By Katie Davis SkelleyDecember 18, 2018
Starting in January, anyone who is not affiliated with Redstone can obtain an installation access badge after passing a background check at the Gate 9 Visitors Center. That badge will allow the general public access to recreational and various Family and MWR activities on post.
The current policy requires a person to produce a Department of Defense, Department of Justice or NASA-issued card or a visitor's badge to travel on post. The new badging policy is part of Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith's initiative to streamline access procedures. Currently more than 80 tenant organizations utilize around 200 different badges to access the installation.
"We produce about 80,000 badges a year," Garrison Director of Operations Ron Thomas said, noting that a large number of those badges are temporary access badges for short-term contractors without common access cards. "Many of our contractors get multiple cards a year -- why?"
The new installation access policy will reduce operating costs and alleviate the work backup at badging offices, Thomas said, as less badges will be produced and the Visitors Center will now shoulder some of the workload. It allows Family and MWR to broaden their customer base and will add to the quality of life of Team Redstone. The new procedures make it simpler for friends and family members of Arsenal employees to visit for lunchtime meetings, attend post sporting events or use recreational offerings. Food delivery services and ride-sharing businesses will be able to travel on and off-post -- with the requirement that the driver pass a background check and obtain the installation access badge.
Also included in the new access guidelines is the Trusted Traveler program, which rolled out in the fall and is an existing Army policy already utilized by some installations. When a driver produces a DOD, DOJ or NASA-issued card, that person is asserting that they are a trusted agent and other persons in the vehicle are not required to provide identification to the gate guard, unless requested. If a rider in the vehicle does not have their own DOD, DOJ or NASA-issued card, or an installation access badge, the rider has to remain with the trusted agent at all times while on post. Trusted Traveler's goal is to alleviate gate congestion while still providing a level of security, Thomas said.
The installation access badge is intended for its holder only to access Redstone and cannot be used for Trusted Traveler. If a driver wishes to access Redstone using the installation access badge, all others in the vehicle will be required to provide access credentials. Current scanning procedures at the gates will remain unchanged, Thomas said.
As for military retirees and their dependents, their Department of Defense-issued cards will continue to provide them access and also qualifies them as Trusted Travelers.
All current access cards will remain valid until their expiration date and there is no need to obtain a new card until the current one expires.
The new access policy is unique in the Army, Thomas said, as Redstone is a DOD Federal Center of Excellence and a unique installation. "The commander has said on multiple occasions that our community is our taxpayers and therefore, Redstone Arsenal should be as much a part of their lives as ours."