Navy Decision Not To Issue Dependent's Identification Card to Retired Member's Wife]

Gao ID: B-203601 July 27, 1981

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a Navy decision not to issue a dependent's identification card to the second wife of a retired Naval officer. The Navy decision was based on the circumstances surrounding the Naval officer's divorce from his first wife which was obtained in the Dominican Republic. The Navy concluded that a divorce decree obtained in a foreign country by U.S. citizens not domiciled in that country will not be given effect unless affirmed by a U.S. court of competent jurisdiction. Neither party to the divorce proceedings was domiciled in the Dominican Republic. As a result, both the member's divorce and his subsequent marriage are subject to challenge, and it was for this reason that an identification card was not issued to the Naval officer's second wife. GAO stated that the issuance of Uniformed Service Identification and Privilege Cards is a matter primarily within the jurisdiction of the service concerned. In the case of dependents of retired military personnel, the card is apparently used primarily to gain access to military medical services and commissaries. A determination of dependency for medical care purposes by the Secretary of Defense is conclusive and may not be reviewed by a court or GAO in the absence of fraud or gross negligence. GAO agrees with the Navy determination regarding foreign divorces. Therefore, the Navy's determination in this case appeared to be consistent with the principles set forth in previous GAO decisions.

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