Visitors to military installations with driver’s licenses from five states that have not complied with a 2005 law are now required to show an alternate form of identification, such as a passport, to gain entry, the Pentagon said last week.
The new policy would affect all visitors — including pizza delivery drivers, taxi drivers and contractors working on an installation — with driver’s licenses from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington. Those five states, along with American Samoa, have failed to implement security measures mandated by the REAL ID Act.
The law, prompted by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, requires states to incorporate anti-counterfeit technology in their driver’s licenses, verify applicants’ identities and conduct background checks for employees involved in issuing the documents.
“The state ID card or state driver license is going to be problematic,” said Milt Hemmingsen, regional deputy security director for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, which oversees facilities in 20 states. “At least for the first visit, they might need a passport to gain access,” Hemmingsen told the Virginian-Pilot.
Jennifer Hurst-Wender, director of museum operations for Preservation Virginia, which manages the 18th-century Cape Henry Lighthouse on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va., told the paper she was “extraordinarily concerned” the new requirement could keep away visitors.
Since 2002, annual attendance at the lighthouse has dropped from 80,000 to 56,000 as the installation has increased security measures, including checking IDs, inspecting vehicles and requiring proof of insurance.
For public events, such as an air show, visitors from a non-compliant state in many cases still could gain admittance.
“A lot of the things would be [on a] case-by-case basis, based upon what the local commander had decided or what their policy would be,” said Nate Allen, a spokesman for the Army Installation Management Command.
“In one way, shape or form, we’re finding ways to be compliant with the law. In most cases on a day-to-day basis, if a person is not able to provide a REAL ID-compliant form of identification, they’re not going to be granted access to the installation unless they are able to have a chaperone,” Allen said.