April 7, 2009

Virginia Guardsmen now enlist electronically at Fort Lee MEPS

By Capt. Fred Moore
Fort Lee Military Entrance Processing Station

FORT LEE, Va. — Virginia National Guard applicants now use a new biometric process to enlist at the Fort Lee Military Entrance Processing Station. The biometric process, known as e-Security, went into effect April 2.

Future Virginia Guard Soldier Ronnie Howard from Hampton Roads, Va., signs into Fort Lee MEPS using his biometric signature. (Photo courtesy of Fort Lee Military Entrance Processing Station)

E-Security is designed to streamline the enlistment process, allowing the MEPS to process applicants more securely, efficiently and accurately. Developed by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, the biometric hardware is currently being installed in all 65 MEPS located throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

E-Security enables the Virginia National Guard to generate a positive identification for each potential Guardsman at their first contact with the Department of Defense. When they arrive at the Fort Lee MEPS, each applicant’s index finger is scanned and driver license-type photograph is uploaded into the USMEPCOM Integrated Resource System database. This action creates a standard DoD biometric e-Signature process that prevents fraudulent enlistment, otherwise known as “identity switching.” The new system also requires less paperwork, results in better applicant accountability throughout the enlistment process, and permits the applicant to sign his or her contract with a fingerprint. 

“It’s a futuristic version of an old technique of ‘make your mark,’” said Spc. Juanita Harvey, a Virginia National Guard administrative assistant currently on temporary active duty orders as human resource assistant in the Fort Lee MEPS Operations Department. Harvey is one of three Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers on duty at the jointly- staffed Fort Lee MEPS.

During fiscal year 2008 Fort Lee MEPS processed over 13,207 applicants for enlistment, among them 2,235 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen. That number may well double in fiscal year 2009.

Capt. Fred Moore serves as the commander of Headquarters and  Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment.

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