Yokosuka registering all personnel in ID system
By TERI WEAVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 1, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Servicemembers and Defense Department civilians and contractors have until Oct. 15 to register in a basewide system that tracks entry and exit from Yokosuka, according to security officials.
The registration into DBIDS — Defense Biometric Identification System — is meant to keep up-to-date information on everyone working at the base in case of an emergency, according to Navy Lt. Paul Bradley, security officer at Yokosuka.
“If we had a catastrophe, we need to know where people are,” Bradley said.
About 65 to 70 percent the people on the base are already in the system, said Chief Petty Officer Shannan Richardson, who works in the Industrial Security Office at the base’s main gate.
But Navy officials at Yokosuka want the remaining personnel to register in DBIDS by Oct. 15. Bradley said he won’t turn anyone away from the gate after the deadline, but added the base will continue to require people to register in the system.
“It behooves you to come here and register,” he said. “This tool is to help them, especially during emergencies.”
The military has used the system since 1999 in South Korea.
Yokosuka is the first naval base in Japan to implement DBIDS. At Sasebo Naval Base in western Japan, the system is slowly being phased in, according to Sasebo spokesman Charles Howard. The base is beginning to register its Japanese workforce, and in coming months it will register servicemembers, families and other workers, he said.
The system is not in place at Yokota Air Base in Japan, Kadena Air Base on Okinawa or on Marine Corps installations on Okinawa, according to officials.
The system contains each person’s name, Social Security number, address, phone numbers, sponsor information and unit information. As each person enters Yokosuka Naval Base, a hand-held, code reader checks each identification card.
Because the database can track the movement of each person on and off base, it already is used as a way to find servicemembers wanted for breaking curfew, liberty rules or other infractions, Bradley said.
Yet the system also provides the Navy with an accurate count and location of personnel in the Yokosuka area in the event of a natural disaster or crisis, Bradley said.
During Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast two years ago, for example, the military had a hard time tracking down all of its personnel shortly after the storm hit, he said.
To register, servicemembers should bring their military identification card and orders. Family members should bring their identification cards, orders and command sponsorship letter or family entry approval document, Richardson said.
All others — government workers, contractors and master labor contract workers — should bring their identification cards, orders and letters of employment, she said.
The registration is at Yokosuka’s main gate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 15.
Visiting military personnel to Yokosuka will be handled on a case-by-case basis, Richardson said. Personnel with temporary duty orders to Yokosuka should bring those orders when coming on base, she said.