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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A military identification card alone is not enough to get on some U.S. Forces Korea installations these days.

Because of a continuing problem with lost ID cards, USFK guards at several gates are requiring a second form of photo ID before a person can enter. The rule is in effect for gates that have not been equipped with hand-held scanners to verify valid ID cards, said John Nowell, Area II spokesman.

That system — called Biometric Identification System, or BIDS — has much of a cardholder’s information in a database. The command has requested funds to purchase more BIDS equipment but there’s no timetable when gates may get scanners, Nowell said.

“USFK implements force protection measures in order to enhance installation security and ensure the safety of USFK service members, DOD civilians and family members,” according to a U.S. Forces Korea statement. “Random checks, such as requiring two forms of ID, are a measure of protecting our people.”

In 2003, Area II command officials reported about 1,500 lost ID cards and toughened up the policy for getting a replacement card.

Officials this week could not provide the number of lost cards so far in 2004.

The command has been replacing older ID cards with the Common Access Card, an advanced card with a magnetic strip that can be used to gain access to controlled areas and a computer chip that can store personal information. The chip also has codes that let users access DOD computers and e-mail accounts, a measure to be implemented soon throughout USFK.

In November, the Air Force modified procedures for reporting a lost ID card and getting a new one.

In response to what Air Force officials called an “unreasonably high number” of lost cards, all reports of lost or stolen cards — including those made by civilians — must be made to unit commanders instead of to flight chiefs or section commanders. Each unit commander will then counsel the person who lost the card on his or her responsibility for keeping track of it and prepare a letter authorizing a replacement.

“If these official government documents fall into the wrong hands, it could result in unauthorized persons gaining access to the base or a facility which could have dire consequences,” according to instructions written by Brig. Gen. Maury Forsyth, commander 51st Fighter Wing.

The new Army policy requires people to fill out a form with military police and get a signed memorandum from the “first O-5 or civilian GS-14 in their chain of command” explaining the circumstances for the loss and the “corrective action taken to prevent another loss.”

With those two documents in hand, people must then go to the 1st Replacement Company office to get a new ID. Sponsors are required to accompany family members. If the sponsor is on temporary duty or deployed, a copy of those orders and a power of attorney form are required.


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