News: AMC activates electronic program for base visit requests
Story by Pascual Flores
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Air Mobility Command officials implemented an online program April 22, 2013, to streamline the approval process for official visitors and command-sponsored guests at all AMC active-duty bases including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
The Electronic Gatekeeper (E-GK) program is designed through a partnership between the AMC inspector general and communications directorates, represents the sole method for requesting an external visit to any AMC active-duty base and a more efficient method of tracking inspection and non-inspection activities, including visits, said Maj. Elizabeth Taillon, AMC gatekeeper.
“The Gatekeeper program is a tool that informs the base commander of official visitors and command-sponsored guests that are scheduled or on the base,” said Robert Scherer, 87th Air Base Wing exercises and evaluations chief and base gatekeeper.
The new system improves upon a labor-intensive process required to log, track and deconflict visits, replacing the previous method which involved Excel spreadsheets and a large amount of "back and forth" email traffic.
"Leaning forward, this is the best, most innovative tool to make this process more efficient," Taillon said. "The E-GK tool is a one-stop shop because once a customer or potential visitor submits a request, it generates automated emails to the base gatekeeper, AMC gatekeeper and the requester. Gone are the days of arduous email exchanges because the new system improves communication involved with visit-request coordination."
The new changes to the E-GK may vary from base to base as most of the notifications are sent from AMC.
“Access to gatekeeper is limited,” said Scherer. “If you did not need to use before, you won’t be needing to use it now.”
Grand Forks, MacDill, and Travis Air Force bases participated in a three-month, test-pilot program beginning in April 2012. Officials at the three bases raved about benefits of the new program.
"The new system provides commanders at all levels greater visibility of visits and non-normal day-to-day activities going on at the base," said Lt. Col. Brian Mahoney, Grand Forks AFB installation inspector general. "It creates better and more formalized communication within the inspection and visit notification process and ensures my wing commander is aware of all activities going on at the base."
In addition to better visibility to the number and types of visitors at AMC bases, Dan Johnson, Plans and Programs Directorate chief and primary gatekeeper at Travis AFB, said the program delivers a much smarter way for AMC to conduct business.
"The bottom line is we need to work smarter, and we find this new process very useful," Johnson said.
Larry Cresswell, MacDill AFB exercises and inspections chief, said he is a "staunch supporter" of E-GK.
"E-Gatekeeper is a force multiplier," he said. "The new process is 100-percent more efficient than the old process."
Customers will experience huge benefits with the system, said Master Sgt. Ben Parish, AMC deputy gatekeeper.
"No matter day or night, the program can be accessed by potential visitors from anywhere in the world," Parish said. "This system takes a manual labor intensive process and automates it. Customers simply input request information in fields that are easy to navigate. Once the information is loaded, one click activates the coordination process. They can check back in the system for the status of the request, too."
According to Taillon, Maj. Scott Lewis, who served as AMC gatekeeper at the time, worked with AMC Communications Directorate officials in 2011 to develop the E-GK tool.
With a project that began approximately four years ago, the team invested more than 300 hours into it and plans to see a positive impact on the gatekeeper program, through which AMC active-duty bases receive more than 700 visits annually, Taillon said.
She anticipates reduction in the amount of work required to manage the gatekeeper program by two-thirds.
“The fundamentality of the program is not changing,” said Daniel Morris, 87th ABW, Wing Plan Analyst and Gatekeeper. “It is an online edition to an existing program.”