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An Analysis of the Use of the Social Security Number as Veteran Identification as it Relates to Identity Theft; A Cost Benefit Analysis of Transitioning the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration to a Military Identification Number

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Master's thesis

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Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing crimes in America and stems from the widespread and growing reliance of organizations across the nation to use Social Security Numbers SSN as a primary personal identifier. Originally intended for the very limited purpose of tracking social security benefits, the value of the SSN as a unique identifier was quickly recognized, and its use rapidly grew. This functionality creep has led to the SSN becoming an almost de facto national ID number. Employers, universities, credit agencies and financial institutions began using the SSN as a unique personal identifier. The military started to use the SSN as a personal identifier in 1969 in place of the Military Serial Number. Today, the SSN is used pervasively throughout the military, from personnel rosters to medical records, from administrative records to operational orders. This thesis analyzes the elimination of the SSN as the primary personal identifier within the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration, replacing it with a Military Identification Number MIN. The elimination of the SSN at all but one critical location pay related matters at the Defense Finance and Accounting System, would render all lost or stolen data useless to an identity thief. A CostBenefit Analysis of the transition from SSN to MIN using six methods of analysis payback period method, discounted payback period, benefit cost ratio, net present value, internal rate of return, and a probabilistic NPV were examined. Each methods benefits and drawbacks are discussed and the findings are summarized. The CBA shows that the transition to a MIN is a cost effective solution with a Net Present Value that falls between 701 million and 554 million over a 10 year period.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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