WASHINGTON — Thousands of veterans received their free veterans ID cards this week featuring their names, their branch of service and a bright red advertisement on the back.

The cards, approved by Congress almost three years ago, are available at no charge to veterans with good conduct discharges. But to pay for printing and delivery, the Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with Office Depot, whose logo is displayed on the back of each card.

The arrangement was first reported by Military.com earlier this week. VA officials dismissed concerns about the unusual decision to display a corporate logo on a federal ID, noting that Congress approved no funding for the program when it passed the requirement in summer 2015.

“As such, VA approached Office Depot regarding a partnership to print and mail ID cards to veterans after applications are reviewed and approved by VA staff,” said VA spokesman Curt Cashour. “Under the arrangement, Veterans are not required to pay a fee for the card.