Army test drives gate security

The Army is testing a security system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to screen vehicles and personnel coming through the gates at Fort McPherson, Ga.

As part of a pilot project expected to start this month, all vehicles authorized to enter the base will bear RFID decals, said Hugh Wiley, deputy director of public safety at Fort McPherson/Fort Gillem.

Each tag, mounted in the upper portion of the driver's side of the windshield, carries information about 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.

The system also provides gate personnel with a real-time physical description of the registered vehicle and information on the personnel authorized to operate the vehicle, Wiley said.

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

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