Partnerships ensure installation Access Control Points meet Army standards

Engineering and Support Center Public Affairs
Published Sept. 3, 2015
Redstone Arsenal gate 9 is an Access Control Point that has active barriers. The active barriers can be deployed by ACP security to ensure threat vehicles are stopped before they enter the installation.

Redstone Arsenal gate 9 is an Access Control Point that has active barriers. The active barriers can be deployed by ACP security to ensure threat vehicles are stopped before they enter the installation.

The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Access Control Point (ACP) program partners with many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) components to provide maintenance and services, design and build construction, and confer infrastructure upgrades to ACPs and other facilities worldwide.

The USACE Omaha District Protective Design-Mandatory Center of Expertise (PDC), collaborates with Huntsville’s ACP program to provide specialized technical expertise. The PDC is the subject matter expert for access and entry control in all operational environments and provides various types of support to all Department of Defense services and components, and other federal agencies to include design and construction services, vulnerability assessments and criteria development.

The PDC composed the Army Standard for Access Control Points and works closely with the Office of the Provost Marshal General and Office of Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management to ensure their interests and requirements are reflected in the standards, said Steve Carter, PDC’s chief of Security Engineering.

“We assist all Department of Defense (DOD) services with all matters pertaining to ACPs,” Carter said. “[And], we have partnered with Huntsville’s ACP program to ensure the executed mission is of the highest quality and in compliance with safety and security requirements of the Army and DOD standards.”

Providing technical, construction and maintenance support for installation ACPs is important to ensure the gates meet, and continue to meet, Army standards for ACPs, said Ronald Brook, Huntsville Center’s ACP program manager.

Redstone Arsenal gate 9 is a good example.

“Gate 9, along with other Redstone Gates, has [active vehicle] barriers, so that if a [threat] vehicle attempts to access the installation, these barriers are designed to stop the vehicle when a guard activates the system,” he said. “The PDC has partnered with us to perform technical reviews, provide assistance in developing the [scope-of-work] and commission or re-commission the [active vehicle] barriers to ensure compliance with the Army standards.”

The barrier commissioning process provides a stringent check of the program logic, control sequences, safety devices and system timing during the barrier deployment procedure to ensure that threat vehicles can be stopped without resulting in damage or injury to personnel in non-threat vehicles, Brook said. 

During the commissioning process, the PDC is physically testing the barriers and the associated control system so that inconsistencies are identified and corrected.

“Systems that pass the physical testing are commissioned by the PDC for safety and security,” Carter said. “If systems fail for safety in any manner, the PDC will not commission until the safety concern is resolved.”

The success of ACPs are dependent on how well the systems are constructed and operated.

“Both HNC’s and PDC’s missions are focused on executing the mission, but if improperly done, the mission could be fatal,” Carter said. “Most active vehicle barriers are normally below the roadway surface and traffic will freely traverse them.”

 In the event of a barrier deployment, the barriers protrude from the ground and block the roadway to deny vehicle access to the installation.

“To do this properly, it must be sequenced and timed in accordance with the criteria and standards set forth by the services and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Transportation Engineering Agency (SDDCTEA),” Carter said. “The SDDCTEA sets forth the safety requirements that regulate the use of active vehicle barriers to ensure they are safe.”

There are 41 Army sites with more than 200 ACPs covered under the program’s maintenance and service contract.

“The PDC monitors and evaluates onsite testing with the contractor during the commissioning process and then provides a commissioning report and letter,” Brook said. “A successful commission lets the garrison commander know his guard force has the capability to stop a threat vehicle before it can enter a post. Locally, Redstone has had a barrier deployment which stopped a vehicle from attempting to enter the Arsenal while fleeing local law enforcement.”

The Huntsville Center’s ACP program and PDC’s joint relationship is critical to completing the mission.

“This is a collaborative effort and it takes both parties recognizing that our separate, but similar programs overlap and complement each other not compete with each other,” Carter said. “As previous Chief of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr., put it ‘there is only one door to the corps.’”

The “one door to the Corps” concept is essential for team building and executing the Army’s and DOD’s ACP mission with quality and compliance for safety, which is what he and Brook have strived to do, Carter said.