ONE OF THE LARGEST chemical weapons storage and destruction facilities in the United States has incorporated new advances in encryption technology into its recently upgraded access control and security system. Deseret Chemical Weapons and its Chemical Munitions Stockpile, located south of Tooele, Utah, is controlled and operated by the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command.
Encompassing 19,400 acres, the depot has been storing chemical weapons since 1942. The original stockpile consisted of spray tanks, cartridges, projectiles, rockets, bombs, tin containers and mines. The storage structures are earth-covered igloos designed to contain the munitions and protect them from weather damage. Workers monitor the storage area for leaks and inspect the condition of weapons and facilities.
Since August 1996, workers have focused on safely destroying the stockpile and storing the remaining inventory until it is destroyed. Prior to disposal operations, the depot stored 13,617 tons of chemical agent or 44.5 percent of the United States’ original stockpile. The depot also supports weapons demilitarization through research and development activities. Its mission is to ensure that the storage of the chemical weapons stockpile remains safe for the community, the workers and the environment.
At one time, this high security facility was protected by a “badge exchange” system necessitating more than 20,000 badges in a system that was unwieldy and inefficient. “The old security system used different badges that allowed access to different areas, but if one person lost their badge, they would have to redo all of them,” says Stephen J. Baker, security specialist and systems administrator at Deseret Chemical Weapons Facility.
The new system, the 1088++ Access Control and Security System (now owned by LX Technologies Inc.), was originally installed in 1998 as the Deseret Chemical Weapons Depot was pioneering the way for other U.S. Army Chemical installations to apply new technologies in the field of Security and Law Enforcement. Recently, LX Technologies Inc. upgraded the site from the earlier version to its new SpectrumLX access control and security software.
“The system has allowed us to manage two separate badge systems and manage access to four separate areas effectively and efficiently,” says Rick Knutson, director of law enforcement and security at the Deseret Chemical Weapons facility. Using the QuickPic video badging suite and the access control software and management systems from LX Technologies, the site now operates with fewer than 7,000 badges with the same entry control criteria in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.
Each employee is entered into a database via one of two enrollment systems (QuickPic) with a shared database. The employee is then issued a proximity card that includes a picture ID, hand geometry biometric from Recognition Systems, and specific colors and/or codes to denote his or her level of security access to various areas.
Each geographic area of the facility operates as a standalone system and uses a combination of HID proximity and Recognition System hand geometry biometric readers tied to the SpectrumLX software to allow or restrict access. Software and hardware are upgraded at the facility every three to six months to ensure the highest degree of security, including a recent and ongoing conversion from microwave to fiber-optic communication protocols.
The newly upgraded access control system has allowed the Deseret Chemical Weapons depot to incorporate new security technologies. The system offers both physical safeguards as well as protection of the site’s data management and employee information from inside and outside threats, such as intruders seeking to override the system or to penetrate its databases. The SpectrumLX uses a new technology called SafeCryptNet to protect data from such unauthorized uses or manipulations. Exceeding the FIPS 140-2 standard, the SafeCryptNet software supports both the triple DES and/or AES encryption algorithms with public and private keys providing protection at a deeper level.
Using this technology, “the data on the hard drive is encrypted down to the field record level using both public and private keys” explains Dennis Drews, vice president of engineering, and the developer of both the SpectrumLX and SafeCryptNet. Rather than simply encrypting data that is in transit or storage, the SafeCryptNet software allows data to be encrypted on a live hard drive to eliminate the fear of firewall or infrastructure breaches without slowing down access time. Any data accessed by an intruder would be deemed unreadable, thus effectively eliminating any level of threat. (SpectrumLX, QuickPic and SafeCryptNet are trademarks of LX Technologies Inc.)
“The system has taken our access control system into the 21st century” says Knutson, who also predicts more government applications for the system.
The software also expands the concept of redundancy to an unlimited number of “live” servers using a method for shared process control. Although the SafeCryptNet software is currently only available within the SpectrumLX access control software, LX Technologies Inc. is working on DLL Libraries and XML interfaces that would allow software engineers to integrate SafeCryptNet into their own software. The United States Patent office has granted a provisional patent for the SafeCryptNet technology.