Sticker Shock

Are base decals a thing of the past? Maybe. It seems the Air Force already has done away with them, and the other services might not be far behind. First developed in the 1970s for traffic management, the sticker system was necessary to get people on base in a reasonable amount of time, predating today’s standards of a nationwide registration database and mandatory insurance.

Added security? Au contraire, according to Air Force officials. They say the decal serves to identify military and civilian workers as possible targets for terrorists and could contribute to gate guard complacency. Officials say current ID checks — certifying occupants and not so much the vehicle — go a long way to better security. Officials note that a vehicle with a sticker might have been sold by the owner, could belong to someone who has left the service, or could have been stolen, or the decal could have been duplicated. Though it has been reported that some commanders disagree with the change, citing the continuing need to expedite installation entry, it seems base decals might someday be history — literally.

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