Base badging process changes

Want to go on the base? Allow plenty of time

CHINA LAKE — Following the investigation into the Sept. 16 Naval Shipyard shooting, all badging processes are being tightened throughout the Department of Defense.

All personnel entering a military installation who are age 16 years or older must first be vetted for any criminal convictions, affiliations with an organization that advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government, barment from a Navy installation or any other derogatory information within the Navy Law Enforcement Database.

The Navy Region Dispatch, in addition to directing first responders throughout Navy Region Southwest, vets all applicants applying for entry into any of the 10 Navy Region Southwest installations, including Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, as well as two other Navy sites outside the region. By itself, NAWS China Lake submits applications for 300 to 400 badges per day.

One significant impact of this new requirement is the increased time that it will take to physically receive a badge — typically two weeks. Once a person has submitted the application at the Pass & ID office, the applicant should call 760-939-3160 or 760-939-1095 in two weeks to see whether their badge has been approved.

If there are no problems, the requestor will be asked to come in to have his or her photo taken and to complete the badging process. Sponsors of community badges must be present only at the initial request and for renewals, not at the completion of the badging process.

Some people are being denied access because their information is “nonautomated” via the National Crime Information Center, the database used for the background checks. This does not mean the person has a criminal record or derogatory information, it simply means the person’s record is not available for review in that database.

Without the ability to review an applicant’s record, access can no longer be granted for that person to enter a military base. Persons denied access because the record cannot be reviewed will be being asked to submit a request for their records, along with their fingerprints, to the FBI. Once the records are received, the Security Office will enter the applicant into the automated database and a badge can be issued. The instructions are at www.fbi.gov/about-us/ciis/nics/general-information/cgbrochure.pdf.

“While this situation is not widespread, there are a few local people, including leaders within our community with spotless reputations, being denied access because their names are not in NCIC’s automated database’” said Capt. Dennis Lazar, NAWS commanding officer.

“They are being asked to go to the expense and inconvenience of getting their own records from the FBI to submit to an installation’s security office. I realize that is frustrating and a huge inconvenience. I can assure you we are actively pursuing a more streamlined fix to this issue, but right now this is our reality.

“Please bear with us. It is imperative for the Navy at large to know the background of the people who are requesting permission to come aboard our installations, and this is the chosen method to accomplish that. In the wake of the Navy Yard shooting tragedy, we must get this right.”

If immediate access to the base is required, a temporary one-day pass can still be issued. Instead of turning in the application to NRD to be processed, Pass & ID personnel, or the guard at the gate, will radio the request in and NRD will do the background check as soon as possible. This process can take up to two hours, so personnel should plan accordingly. The good news is that once a person has been vetted getting future badges will not take as long.

Lazar encourages the local community to apply for community badges, as opposed to day passes, not only to take advantage of the Morale, Welfare and Recreational facilities and activities on base but also to ease the lines at the Pass & ID office.

“Getting a community badge just makes sense. If you’re being vetted anyway, why walk out with just a day pass? Get the badge and save yourself time in the future. Once you have the community badge, you won’t have to go through the process again for another year,” said Lazar.

You can get a community badge if you live in the surrounding area, use the base for recreational or nonwork-related reasons and are recommended by someone who already has a badge.

Badge holders are urged to initiate the renewal process at least two weeks before their badges expire.

Story First Published: 2013-12-25