SIERRA VISTA — Fort Huachuca and other Army installations across the country are tightening security with a new identification system that will closely scrutinize visitors while at the same time make it easier for authorized personnel to enter a facility.

The new system, called Automated Installation Entry 3, or AIE-3, is an “Army program that enhances security at installation access control points and expedites access for authorized personnel and vehicles,” says a press release issued Tuesday by Fort Huachuca’s Public Affairs Office and an AIE-3 information sheet published on the Army.mil website.

While the press release issued by Fort Huachuca does not say why the new security measure is being instituted, the AIE-3 sheet says the more stringent measures were prompted by criminals reproducing military documents.

“Despite various security features incorporated in DoD issued ID Cards, criminals and others have developed the ability to recreate documents that are extremely hard to detect based solely on a visual inspection,” the AIE sheet states.

“To better enable our security personnel to detect these counterfeit documents when presented at an Installation Access Control Point, the Army has developed scanning technology which will compare data imbedded in the ID Card, either through the CHIP or the BAR CODE, with information in the DEERS database.

“The purpose is to verify that the ID Card is legitimate,” the AIE-3 sheet says. “The system will also display to security personnel the photograph that is in the DEERS system for comparison to the person presenting the ID Card.”

Additionally, the new system will be linked to an FBI database that could prevent someone on the run from entering an Army base.

“Each time an ID card is scanned, the system also compares the information to an FBI database to determine if there is a match for an outstanding arrest warrant or for any other security related concerns,” the AIE release says.

Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton said in her press release that “For most, the change will be seamless.”

“AIE-3 requires those who have a DoD-issued ID card to present it with the back facing the guard to scan. The old system required the front of the card to be scanned,”

But visitors to Fort Huachuca for example, will have to get a new visitors badge. The current visitors badges are valid until Nov. 30, Linton’s release says, but after that anyone wanting to visit the post must register at the Visitors Control Center at the Van Deman Gate.

Individuals who do not have a U.S. Department of Defense-issued identification card, are considered visitors to Fort Huachuca, Linton’s release states. That means getting vetted at the Visitors Control Center and “providing a valid reason for entry into Fort Huachuca,” the release says.

“Local visitors residing in Cochise County are authorized to receive an installation access card that can be valid for 12 months,” the release says. “These cards will be issued using the AIE-3 system. Individuals must undergo security vetting at the VCC. Visitors receiving an installation access card will not be able to sponsor other visitors onto Fort Huachuca.”

Fort Huachuca Garrison Commander Col. Jarrod Moreland talked about the AIE-3 system at a pre-recorded COVID-19 Town Hall on Tuesday evening.

“This upgrade will allow us to better control access to our installation and help keep us safe from threats or those who ultimately should not have access to our incredible Army base here in southeastern Arizona,” he said.