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Identification cards to be scanned, verified at DLA installation gates 
By Amanda Neumann 

A new system for granting installation access will scan and verify the identification cards of personnel entering Defense Logistics Agency installations, security officials in DLA Installation Support said.

The Defense Biometric Identification System, a hand-held scanning device, will be implemented at the perimeter gates of five DLA installations, including the McNamara Headquarters Complex, by the end of April, said Gerald Barb, a physical security specialist in DLA Installation Support’s Security and Emergency Services.

“DBIDS is an access control system to ensure that only authorized individuals are granted entry to DLA installations and the [McNamara] Headquarters Complex,” he said. “It does that by checking the [security] certificate on your [Defense Department] common access card against the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, known as DEERS, to confirm that your certificate is still valid. It works with CACs, military retiree cards, dependent identification cards and other federal CAC equivalents.”

Employees will not need to visit DLA’s security offices or pass and ID offices to enroll in DBIDS; instead, DLA employees and contractors with CACs are automatically enrolled in the system upon their first scan, Barb said. For individuals who work on DLA installations but do not possess a CAC, local security personnel will issue DBIDS cards for installation access.

Already widely used at Air Force bases, the DBIDS scan doesn’t add additional entry time at the gate, Barb said, making the system a good fit for DLA’s busy installations.

“In terms of impact to employees, it should be very seamless,” he said. “Employees will come to the gates and instead of handing their card over and the officer looking at it, the officer will scan it on the reader. It only takes one or two seconds to come back and say you’re good to go. There’s really no difference in time.”

By verifying a certificate’s authenticity through the DEERS database, CAC certificates are updated on a real-time basis, helping to cut down on cards that may look valid, but have been revoked, said Patrick Wright, staff director of DLA Installation Support’s Security and Emergency Services.

“When a person quits or a supervisor terminates them, it’s updated in DEERS’ Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System,” he said. “[Now, with this system,] the person will not be granted access even if they present their [CAC] at another DLA installation. Their card may look valid, it may still have a valid expiration date on the surface, but now we’ll be able to tell that their certificate is no longer valid.”

Rather than relying solely on visual inspection, DLA police officers manning the entry gates can also use DBIDS as a second set of eyes to help combat fraudulent CACs, a problem faced by the entire Department of Defense, Wright said.

“Just this year, DLA had 850 cards that have been reported lost or stolen,” he said. “And that’s not just DLA’s employees; its tenants and even retirees who are coming in, reporting lost or stolen cards, and getting duplicate cards. And you never know who’s picking them up. Now, instead of relying on the human eye to determine if [identification is] fake, we have the ability to electronically authenticate that card. That gives us a much better reliability, a 99 to 100 percent reliability, to say that CAC card is a good CAC card.”

With further enhancements expected in the future, the DBIDS implementation is just the first step to scanning all forms of identification, Wright said.

“Right now, we’re only doing CACs, which will give us an 80 percent solution,” he said. “The other 20 percent are considered visitors. The end state is really to get to vetting 100 percent of the folks that are entering the installations through electronic means. We’re waiting on DoD to get the approval to utilize the other authoritative databases, like the National Crime Information Center and the Terrorist Watch List, so we can check other credentials like driver’s licenses.”

Wright said the support of the agency’s leaders put the project on the fast track and expedited its implementation, originally scheduled for September.

“Since we briefed DLA Director [Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek] in October, he put this on the fast track, and we’ve been moving forward ever since,” he said. “The director considers the safety and security of our workforce as one of our highest priorities. Especially with incidents like the Navy Yard occurring [in September 2013], we want to make sure that we have the right things in place to protect our folks and this gives us the means to start in that direction.”

Schedule for DBIDS deployment:

-- April 1-4, McNamara Headquarters Complex, Fort Belvoir, Va.

-- April 1-4, DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pa.

-- April 2-10, DLA Distribution San Joaquin, Calif.

-- April 7-11, Defense Supply Center Richmond, Va.

-- April 15-25, Defense Supply Center Columbus, Ohio.

Photo: Scanning an ID card
Enlarge Image
A Defense Logistics Agency police officer uses the Defense Biometric Identification System, a hand-held scanning device, to scan the common access card of an incoming DLA employee. Photo by Estuardo Escobar