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Starting today, some military installations will be able to run FBI background checks on anyone trying to pass through the gates.
In what is partly a response to the mass shooting in September at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., when a lone gunman fatally shot twelve people and injured three others, the Pentagon fast-tracked the development of a forcewide screening system known as the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis, or IMESA.
IMESA “will run the name of anyone visiting a DoD facility through a comprehensive check of data sources — such as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and the Terrorist Screening Database — that would indicate past criminal behavior, outstanding warrants, and other similar information,” according to an independent review of the Navy Yard shooting.
Defense Department spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said the system is launching Friday, but it is unclear exactly how many installations will initially be using it.
“On Aug. 8, the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis (IMESA) will be functional for any installation with the capability to scan persons entering the installation and have implemented the IMESA interface with Defense Manpower Data Center,” Henderson said.
Initially, full access to the IMESA will be limited to some Air Force, Army, Marine, and Defense Logistics Agency installations, Henderson said.
The gunman in the Navy Yard shooting, former sailor Aaron Alexis, was routinely granted access to secure areas despite an arrest record that involved at least two gun-related incidents. Alexis was shot and killed by police.