Contracting companies, vendors, service workers and non-military personal who routinely conduct business aboard U.S. Marine Corps bases Camp Lejeune and Air Station New River will have the opportunity to attended an open forum on enrolling in RAPIDGate.
"RAPIDGate is a system that verifies who's coming and going on our bases," Director of Public Affairs for Marine Corps Installations East Nat Fahy told The Daily News. "But it's not only that, it also streamlines base access for our contractors and our services providers who regularly access our base every day."
Enrollment in RAPIDGate is voluntary for organizations that are required to pay for access to the program, which seeks to expedite access to both Marine Corps bases for up to one year. Those who choose not to enroll will be required to obtain a 30-day pass from the Installation Contractor Vetting Office, which requires companies to renew the pass every four days -- a process that Marine Corps officials say could negatively impact businesses, due to longer wait times at the contractor vetting office, according to a press release announcing the forum.
The open forum for non-military personal and businesses interested in learning about enrollment in RAPIDGate will be held Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. at the Base Theatre aboard Camp Lejeune. RAPIDGate registration will start on Nov. 23 and is projected to be fully implemented by Feb. 23, according to the release.
"As with any new policy change, there will inevitably be questions. ...We want to ensure businesses get them addressed and learn more about the program, the costs, and the important timelines they need to be aware of," Deputy Police Chief Marc Farr of the Provost Marshal office said in the release.
In September, The Daily News reported that Marine Corps installations would start implementation of the technology that requires gate sentries to use handheld identification scanners that read and validate Department of Defense Common Access Cards, or what is commonly referred to as "CAC cards," in addition, to the IDs issued to retired military personal and dependents. The scanners access public record databases for information about an individual before they are allowed access to military installations. The scanners authenticate all federal and state issued ID cards, to include, Canadian driver's licenses, according to previous reporting by The Daily News.
However, a September 2013 internal audit by the Pentagon's Inspector General Office, originally classified as "For Official Use Only" and entitled Navy Commercial Access Control System Did Not Effectively Mitigate Access Control Risks, found that RAPIDGate placed "military personnel, dependents, civilians, and installations at an increased security risk." Inspector General investigators probed 10 U.S. Navy military installations and found that at least 52 felons -- with, for example, prior convictions for serious drug offenses such as cocaine use, as well as for sexual offenses, according to the inspector general's report -- were allowed unsupervised access for extended periods of time, ranging from two months to three years respectively. The felonies committed by the 52 individual contractors were not identified during the initial RAPIDGate public records check.
Investigators reported that seven Navy installations granted access to contractor employees without vetting employee identities through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Terrorist Screening Database. The other three Naval installations checked the NCIC database before issuing credentials to contractors. The Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Security Office personnel stated that using NCIC before issuing base access to contractors highlighted several individuals with severe felony charges -- information that was not found by using RAPIDGate's system, which only uses public record checks to determine if a contractor is suitable for base access, according to the IG report.
"If the installation solely relied on the public record checks, these contractors would have otherwise been granted a RAPIDGate credential that facilitated unescorted installation access," the report said.
Eid Passport Inc., a Oregon based company that manufactures the RAPIDGate system acknowledged in the report that, "not all public records are up-to-date, complete, accurate, or available...[and] neither the Service Provider not its screening providers can guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the data obtained."
The Inspector General ultimately recommended the U.S. Navy immediately discontinue the use of RAPIDGate.
A request for information from Eid Passport Inc. on whether or not their systems have been updated to include access to the NCIC or the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database since the Inspector General's report was not returned before deadline.
Camp Lejeune's Public Affairs Office also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the RAPIDGate Program and the Inspector General's report.
For information about the RAPIDGate Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-727-4342. To enroll in the RAPIDGate Program, go to rapidgate.com/enroll. Companies can access enrollment forms at eform.rapidgate.com.