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News from Around JRM

NBG Security Checks: The First Line of Defense

10 June 2022

From Valerie Maigue , U.S. Naval Base Guam

NAVAL BASE GUAM (June 10, 2022) – Every day, more than 10,000 access cards are scanned at U.S. Naval Base Guam’s (NBG) gates. On some days, the lengthy lines or stand still traffic are a cause for frustration - but NBG Navy Security Forces (NSF) are thorough and vigilant for a reason.
NAVAL BASE GUAM (June 10, 2022) – Every day, more than 10,000 access cards are scanned at U.S. Naval Base Guam’s (NBG) gates. On some days, the lengthy lines or stand still traffic are a cause for frustration - but NBG Navy Security Forces (NSF) are thorough and vigilant for a reason.
 
From May 1 to June 1 alone, there were approximately 389,112 identification (ID) card scans at the installation, according to NBG Security Officer Lt. Eliot Fiaschi. Of those ID card scans, the following were discovered trying to access base:
 
  • 12 sex offenders
  • 42 people with police alerts
  • 104 barred individuals
  • 388 people with suspended driving status
 
Master-at-Arms Seaman Victor Brand is assigned to NBG NSF and stands watch at the gate 12-hours a day, 3-days a week.
 
“I’m always looking out for anyone potentially surveilling the area, and vehicles or individuals that may seem out of the ordinary,” Brand said. “Security and background checks are the biggest part of this mission. We are trained at levels so we know exactly what we are looking for and that if something is not right, then we speak up.”
NBG’s Base Access instruction is in line with the Department of the Navy’s Physical Security Program, SECNAV Instruction 5500.35, according to Fiaschi.
 
Security checks ensure anyone attempting to gain access to the installation is not a threat - whether they have the proper credentials or not. Security forces remain vigilant in scanning all individuals and their vehicles, looking for any suspicious behavior for those attempting to enter the installation. This includes conducting random inspections, to ensure all permits, licenses and cargo are good to go and pose no threats to the community; keeping keen eyes on all drivers; looking for unusual activity and assessing sobriety; checking for any hazardous material, drugs or weapons vehicle operators may have; and ensuring passengers being brought on to the installation don’t pose a threat to assets and personnel.
 
“The main base of NBG is more than just Orote Commissary and the Navy Exchange,” Fiaschi said. “We have home-ported nuclear submarines, fuel, and ammunition for our maritime forces. Protecting NBG is protecting the Navy's ability to complete the mission in the INDOPACOM Area of Responsibility. Guam is the linchpin of the Pacific and we must protect her.”
 
The installation is also host to thousands of personnel who work at NBG and families living in housing.
 
This past year alone, 1,239 personnel with an adverse status ranging from armed and dangerous to barred from the installation, were detected on the Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS).
                                      
“Background checks include searches of criminal databases, checks for wants and warrants, search of terrorist watch lists, and checks of sex offender registries,” Fiaschi said. “If everything comes back clear, personnel are granted access. If any derogatory information is discovered, we have a process to review the findings and determine the proper way forward.”
 
The DBIDS system is a direct connection to the handheld scanners that security forces personnel use to scan individuals onto the installation. When patrons are scanned through the gate, the system reads the barcodes on the local and federal issued identification cards and returns results within several seconds. The hand-held unit will then display information that is embedded in the identification card. The system also provides a photo of the individual to determine if the person is registered on base. It references that information to check for any outstanding warrants or active threats and to confirm the valid identity of the card-bearer. It will then indicate whether or not they are clear to enter or if further screening is warranted.
 
Additionally, nearly 40 turnarounds occur at NBG gates on a daily basis. Turnarounds occur when individuals arrive at the entry control point, but do not have the proper credentials or base affiliation as identified through the DBIDS scan.
 
“The reality is anyone has the potential to do anything - people can come up and pretend to be tourists and we don’t have a way of determining what their true intent is,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Paul Andres. “We follow the Navy physical security standard and if they don’t have the proper credentials to get onto the installation, you’re getting turned around.”
 
Andres and Brand said that the extra few minutes it takes every day waiting in lines to enter the installation are part of the thoroughness and vigilance in keeping the installation safe and mission ready.
 
“We have countermeasures in place so that anyone trying to destabilize our defenses can be considered a threat and secured at the gate – entering the installation isn’t necessarily intended to be easy, as we are protecting property and personnel,” Brand said. “We take our jobs very seriously, and that is to ensure that every one who drives or walks through our installation gates has the proper credentials.”

 
 
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