Security Engineering

Controlling Site Access - Entry Control Facility

It does little good to prevent access for aggressors or threat vehicles around the perimeter if you have no way to control who enters at any access points

The necessary capabilities, constraints, and technology at entry control facilities (ECF) are very different now than in the past.

Not only military installations have entry control issues:
• Large industrial complexes
• Port facilities
• Many campus style office complexes

ECF Mission

Secure the facility or compound from unauthorized access and intercept contraband while maximizing traffic flow.

Several required components to perform this function:
• Security
• Safety
• Capacity
• Image

ECF Operations

Identification and inspection procedures are the most common operations

Security engineering design role is to define the operations at an ECF at each threat level and including random measures from various threat levels at any time

Design should consider the operations and anticipated traffic volume experienced at each threat level. Some congestion and hardship is expected at higher levels of threat

Zones of an Entry Control Facility

1. Approach Zone

Starts from the installation boundary

Functions include:
• Reducing speed of incoming vehicles
• Performing sorting of traffic by vehicle type
• Providing adequate stacking distance
• Providing first opportunity to identify potential threats

Use of simple/reverse curves to reduce and control speed of traffic should be considered. The length of the approach zone should be maximixed to provide optimal stacking for traffic queue. If facility is congested and space is limited for additional lanes, consider use of reversible lanes at periods of peak demand.

Traffic sorting by vehicle type should be also considered.

2. Access Control Zone

Main controlling element of ECF. Provides access control and inspection capability.

Typical Features:
• Infrastructure to support manual and automated I.D. and inspection
• Canopy to protect against inclement weather, facilitate operations
• Minimum of two rejection points, one prior and one after the central I.D. point
• Facilitates inspections out of traffic lanes
• Gatehouse and additional sentry booths as required
• Typical to provide ballistic protection for guard facilities

3. Response Zone

Extends from end of access control zone to the point of “final denial”. Main function is to provide time for security personnel to react to a threat and close ECF if necessary. Design with a sufficient length to provide adequate reaction time for security personnel. “Final Denial” (i.e. barrier) will be provided at the end of the ECF to provide the capability to stop threat vehicles.

Response Zone - Barriers

Passive barrier continues until end of ECF
Active vehicle barrier typically used to provide “final denial”
Consider maximizing active barrier capacity based on available funds

Overwatch / Auxiliary Position

Additional position for security personnel beyond access control zone.
Location should afford personnel ability to assess threat, initiate alarms, activate final denial, and respond to the attack as authorized.
Site selected based on reaction time and line of fire considerations. May be elevated for improved safety and surveillance.

Safety Zone

Extends from the active and passive barriers surrounding the ECF:
• Since a threat vehicle may be contained in this area and explode, you must consider the effects of such an explosion on nearby personnel, buildings, or assets.
• An acceptable safety zone would be determined by the expected weight of explosive charge, the facility or asset to be protected, and the required level of protection.
• Should also consider operational hazards associated with potential inspection equipment.

If an adequate safety zone cannot be achieved, other alternatives should be considered or a decision made to accept additional risk.


• Central duress alarm to signal emergency dispatch or control center. Activates automatically with active barrier system.

• Water/wastewater to minimize security personnel time away from post.

• Telephone, including emergency ring down connection to emergency dispatch or control center
• Radio capability coordinated with security

Information Technology
• To support potential computerized identification systems, ECF should be connected to installation wide IT system.

• ECF should be provided with an alternate power source
• Generator should support lighting and equipment
• Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) may be necessary during generator starting and load transfer
• UPS would support any computerized equipment to avoid power disruption

Exterior Lighting:
• Lighting levels based on IESNA security lighting guidelines:
• Roadway lighting in the approach and response zones; Area lighting in the access control zone; transitions between:
• Consider restart/restrike time in design:
• Limit glare and adaptation effects:
• Color rendition important for Ops/CCTV:


Note that gatehouse is the control center:
Illustrates key locations for spare conduit and handholes to support access control technology
Automation for ECF includes identification of personnel and vehicles
Deployment of automation is just beginning with many clients

Main drivers:
• Support security personnel in task of identification and inspection
• Attempt to increase throughput to balance security with traffic demands during peak times

Approach Zone Automation:
• Validation of Vehicle utilizing Radio Frequency Identification System(RFIDS) which utilizes radio waves to identify vehicles and eliminates the need for line of site required for the conventional vehicle access credentials. Typically RFID sensor will associated with a barrier in the Approach zone to validate vehicle prior to arriving at Access Zone.
• Wrong way detection and speed detection for outbound lanes, Speed detection for inbound lanes.

CCTV use at Entry Control Facilities

• Archive events for evidentiary purposes:
• CCTV systems for situational awareness and training
• CCTV systems for vehicle identification and license plate capture
• Connectivity to central security office
• Space and power in gatehouse for equipment (monitor, DVR, etc)
• CCTV typically provided for each lane