Nearly 3,000 military and civilian workers at Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania are helping test a new electronic way to verify the credentials of drivers entering a military installation.

The Automated Installation Entry system is similar to an "easy pass" system used on civilian toll roads to speed up traffic flow.

The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, working with the Office of the Provost Marshal General and the Office of the Product Manager, Force Protection Systems, developed a standard Army design for an entry system that will change the way an individual's credentials are verified and speed up the process.

The technology is mature, commercial-off-the-shelf technology that proves the AIE system can work in accordance with Army standards. It is likely that the system, once perfected, could be adopted by other services and defense agencies, potentially improving security at military installations across DoD.

"AIE incorporates access control technology, combined with policy and procedure revisions, that will enhance security, standardize access control point technological requirements and provide commanders a flexible force protection solution," said Gregory R. "Jay" Jones, Office of the PM-FPS.

Before the AIE system can be installed, the existing infrastructure at the access control point has to be upgraded. This work is being executed by Huntsville Center's Access Control Point Equipment Program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Upgrades include guard booths, active vehicle barriers, traffic islands, overhead canopies, power/conduit/wiring and incidental paving.

Installation of the AIE system includes electronic and computer assemblies, optical and mechanical assemblies, conduit and wiring. The major elements of the AIE are the ACP with vehicle lanes, an enrollment center, a visitor control center and data centers.

The AIE mission is to automate access control in order to:
Aca,!Ac Enhance security by verification/authentication of credentials, vetting of individuals and establishing permissions to control access
Aca,!Ac Reduce guard requirements/costs at access control points
Aca,!Ac Maintain or increase traffic throughput at gates.

Other agencies supporting PM-FPS in the endeavor include the Army Test and Evaluation Command for performance evaluation and endurance tests, the Space and Warfare Naval Systems Command for the Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Program documentation that is processed through Net Command, and the Training and Doctrine Command for review and comment on operators, system administrator and maintenance training the first Army DIACAP-certified Automated Installation Entry system, and

Letterkenny is one of three installations being used to demonstrate the capability. Huntsville Center is also installing and testing AIE systems at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, in Southport, N.C. The three locations represent different types of installations where AIE will be installed.

To be able to use the system, individuals and vehicles must be registered on the installation.

"The AIE work at Letterkenny was awarded in two phases," said Jeffrey Mitchell, Electronic Security Systems program manager, Huntsville Center. "In phase one, the prep work at the site was assessed to ensure AIE equipment could be procured and installed. Follow-on was to complete and deliver a technical design. In phase two the equipment was procured and installed.

"The project presented unique challenges because this was a PM-FPS 'program of record' where we had to engage other agencies through PM-FPS to execute this project," Mitchell said.

"Whenever you have a new system that will be tied to an Army network, you have to ensure the information processed on that system will be secure," said Craig Zeigler, ESS physical security specialist. "The system has to be certified and accredited to be networthy; that it can be plugged in and talk computer to computer without corrupting the Army network."

"Once the system was installed, it was tested in accordance with an Interim Authority to Test provided by NETCOM," Mitchell said. "Performance Verification Tests were completed by ATEC in August and follow-on Endurance Tests that started in September were completed Oct. 22. The next step is the Authority to Operate, which is approval to use the system on the Army network.

"The system at Letterkenny is working well, Mitchell said. "This has been one of our more challenging projects because of all the players involved, and the requirement to follow the DIACAP process for the Letterkenny system. There were some initial hiccups as expected with fielding any new system, but we have worked through them."