Starting on August 15, 2016, Air Force bases will no longer accept driver’s licenses from Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, and American Samoa. This change is based on the lack of compliance by these states in accordance with the 2005 Real ID Act and will force residents to utilize secondary forms of identification, or enhanced driver’s licenses.
The changes have been a long time coming. 11 years after the initial act, this is the latest in an attempt to enforce compliance. Members of the three states and American Samoa will be able to show passports to enter the base. This will not affect service members as they will be able to show their military identification, but may impact the ability of family members to enter the installation.
The changes also reflect increased security patrols, many installations transitioning to force conditions Bravo in May of 2015. Although this was not due to a specific threat, there have been numerous incidents since then that have validated the need to increase security posture across the installations. The most notable was the July 2015 shooting in Chattanooga which killed four marines and a navy sailor eventually died of their wounds.
Military installations always make an easy target to identify. With their clear markings, fences, and gates, it would be hard to miss a military base. Thankfully the security measures, postures, protective equipment, and personnel are just some of the many techniques employed to thwart would be attackers.
The force protection levels also demonstrate another change. Over the years prior to 9-11, many military installations allowed entry without showing military identification. Since then, this number has been reduced significantly. Some bases are swinging a seemingly different way though and allowing non-military related people to actually live on base.
On August 4, 2016, Fort Hood opened up its on-base housing to non-military affiliated personnel. This is demonstrated of a transition from government-owned housing to privatized housing. When there are shortages in on-base demand, privatized companies will look elsewhere to maintain profits. For military retirees, this can provide a comfortable setting where residents are close to their amenities, medical care, and the post exchange. Non-military affiliated residents would not have access to these locations, but would require a background check prior to being considered for admittance.
As the pendulum swings both ways, the reality is that increased security, background checks, vehicle inspections, and screening is a positive attribute to the any military installation. The added security results in minimal inconvenience, and while the average civilian may not appreciate the changes, service members recognize that lax security procedures, coupled with overconfidence, results in the potential for serious incidents to occur.
Whether the violence comes from an external threat such as the Chattanooga shooting, or an internal threat such as the Fort Hood shootings, the reality is that we are all better off for addressing security concerns head on. It is only through recognition, that we can hope to effect change.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.