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Delays, access changes are on the way to Fort Stewart
CMK FS access
Expect delays entering Fort Stewart as a new identification check system takes effect this week. - photo by Photo by Cailtin Kenney

Fort Stewart is facing the possibility of delays at its gates for the next few weeks as new requirements from federal agencies and updated scanning software are put in place.

Starting Monday, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will roll out the updated Automated Installation Entry, or AIE2+, system, which will scan and check Department of Defense Common Access Cards, dependent identification cards, AIE cards and retiree IDs, as well as state driver licenses.

“Automated Installation Entry system, or AIE, has been a system the Army’s used for a number of years to automate access to our installations,” said Lt. Col. Andy Rodgers, the director of emergency services and commander of the 385th Military Police Battalion.

When drivers and visitors are scanned into the upgraded system for the first time with their ID, the card will be automatically registered into the system, a process that can take up to 30 seconds. After that, each scan at a gate should only take 5 seconds to complete. The system will give guards more information on who is coming onto the installations.

“That upgrade gives us the capacity or the ability to check everyone coming in the installation that gets scanned,” Rodgers said. “They get checked against a number of national databases.”

“This system checks individuals for warrants, installation revocations/debarments, criminal backgrounds, wants, and security alerts,” according to a recent Marne Message posting.

Tens of thousands of people pass through the gates of Hunter and Fort Stewart each week, so Department of Emergency Services will be monitoring traffic during peak periods during the system’s initial implementation, but delays are expected to only be short term, according to Rodgers.

Contractors from the system’s manufacturer will also be present to assist with any technical challenges.

Within the first few weeks, the installations should be able to scan about 90 percent of frequent visitors, according to Rodgers.

Rodgers added that drivers at the gates will be able to access the pedestal scanner system where drivers can self-scan onto the installation, but if they have passengers, a guard would still have to manually check their IDs.

“The big thing that I feel is going to assist us with AIE2+ is that we now have a system at the … point of entry where more is known about the persons entering the installation than ever before,” Rodgers said.

State driver’s licenses

On top of the delays from AIE2+ that will affect everyone coming on to Fort Stewart, as of Wednesday, people from several states began having a more difficult time accessing military installations with only their driver’s licenses because of the Real ID Act of 2005.

The law passed after the 9/11 Commission recommended that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses,” according to the Department of Homeland Security website.

Rodgers said the law “required all the states to come online with a certain degree of authenticity for their state-produced identification cards. Shortly after the first of the year, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense put out guidance to all of the installations that identified five states that were not in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.”

Visitors who hold driver’s licenses from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington state will no longer be able to use them as their only proof of identification to access federal sites, such as Fort Stewart and Hunter, unescorted.

Rodgers said military officials believe the impact of Real ID will be minimal for Hunter and Fort Stewart because they do not see IDs from those specific states as much, and so security personnel will deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

Visitors with IDs from those states must bring another form of federal ID, such as a passport. They can also be escorted onto Fort Stewart if they are in a vehicle with a DoD card holder.

The Georgia state identification complies with Real ID; however, 23 other states were granted an extension to comply.

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