USAF upgrades base security

Air Force screens credentials against databases

The Air Force District of Washington (AFDW) has bolstered screening of visitors to its bases through a series of identification checks against scores of federal and private databases using a system proved by Mobilisa of Port Townsend, Wash.

The new system uses a handheld wireless scanner to gather data from documents such as a U.S. and Canadian driver's licenses, passports, and military and government ID cards. The system then compares the data to more than 100 databases of individuals who are wanted for criminal offenses or are barred from military installations.

'It gives us better in-depth defense on the gates,' said Senior Airman Nicole Wilemon, National Crime Information Center operator and Mobilisa non-commissioned officer. 'We've upped our security without having to increase personnel.'

In the past gate guards looked at ID cards and verified whether they were authentic, expired or current, Wilemon said. The new system enables AFDW to tell determine whether the card is cancelled or stolen, or if the individual is barred from an installation, she added.

In addition to scanning ID cards against local police, FBI and Interpol lists, as well as other databases, the system can also accommodate customized databases ' for example, if AFDW had a database of individuals barred from its bases, ID cards could be scanned against it as well, according to Mobilisa spokesperson Micheline Mendelsohn.

"This device is another tool used by the 316th Security Forces Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base to enhance base security," said Tech. Sgt. Greg Striejewske, Andrews AFB's visitor control center manager.

AFDW bases are home to Air Force One and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Its 316th Wing, the base's host wing, is responsible for national security and response related to the national capital region. It also provides installation security, services and airfield management to support the president, vice president, other U.S. senior leaders and more than 50 tenant organizations and federal agencies. AFDW is comprised of the 11th Wing at Bolling Air Force Base, the 79th Medical Wing and 316th Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, and the 844th Communications Group.

Mobilisa is providing the system under three contracts totaling $301,599.31. The company is in the process of merging with Intelli-Check of Woodbury, N.Y.

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance journalist based in the Washington area with extensive experience in covering technology issues.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.


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