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Installation access changes on horizon: Affect visitors, contractors most

Drivers approach the Daleville Gate. Post access requirements for visitors will change next year due to Army requirements. (File photo)

Drivers approach the Daleville Gate. Post access requirements for visitors will change next year due to Army requirements. (File photo)

Published: December 11, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 11, 2014) -- Changes are on the horizon for visitors seeking access to Fort Rucker and other installations Army-wide.

The tightened controls, directed by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, require visitors to submit to a National Crime Information Center background check before entering an installation, according to Installation Management Command officials.

The changes will be largely transparent to those holding military IDs, such as Soldiers, retirees, family members and civilian employees, but visitors and contract workers not entitled to a common access card will feel the impact, especially initially, according to John Tkac, Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety chief of physical security. ID card holders are considered vetted.

The new process will be implemented gradually, Tkac said, as the post needs to get the word out to those affected, process contractors who do not have Common Access Cards and get resources on hand to handle the changes. The goal is to have full implementation of the new policies in April.

Once implemented, visitors are going to need to stop in at one of the visitors centers at Fort Rucker MAIN gates, provide photo identification and wait for an NCIC Interstate Identification Index check to be performed, Tkac said, estimating that once a person starts interacting with the clerk the process will take about 10 minutes if there are no issues.

Once vetted through the NCIC III, visitors will receive a pass for the timeframe they need – up to 180 days, Tkac said. Once the check comes back OK, they will tell the clerk what they’re accessing the post for, and receive a pass for that duration. If someone is coming on post once a week to play golf, they could receive up to a 180-day pass. When the pass expires, they just go back to visitor center and get another check done.

Visitors who come on post regularly can also get sponsors – people assigned to Fort Rucker in an official capacity – to vouch for their need to be on post and sponsor them for a pass. The sponsorship must be endorsed by a battalion commander (lieutenant colonel), director or higher. 

Once in possession of a pass, visitors just present the pass and their driver’s license at the gate and they will be let on post, he said.

“It’s a one-time delay for most people who this affects,” Tkac said. “It might be a little inconvenient for some people, but these changes will make Fort Rucker a safer installation for our Soldiers and families to live, work and play.

“We will still welcome people to come visit us on the installation, but they have to help us keep Fort Rucker safe,” he added. “This screening process goes hand in hand with our efforts to keep the post and our people secure.”

Visitors with issues on their background check, such as an outstanding arrest warrant, recent felony conviction or being listed in the Terrorist Screening Database, will not be allowed access and, if appropriate, will be turned over to legal authorities, IMCOM officials said. Contractors and visitors who do not pass initial screenings for entry to Army installations can request a waiver to gain access to the installation.

The policy also allows the senior commander to waive the requirement for large events, such as concerts, graduations, Freedom Fest and the like, said Lt. Col. Florentino Santana, Fort Rucker DPS director.

The locations of Fort Rucker’s visitors centers that will process the background checks is still to be determined, as local officials await word on the resources the post will receive, Tkac said.

As for contractors without CACs, the responsible contracting officer’s representative will do most of the legwork, according to Tkac. The COR must identify the affected contractors they are responsible for, complete the necessary paperwork and take it to the military police who will run the check, then take the package over to the Directorate of Human Resources. DHR will then schedule each contractor an appointment to be issued the appropriate DA Form.

The form is a photo ID that, when issued with the new process and combined with a driver’s license, will work to get the contractor onto post, Tkac said.

For more information on the changes, call 255-0776.

This article was originally published at

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