Bases stateside will be seeing tighter security for non-Defense Department visitors this year as more resources become available for bases to conduct background checks.
Each of the services is expanding its automated visitor vetting system, said Army spokesman Matthew Bourke. The push is to have more installations tapped into the forcewide screening system known as the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis, or IMESA.
The IMESA system launched in mid-August, and enables the sharing of installation information across all the military services. If an individual — either military or civilian — is flagged at his previous installation of employment but tries to gain entry at another base, the base sees the warning signs.
Bourke said budget constraints could have been a factor at various bases, "whether it be they didn't have the facilities for access control points, or the facilities weren't equipped to support that type of automation, or there were personnel issues, we are finally getting to a point where we are finally resourced."
"The plan is to use AIE to tap into IMESA capabilities," Bourke said. "What you're seeing now is a lot of installations are making that local level announcement."
Bourke said within the last five months, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Fort Belvoir,Virginia; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, have announced and have been working to carry out their additional visitor vetting processes.
So far, the Air Force and DLA together have over 100 installations connected to IMESA, Crosson said.
While the services are moving for more controlled security checks stateside, the Navy also plans to extend its NCIC III check to all Navy installations outside the continental United States by fiscal 2016, according to the Commander Navy Installations Command's office.
Moving the policy through the bases
There are different ways that installations can handle base security and force protection, with additional requirements coming from the base commander if necessary, Bourke said.
For example, one base might have a visitor submit to a background check each time he requests entry, but other bases might not. But it's that "on the spot" check bases want to improve on.
While military and various non-DoD personnel — some contractors — are issued a Common Access Card, the population that won't be permitted to receive the CAC will have the NCIC III check, Marquiss said.
Visitors who fall in this category are those who need base access without accessing enterprise computer network systems.
Marquiss said the base is also determining the length of time to grant access to those under NCIC III checks, which will be determined by the purpose of an individual's stay.
Some dependents of active-duty personnel may also have to go through an NCIC III check if they are a recurring visitor, Marquiss said.
For Fort Carson, visitors need to be sponsored by someone who is an ID card holder to request an NCIC III; individuals then bring the paperwork — which can be downloaded and filled out on the base's website, Marquiss said — with a state or federal photo ID to the visitor control center.
What will automatically flag your form? Anyone with a current arrest warrant in the NCIC system; barred from entry to any other federal facilities; and individuals who may have been convicted of sexual assault, armed robbery, rape, child molestation, production or possession of child pornography, human trafficking, or drug possession with the intent to sell of distribute.
If someone is denied access, there is a process to appeal through the base's senior leadership to get on base, Marquiss said.
"A standard check could take as few as three minutes, up to 10 minutes," Marquiss said.
"We will see a surge in capability, but over time, once we get [in the habit of] this, there will be very limited impact" for base visitors, he said.