Insecure IDs Compromise Security at Military Bases

By Dan Cadman, January 19, 2017

Earlier this month military.com published this article: "More State IDs No Longer Accepted at Bases".

The gist of the article is that U.S. military posts have begun to tighten up on the identity documents required before they will permit entry onto their compounds. It is a commonsense security measure given today's unsettled world, and particularly noteworthy in light of efforts by so many terrorist groups to single out serving members of our armed forces and police. For instance, in 2015 ISIS released a list of 100 U.S. armed forces members' names, addresses, and other data, obviously with the hope that would-be jihadists would follow up with attacks against them here in the homeland.

There certainly is reason to be concerned because such attacks have taken place, both individually and at certain bases (Fort Hood comes immediately to mind). The attacks have even led to robust discussions over whether military personnel should be authorized to go armed at their installations. (See here and here.)

The impetus for the tightening up of access to the military installations is the federal Real ID Act, which obliges states to issue enhanced forms of identity documents, primarily driver's licenses, after more rigorous examination of underlying evidence of citizenship or resident alien status. States that fail to do so risk having these documents rejected at key locations under federal control or supervision, such as airports and military installations.

I was pleased to read that military posts were finally starting to get on board with this effort, which is clearly in the best interests of the military, its members, and the many dependent families who live on large, sprawling posts all over the country. I was less pleased to read this, though:

Driver's licenses from four additional states will no longer be accepted as official forms of identification for gaining access to military bases DoD-wide starting Jan. 30, officials said. ...

Those state IDs don't comply with official standards under the 2005 Real ID Act, which requires states to meet minimum security requirements for state-issued ID cards such as driver's licenses, according to the Department of Homeland Security. ...

DoD officials said that while Homeland Security officials have issued a list of other acceptable forms of identification ... installation commanders are free to develop their own lists of supplemental forms of ID. For example, officials at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., plan to accept birth certificates, utility bills, and vehicle registrations as supporting ID documents, while officials at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, accept Social Security cards, but not utility bills or vehicle registrations. (Emphases added.)

Utility bills? Vehicle registrations (which are available to illegal aliens in a disturbingly large number of states)? Even Social Security cards are routinely counterfeited and abused, and sold cheaply on the streets of virtually any large or mid-sized American city.

These items sound like the minimal requirements for a shockingly liberal amnesty such as that contained in the Gang of Eight bill that was defeated a few years ago — they most emphatically are not documents that will enhance the security of important military installations.

Fort Huachuca, for instance, is home to certain counterterrorism intelligence courses, and Fort Leonard Wood hosts the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, which "develops competent leaders and warriors of character and delivers total Army Engineer, CBRN, Military Police, and Maneuver Support capabilities to enable mission success across the range of military operations."

What could these post commanders be thinking of?