FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston is currently installing the Defense Biometrics Identification System or DBIDS at all gates. An enhanced identity authentication and force protection system, DBIDS was installed at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases last year as mandated by Department of Defense.

Joint Base San Antonio partnered with the Defense Manpower Data Center to install and activate the DBIDS system in four phases.

Phase I, installation, began on Fort Sam Houston Sept. 26 and is scheduled for completion Oct. 15. Registration, Phase II, slated to begin in January, is planned for three months.

To register in DBIDS, a Common Access Card or other DoD-issued I.D. card is scanned into the system. The cardholder's information is verified and an electronic fingerprint is taken. The process takes about five minutes.

All DoD identification card holders, ages 16 and older, must register.

The system allows a gate guard to use a hand-held wireless scanner to instantly identify who the person is and whether or not he or she is allowed on post. All active duty, reserve, Family members, DoD contractors and retirees - anyone with permanent post access - will register with the system.

A major benefit of DBIDS is that the system notifies guards about lost or stolen I.D. cards, individuals barred from the base, or persons sought for emergency or key response notification. The system currently recognizes fraudulent cards and will interface with criminal data bases in the future.

"Instead of checking your I.D. card with my eyeballs, explains Derrick Austin, Air Education and Training Command DBIDS Program Manager, responsible for implementing DBIDS at Fort Sam Houston, "I'm checking it with a scanner and it's gleaning the information on that card with what's in the database."

Several registration locations will be identified on the installation to assist with the registration process, such as the Post Exchange, Army Community Center and Brooke Army Medical Center in addition to major post commands with coordination still in process to indentify other potential unit locations. Dates and times for registration will be published in the future.

Registration for Army, Navy and Marine Corps reserve units will be planned during scheduled drill weekends and registration will be available for those Family members at that time as well.

Honorary commanders, civic leaders and business people associated with tenant commands and DoD activities will be issued a DBIDS I.D. card that will allow long-term access for specified periods. Specific individuals will be also identified that will have escort status Austin said.

Contractors and vendors in possession of a DoD CAC will also be registered into the system.

Those without credentials must be vetted with a background check and issued an authorized access credential such as DBIDS card or pass, explained Curtis Hoosier, a physical security specialist with the Directorate of Emergency Services.

"We're going to have a little bit of change with regards to public access explains Al Jorge, director, 502nd Security Forces Squadron (DES).

"Because we don't have a visitor's center, an I.D. gets scanned and the person is allowed access. With Fiesta or other larger events, public access will be the commander's decision."

Jorge said a visitor's center is under construction at Walter's gate, estimated to be finished in October of next year.

"The intent is to have visitor's centers at Walters gate, at Harry Wurzebach, at I-35 and a small one at Camp Bullis for routine access to the museum and that sort of thing. We are still looking at access for schools and for the public to attend games, events and historical sites."

Jorge said Fort Sam Houston is not capable of supporting the procedure Lackland uses for large events such as airshows; where parking is cordoned off outside and the public is bussed onto the base.

"The process we have in place is what the commander would like to remain in place," Jorge said.
Currently, entrance to the post is granted after a DoD-issued I.D. is visually inspected or a non-DoD I.D. is scanned.

"We recommend a driver's license, passport or state I.D. that can be scanned where we can get the information that the card is valid. This system will be in operation for at least another year so that we can continue to serve the greater Fort Sam Houston community," Jorge said.

During Phase III, the DBIDS system will be utilized at each gate to identify non-registrants and educate the post on procedure. Hoosier said no one will be denied access during this phase.

Phase IV will be enforcement he explained. "Once enforcement begins, those patrons that have not registered will find their access delayed and disrupted until such time they get registered."

The 502d SFS is coordinating a Command and Staff Information Brief to be held early November.

Page last updated Fri October 8th, 2010 at 15:50