Military Connection: New Military Security Measure: By Debbie Gregory

IMESAThe U.S. military has recently begun conducting FBI background checks on individuals who want to access military installations.

Beginning August 8, 2014, a number of Air Force, Army, Marine, and Defense Logistics Agency installations began utilizing a system called the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis (IMESA).

IMESA can run the names of individuals visiting a military installation. They can then be checked against FBI programs such as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the National Crime Information Center Wanted Persons File, and the Terrorist Screening Database. Before being granted access to military installations, the IMESA system will have the ability to check a person’s criminal record, outstanding warrants and other useful information for spotting risks to the safety and security of the base and its personnel.

While already in early stages of development last year, Pentagon officials began to fast-track the IMESA project after the Washington Navy Yard shooting last September. Aaron Alexis shot and killed twelve people and wounded three others after he was granted access to the base. Alexis was a government contractor at the time, with an active SECRET clearance. But a full background check, like the one that IMESA can perform, would have detected that Alexis had been arrested multiple times for violent behavior, including incidents involving discharging firearms. Although Alexis had never been prosecuted, knowledge of his arrests might have prevented the shootings.

The information in IMESA is already contained in the DoD’s personnel database, or within local DoD databases of individuals affiliated with DoD by employment on that installation. That means that Military ID’s will still be sufficient for service members and their dependents to get on base.

People not affiliated with the Defense Department will be asked to provide identification containing enough information to be run through IMESA.

When security personnel come across an individual who pops on the IMESA system, the installation is required to contact the originating law enforcement agency to determine how to proceed.

Not all installations have the capability to run the IMESA system yet. But all branches of the military have a long-range plan to connect their individual installations to IMESA.

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Military Connection: New Military Security Measure: By Debbie Gregory