New security measures will be going in place at Fort Benning starting Jan 1, 2015. Visitors at the post could be denied access or go through a background check, if they don't provide proper identifications, according to military officials.
Visitors will not be able to use state issued photo identifications like driver's license or U.S. passports to enter Fort Benning, but some Columbus veterans say this change is nothing to fret about.
"Visitors have certain places to go, and they shouldn't be caught somewhere else," Stephen Benson, a local veteran said. "This is what the new change will be providing. It will also help keep those with bad background check off the military installation to keep those living on post and our soldiers safe."
Those without Common Access Cards, Department of Defense Identification Cards or active duty or retiree military cards can enter the post without any delay. However, visitors or contractors without these forms of identifications will have to go through a 10 minute background check that will take place at the visitor's center. The visitors who pass the background check will be given temporary guest cards which will be timed to allow the visitors to stay on post for specific amount of time.
"Some people don't really need to be going to certain areas, and I believe this will secure more safety for those on post,"Benson said.
Sam Nelson, the chairman of the Chattahoochee Valley Veterans Council says this new measure may be an annoyance to some people since background checks could take about 10 minutes or longer to complete. However, Nelson says it's important to respect and obey the new changes as well.
"People that traveled from quite a distance to see their family member at Fort Benning may be annoyed by the new background check, if they weren't aware of the new rule," Nelson says. "But this may be one of those new rules enforced to keep everybody safe and to tighten things up a little bit. I don't believe they would make changes unless it was a necessity, so I'm sure this was an important change that needed to be made."
Fort Benning's spokesperson explained this change is part of requirements established by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. Officials also say those riding bicycles inside the post should also carry proper identification with them at all times just in case officials ask to check their I. D's.