DBIDS upgrade provides faster, secure gate flow

  • Published
  • By Vicki Stein
  • Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

As visitors to Joint Base San Antonio go through the base gates, they may notice traffic is flowing faster but what they may not notice is security is also stronger.


Thanks to a Defense Biometrics Identification System 5.0 upgrade, ID card scanning speed has been reduced to a single second or less and the DBIDS equipment footprint is 40 percent smaller.


DBIDS is a card-scanning tool that uses barcodes and biometrics to identify cardholders. The system verifies authorizations and assigns access privileges based on identity, affiliation and the current threat level.


“That equates to rapid identity proofing and vetting of personnel requesting access onto our installations and allows Security Forces to stop potential threats at the base perimeter,” said Derrick Austin, Air Force Security Forces Center Chief of Police Services and Installation Access Control.


Security Forces have been using the devices since 2009, but they were not always as quick to provide scanned data results.


One of AFSFC’s missions is to provide functional implementation guidance for Police Services, which includes DBIDs.  Program goals are to improve the system’s availability, usability and affordability for installation commanders and Security Forces.


Airmen using DBIDS 5.0 light up when talking about the quick response and ability to move traffic. Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland DBIDS administrator Senior Airman Hunter Templeton said that when he did a test on the previous DBIDS 4.0 platform, it could take nine seconds or as much as 15 to 20 seconds to respond.


“DBIDS 5.0 is down to three seconds but usually a half of a second.” Templeton said.


The new equipment includes handheld scanners and all-in-one computers. 


“This is a full upgrade and the system is working great. It’s amazing. I love it!” Templeton said.


The new DBIDS Scanner responds faster and with more accuracy than a human checking an ID card. This means with the heavy volume of traffic entering a base during peak traffic hours, entry controllers can now scan credentials instead of relying on visual ID card inspections, and it lessens the bottleneck or choke point at base entry control points.


It gives us better vetting,” Templeton said. “We’re not going to allow anyone on base who should not enter. It will make everyone’s life easier. People coming on base won’t be as frustrated, and Airmen handling traffic won’t have to deal with frustrated people who have been sitting in long lines. We’re predicting 300,000 scans monthly and may even double the monthly amount last year of 177,000.”


He added it allows Security Forces Defenders to identify personnel with wants and warrants, which makes the perimeter and base safer.


Austin said DBIDS is installed at every Air Force installation stateside and overseas, to include Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard bases.


“If a person’s status changes for any reason, like being barred, once the status is updated in DBIDS by the barring authority, all installation entry controllers will see the person was barred,” Austin said. “In six years, DBIDS annual scan statistics increased from 1,000,000 scans per year to 86,000,000 scans in 2016.


He said Scott Ulrich, Melia Goodman and Travis Cambern from the Air Force DBIDS Development Team had a vision of transitioning Security Forces from visual ID card inspections to electronic interrogation of all credentials. 


“They imagined a system that’s easy to employ, interconnected globally and capable of continuous screening of DBIDS records,” Austin said.


The system is maintained by the Defense Manpower Data Center, owners of Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, and the Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System, or RAPIDS. 


When a DoD credential is initially scanned at an installation entry control point, the cardholder is automatically registered in DBIDS once the ID Card is validated in DEERS. Also, information is screened by the FBI National Criminal Information Center.  DBIDS is interconnected with DEERS and NCIC for continuous vetting. 


In 2016, entry controllers detected 4,000 people with warrants, flagged 233 armed and dangerous, 71,000 personnel with terminated ID Cards, 3,500 barred, 73,000 expired ID cards and 22,580 ID cards reported lost or stolen.  Austin said that in 2009, it was impossible to detect these categories of unauthorized personnel. “Now, Security Forces are able to stop potential threats, protecting our people and warfighting assets.”


Looking to the future, Austin said experts are already working on the next generation of DBIDS, to include a web-based virtual visitor center to allow DoD card holders to request visitor passes online. Also, DBIDS scanners will be able to read REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses, making visitor passes obsolete.


“If you see your entry controllers using the DBIDS scanners during peak traffic hours, assist them by having your credentials ready to be scanned and understand if minor delays occur, there’s a good chance an unauthorized person has been detected,” Austin said “It’s for everyone’s safety.”