Captain simplifies base access process

CHINA?LAKE — Over his past year in command of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Capt. Dennis Lazar realized that many people in Ridgecrest and the surrounding area didn’t seem to come aboard the base very much.

It wasn’t that they didn’t want to — the reason most community members cited was the difficulty in gaining access. The wait at Pass & ID was far too long and navigating the byzantine vetting and access process was daunting. Most folks just considered it too hard and chose not to even bother.

The end result was a base that made the very community it relies upon feel unwelcome.

Lazar wants to change that.

“Force protection and security levels are the primary concerns, of

course,” said Lazar. “But those requirements can be met while still

allowing more streamlined access to members of our community who desire to visit China Lake’s mainsite.

“Whether it’s to enjoy the golf course, go to the museum, visit one of our food venues or to attend a special event, the community members of good standing who support the installation not only should be able to come aboard, but also shouldn’t have to endure tortuous hours in our Pass & ID office only to emerge with a one-day pass.”

In an effort to help this new initiative come about, Lazar created the “4 Rs” requirement to help everyone understand who he’d like to grant access privileges to. The “4 Rs” are:

• Ridgecrest — A community member of good reputation living in Ridgecrest or the surrounding local area

• Recreational — A community member who would like access for Recreational purposes

• Recurrent — A community member who anticipates coming aboard multiple times in a year

•?Recommended — A community member recommended and sponsored by another badge holder who already has access to the base -- CAC, military ID or community badge holder

“We vet everyone already to ensure that we don’t allow bad actors to come aboard; felons, sex offenders, those with outstanding warrants — so we have the force protection side covered,” said Lazar.

“We also can ensure that only those with appropriate clearances are able to access higher security areas. Most of our mainsite and all of our quality-of-life venues don’t have those higher-level security restrictions; they should be available to anyone who can access the base.

“I want to emphasize a shared responsibility aspect to those who already have badges. The ‘recommended’ requirement ensures we set an even higher bar by giving our current badge holders a vote.

“If you think your neighbor Joe and his family would benefit from visiting, we want to give you the opportunity to sponsor them.

“The city of Ridgecrest and the base are the China Lake team. We have a long history together, and we continue to rely on each other.

“Especially in this harsh fiscal climate, it is more important than ever to share the limited resources we have here on our little desert island. We want you to visit!”

Facilities open to the public include:

China Lake Golf Course

U.S. Naval Museum of Arma-

ment & Technology

All Faith Chapel

Navy Exchange Deli

Mulligans Grill

Oasis Pool (pool pass required)

The Flying Bean

Hall Memorial Lanes

MWR Outdoor Recreation

WACOM Thrift Store

Special events

Facilities that cannot be used by the public include Navy Exchange, Commissary and gas station.

Story First Published: 2013-04-24