Web-based enrollment streamlines visitor pass process

  • Published
  • By Joe Bela
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – A new web-based enrollment system, now deployed at several Air Force installations, is streamlining the visitor pass process and reducing foot traffic at visitor control centers.

Developed by the Air Force Security Forces Center, a primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, the Defense Biometric Identification System Visitor Enrollment System, or DVES, integrates with the system currently used by security forces personnel to control access to military bases.

Together, the two web-based systems function to “link requestors, sponsors and visitor control centers in a virtual environment,” said Melia Goodman, installation access control chief in the AFSFC Law and Order Division.

Each year, security forces Defenders across the Department of the Air Force issue more than 1.7 million paper passes at visitor control centers, entry control points and commercial vehicle inspection areas. In addition, some 250,000 passes are issued annually at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, through a separate process that supports Air Force Basic Military Training graduation attendance.

Recognizing that issuing passes the traditional way is no longer efficient, staff at AFSFC began to look at new ways of managing the program. That led to the concept of DVES becoming a reality.

First tested in a lab environment at AFSFC, DVES proved to be “the innovative, no-cost solution we needed,” Goodman said. “Using existing capabilities of the Defense Biometric Identification System with DVES and the pre-enrollment web site significantly reduces the need for visitors to physically enter a brick-and-mortar facility. That can reduce manpower requirements at visitor control centers and get passes into the hands of the visitors more expediently and efficiently.”

Beginning in October 2020, the Air National Guard’s Ellington Field, Texas, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Tyndall AFB, Florida, conducted 90-day field test to capture data from bases with significantly different visitor pass procedures.

All locations reported substantial decreases in both pass processing times and foot traffic at VCCs. Ellington Field reduced processing time by 50 percent and saw a 70 percent decrease in VCC throughput. The 902nd Security Forces Squadron at JBSA-Randolph experienced similar results and proposed the use of customer-generated QR codes to further streamline the process.

Visitors complete the pre-enrollment registration using any computer or smart device. They then receive unique QR and alpha numeric codes that they provide to the sponsor along with a scanned copy of their driver’s license. The sponsor does the rest.

“After a successful background check, the system generates a visitor pass which can be emailed to the visitor who presents it at an entry control point for access. The entire process happens without the need to enter the VCC,” Goodman said.

Less traffic at the VCCs also helps us comply with today’s COVID health and safety protocols, Goodman added.

DVES was approved for full-scale implementation at all Air and Space Force bases in August. Tyndall’s 325th Security Forces Squadron launched the system in September. It made an immediate impact.

“DVES dropped foot traffic through our VCC by 95 percent within this first month of implementation,” wrote Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th SFS commander, in a recent message to AFSFC. “We really appreciate the support the (DVES) team has provided. It is definitely making our lives easier and is making us more mission effective.”

At JBSA-Randolph, Reuben Fleischman, 902nd SFS VCC lead, said the average wait time for a pass at the visitors center before DVES was about 15 minutes. “Now, if we have the proper documentation, it takes no more than three to five minutes to issue a visitor pass. And when it comes to renewals, it takes only one to three minutes,” he said.

“As vested members of the global AFIMSC enterprise, we play a vital role in the Air Force’s quest to accelerate change,” said AFSFC Commander Col. Aaron Guill. “Initiatives like DVES encompass this commitment by developing and delivering innovative solutions that enhance security forces’ mission sets and mold Defenders into the agile and lethal force today’s Air and Space Forces need.”