Yokosuka continues push for DBIDS use
November 6, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Catherine and Stanley Kato walked into the Industrial Security Office on Thursday, and just a few minutes later, the two U.S. civil servants walked right back out.
The couple updated their entries in Yokosuka’s Defense Biometric Identification System — a process they called “very simple.”
DBIDS is a collection of individual biographical information, like height and weight, accompanied by a photograph and a fingerprint. It is linked to identification cards, which are scanned by security when people enter the base.
Right now, 86 percent of Yokosuka’s active-duty servicemembers, civilians, contractors and Japanese workers are registered in DBIDS — a huge improvement over the 40 percent they used to have, said Chief Petty Officer Shannan Richardson.
“This is way better than it used to be,” Richardson said. “If we can keep this up, we’re doing well.”
Yokosuka security ran a registration blitz between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15 that garnered more than 2,000 new registrants, bringing to 36,398 the number registered.
Still, both Richardson and Yokosuka base security officer Lt. Paul Bradley reiterated the need for everyone to register. Registration is conducted at the security office at Yokosuka’s main gate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“There are still problems with people not coming in to register for whatever reason,” Bradley said. “Some people are apprehensive. They think we’re giving out their personal information, but the information doesn’t get out.”
Hurricane Katrina underscored the need to have military workers and families plugged into a centralized system if an emergency arises, Bradley said.
“In Katrina no one knew where anyone was. We’ve had MAs (masters-at-arms) from that area serve here,” Bradley said. “It has improved now.”
In an emergency, the military would also use the Noncombatant Evacuations Operations database as well, he said.
Because it tracks people, the system also has helped commands catch those in unauthorized-absence status and has assisted in some high-profile cases, Bradley said.
Yokosuka is the only naval base in Japan using DBIDS for all attached to the base, including those who are here on temporary duty orders longer than 18 days.
Yokosuka was Japan’s test pilot in 2004. It hasn’t spread to other bases yet — Sasebo Naval Base is just starting the program, according to base officials — but it has been used in other countries for years.
U.S. military bases in South Korea have used DBIDS since 1999.
Stripes reporter Teri Weaver contributed to this report.