Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

Regular Air Force: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet

Share on Facebook Share on X Share on LinkedIn

The Defense Commissary Agency is an DOD appropriated organization that operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a valuable military benefit, saving authorized patrons at least 25%, which equates to thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5% surcharge (congressionally mandated), which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country. Authorized shoppers are required to possess and show a Uniformed Services' Identification Card (ID).


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

Benefit Highlights

Commissary Use

produce inside the commissary 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 (congressionally mandated), which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones.


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

Commissary 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.

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). Click here for more information:

Food/Economic Security

DeCA continues their efforts to educate and inform their patrons on the value of the commissary benefit and its importance to enhancing military quality of life. Efforts continue to expand resources to promote food security for military Families. Resources on include Military OneSource topics, benefits, tools and resources for events military Families encounter. The Outreach team has been trained to educate shoppers and non-shoppers on the benefits of saving at the commissary, to include everyday savings as well as education on USDA programs such as WIC and SNAP. The Commissary Store Brands have been promoted through the Commissary Price shield to encourage eligible patrons to shop Commissary Store Brands as another means of savings during inflationary times.

Yes! Program

The YES! Program includes an assortment of items patrons purchase most. YES! Items can be identified by an orange YES! label underneath the price

Sales Flyer

Developed every two weeks for additional savings

Online Shopping Commissary Click2GO (CC2GO)

Implemented online shopping at our commissary locations

Health and Wellness

Dietitian Approved Thumb (DAT)

DAT is a point-of-purchase nutrition identification program that makes it easier for shoppers to find products based on many nutrition attributes

Thinking Outside the Box Recipes

Quick, healthy and economical meal solutions for a busy lifestyle. Tips and suggestions are included on how to use the leftover items

Dietitian Approved Fueling Stations

Are a great alternative to the drive thru or can be used as a quick way to stock office and barrack fridges with quick, on-the-go, snacks and meals

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: 22 September 2023