card and the older Department of Defense identification cards.

“If these official government documents fall into the wrong hands, it could result in unauthorized persons gaining access to the base or a facility which could have dire consequences,” Forsyth wrote.

“They identify us to security forces and set us apart from possible infiltrators or terrorists.”

Though Forsyth attributed the change to a recent surge in lost cards, those figures were not immediately available. The most recent statistics showed that 264 ID cards were reported lost or stolen between June and August.

The loss of cards is also threatening to become a waste of time and money, Forsyth wrote.

“This can have not only a potentially damaging effect on our ability to ensure force protection,” he wrote, “but it also is having a negative effect on our conservation of government resources.”

Every airman and DOD civilian employee is responsible for safeguarding their ID cards, as well as those of family members, at all times.

To complete the reissue process, an ID card-holder must report to the 51st Security Forces Squadron’s law enforcement desk, complete a Statement of Suspect/Witness/Complaint and outline how the card was lost.

Once security-forces personnel endorse the newly required commander’s authorization letter, the holder can get a new card from the military personnel flight’s customer service office.

Military and civilian sponsors must accompany their family members at all steps along the way, officials said.

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