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U.S. Military Failing to Track Installation Access, GAO Reports

​​U.S. military facilities are increasingly relying on physical access control systems (PACS) to screen visitors and employees entering military installations. The systems scan credentials and check them against FBI and government databases for criminal histories or suspected terrorist involvement.

However, years after two mass shootings on military installations, branches of the armed forces are not effectively tracking base access, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, DOD Installations: Monitoring Use of Physical Access Control Systems Could Reduce Risk to Personnel and Assets.

The report found that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) did not know the extent to which installations were using these systems because the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have not monitored their use, so “those military services do not have the data they need to evaluate the effectiveness of PACS and make informed risk-based decisions to safeguard personnel and mission-critical, high-value installation assets." The U.S. Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency monitor their installations’ use of PACS, routinely collecting data on the systems’ use and the number of credentials scanned at each installation.

The report recommends that the DOD and military branches monitor the use of PACS at installations and develop appropriate performance measures and associated goals for biometric integration into the PACS systems.

Read more about federal access management in “Accessing Federal Facilities.”