U.S. Marine Lockdown
Twentynine Palms, Calif., is home to the world’s largest Marine Corps Base. It is the premier training facility in the world for Marine operations and draws military personnel from all over the world for Combined Arms Exercises.
The two-fold mission of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) is to operate the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center for live fire combined-arms training that promotes readiness of operating forces; and to provide facilities, services and support that are responsive to the needs of tenant commands, Marines, sailors and their families. The Combat Center population totals about 9,725 active duty members, 8,590 dependents and approximately 1,400 civilians.
The Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base currently uses about 40,000-keyed locks, but the base is constantly expanding in terms of both personnel and new facilities. Securing a facility of this size and scope — with a 90-mile perimeter — is an enormous undertaking, and most of that responsibility falls to locksmith Jim “Glenn” Glendenning and his staff of two full-time and one on-call personnel.
“There are actually two bases on this base, and we take care of both of them,” Glendenning explains. “There are several schools on base that do the urban training, for house-to-house searches. They are building an urban training facility as we speak.”
Camp Wilson, the other base, houses multi-military training facilities, including military personnel from foreign countries.
Glendenning’s first priority is to ensure the security of the Marines — and the personal property and government assets — located on the base.
“When we decided to make a change to our locks, it was because of a lack of followthrough by the companies that supplied the locks we were using,” Glendenning says. “We were having a major problem getting service after the sale.” He tested a variety of locks and chose Schlage Campus Locks and King Cobras.
Schlage Campus Lock and CampusLink software constitute a standalone locking system that is scalable and designed for campuses that need to manage electronic access for rooms with high turnover. The locks are built on an ANSI Grade 1 Schlage lock platform. No hardwiring is required with the standalone locking system, but Campus Locks can be integrated with existing online and offline systems.
The locks can be used with any level of security, from brass keys to biometrics. Open Track 1 or 3 allows cards to manage access, thus limiting the need to reprogram locks. The locks also provide a data history of the last 2,000 door events, and can handle an unlimited number of PIN codes when card and PINs are required for access.
Campus Locks perform 60,000 to 80,000 cycles for minimal routine maintenance, using four AA batteries. A high-security mechanical key override (Everest high security cylinder) is built in.
“We started installing the Campus Locks in February of 2005,” Glendenning says. “We have installed about 1,000 of the locks so far.”
Twentynine Palms is using an existing common access card (CAC), which is a government-issued identification card, as a credential for the Campus Locks. The base received authorization to use Track 3 on the back of the card.
Campus Locks are also installed on doors at the Communications and Electronics (C&E) training center, which is made up of nine buildings.
“We needed to be able to give access to certain buildings and classrooms to instructors and students,” Glendenning says. “There are multiple users, multiple buildings and multiple access points within the buildings. Not everyone has access to everything in the building.”
Now, if personnel want to change buildings and add a room to a card, it is not a problem.
LOCKS FOR HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS
“A sample King Cobra lock was installed in a high traffic area, and everybody liked it. Everybody started wanting them,” Glendenning says. “The Campus Locks are being used in training rooms, and we are also using CL locks on the barracks and enlisted quarters (BEQs) and in the mess halls, but King Cobras are on Communication Room doors. It is a huge base.”
The Schlage King Cobra is a manually programmable electronic access control lock. A “descendent” of the original Schlage Cobra, the King Cobra Series has an expanded scope of door and latch applications. It also includes a 12-button keypad, iButton credential reader and a Schlage Everest Cylinder.
LOCKS TAKE A LICKING
A recently opened, state-of-the-art dining facility that serves 500 to 600 people at a time replaced three existing mess halls and features a combination of locks. It is equipped with Von Duprin panic bars, Campus Locks and King Cobra locks. All of its interior and perimeter doors will use Campus Locks.
“When the old mechanical locks need to be reprogrammed, I replace them with a King Cobra lock,” Glendenning says. “We’re also putting King Cobras on a lot of other things besides what we’re replacing. It makes it more convenient when there are more than two or three people going into a room.”
King Cobras will be installed on all of the Communications closets in every building to handle the telephone and Internet connections. Glendenning and his staff also put them on all the fire departments and related buildings. The King Cobras were chosen for those buildings because they use PIN codes that can be easily reprogrammed if there is a personnel change, and because they have an audit trail capability. So far, about 400 King Cobra locks have been installed on the base.
When the Campus Locks need reprogramming, Glendenning uses CampusLink software to download information from a desktop computer to a Palm Pilot, then takes the Palm Pilot to the lock, plugs it in and hits the button.
“It takes about 10 seconds, for me,” he says. “We train the Marines in various areas to program their own locks. I personally have trained at least a dozen people to program the locks.”
In some areas, Marine personnel are able to cut new room cards, but they cannot access the master side of the system, thus ensuring security on base.
Getting rid of “hard keys” has cut costs and inventory needs on base as well, Glendenning says.
Before installing the Campus Locks and King Cobras, Glendenning and his staff would replace a lock nearly every day. No lock has been replaced since the new locks were installed in February of 2005.
“These locks are much more difficult to damage. Our previous locks were not standing up to the wear and tear of young Marines,” Glendenning says.
Moving from mechanical locks to an electronic locking system is the first step many organizations take toward total, integrated access control.
“Electronic locks let campuses retrofit doors to become part of an overall system, using the same credentials throughout their facilities,” says Lester LaPierre, marketing manager, Schlage Wyreless Access, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “They can even intermix credentials, using systems as simple as the electronic PIN-enabled lock or as sophisticated as biometrics. The pathway most campuses follow often starts with battery-powered, programmable, standalone locks that add security and value while providing a hassle-free upgrade path.”