Free TSA PreCheck for Military Members, Base Employees, DoD Civilians

Long airport security line
(Adobe Stock)

Service members and Defense Department civilians can skip the normal airport security lines during both official and personal travel.

The Transportation Security Administration announced in February 2023 that nonappropriated fund (NAF) civilians had been added to the program granting access to TSA PreCheck lines for free. 

NAF employees work at places such as base exchanges or morale, welfare and recreation programs -- entities that generally bring in their own money rather than paying salaries from congressional taxpayer appropriations.

Military members and appropriated fund civilians already had free TSA PreCheck. 

Service members are enrolled automatically, while civilians need to sign up via the DoD ID Card Office Online.

Going through the TSA PreCheck line means you won't have to take off your shoes, belt or light jacket, and won't have to take your laptop or "3-1-1" liquids out of your bag for security screening.

Service members eligible include those on active duty, Reserve and National Guard members, Coast Guard members and service academy cadets, including cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.

The program is not available to veterans, military retirees or family members, aside from those who qualify through their DoD civilian employment. Family members 12 and younger, however, may accompany a service member or DoD civilian who is enrolled. The TSA answers more detailed eligibility questions here.

There is no cost for military members or civilians. For the general public to enroll in the program, the cost is $78 for five years.

How to Use TSA Precheck

  • If you're a civilian, first opt-in at the DoD ID Card Office Online. Service members are automatically opted-in.
  • When buying a plane ticket, enter your DoD ID number -- the 10-digit number on the back of your Common Access Card -- as the Known Traveler Number on the airline's website.
  • Save your DoD ID number as your Known Traveler Number on your Defense Travel System and MyTravel profiles.
  • Each time you make a reservation, double-check to make sure your DoD ID number appears as the Known Traveler Number.

Amanda Miller can be reached at

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