Army tests base security app

The Army next month will begin testing a security system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to enhance how military police screen vehicles and personnel at Fort McPherson, Ga.

Military police will begin a pilot project April 1 in which all vehicles authorized to enter the base are tagged with RFID decals, said Hugh Wiley, deputy director of public safety at Fort McPherson/Fort Gillem.

Each tag is mounted in the upper, driver's-side portion of the windshield and is coded based on the vehicle owner's security clearance, said George Moss, director of government business solutions at Intermec Technologies Corp., which is providing the RFID technology.

As vehicles enter the installation gate, Micromation Inc.'s Intelligent Gate Controllers activate the Intermec tag readers to remotely scan the tag using a radio wave. The guard control monitor software then accesses the pre-assigned security clearances linked to the tag and grants or denies access based on that information.

If access is granted, the military police officer on duty is signaled with a green light and the gate controller software opens the gate automatically. If access is denied for any reason, the officer is signaled with a red light and an audible tone, Wiley said.

The system also provides gate personnel with a real-time physical description of the registered vehicle and information on personnel authorized to operate the vehicle, Wiley said. It displays detailed information about denied vehicles and/or operators, including:

* Improper registration.

* Not authorized to enter.

* Attempting to enter without a decal.

* Reported stolen.

* Driving privileges suspended.

* Barred from the installation.

* Person wanted by police.

The Army began discussing tightening its base security more than four years ago and eventually decided a modernized vehicle registration system would be beneficial, said Lt. Col. Samuel Anderson of the Provost Marshal's office at Forces Command. He said the old registration system kept vehicle records on index cards stored in wooden boxes, so the move to a computer-based system, which could also aid security, seemed obvious.

The system will initially be deployed at two locations: a major base entryway and a smaller roadway on the grounds. About 4,000 of the 5,000 total stickers have been issued already, and the total system cost is about $250,000, Wiley said.


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