Category Archives: Security

Information regarding physical access to USMA Library facilities and security policies affecting our collections.

Library Access Policies Adjusted

In order to harmonize with recent changes to access polices for the Central Post Restricted Area, we have now adjusted access policies for Jefferson Hall. These changes can be found on our website and in new DPOMs that have been just completed.

Going forward, the following individuals are authorized unescorted access within the Library:

  1. Military personnel in uniform (all approved uniforms with the exception of physical fitness uniforms). Equivalent uniforms worn by other Service and international military personnel assigned to or visiting West Point in an official status are also permitted.
  2. Military personnel, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) in civilian clothing provided that they display their CAC/DoD identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Spouses or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  3. West Point and USMA DoD civilian employees, ODIA employees, Association of Graduates employees, contractors, their spouses, and family members (14 years of age or older) provided that they display their DoD/West Point/ODIA/Contractor identification card on their outer garment at all times in Jefferson Hall. Individuals or family members in this category without DoD or West Point issued identification are not eligible for unescorted access.
  4. Registered and credentialed attendees of Superintendent-approved, Dean-approved, or Librarian-approved events/appointments held in Jefferson Hall. This includes members of the general public who request to use the collection under 44 USC 19 – 1909 governing open access to government collections, and researchers with scheduled appointments to consult materials held in Special Collections and/or Archives. Individuals in this category must display the name/identification badge provided to them at all times while in Jefferson Hall. This badge is valid only for Jefferson Hall and does not permit unescorted access through the Central Post Restricted Area.

Users in categories 1, 2, and 3 are also authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area. Users in category 4 are not authorized access through the Central Post Restricted Area and must accompanied by appropriately credentialed personnel while outside of Jefferson Hall. This includes arriving to or departing from the Library.

Library staff will approach building visitors without visible identification. We will also have badge holders available at the service desks for individuals who have ID, but don’t have a way to appropriately display it. The Library administrative office is acquiring some visitor badges which we will assign as needed to Library guests. Event coordinators for events in the library will be asked to make sure their event guests wear their event badge at all times within Jefferson Hall. Questions can be directed to the Library administrative office.

West Door to Jefferson Open for Entrance/Exit

Effective today, the west door to Jefferson Hall will be open normal facility hours for anyone to enter or exit the building. This is possible because of the guard now stationed at the north end of Thayer Road. All opening and closing library staff should unsecure and secure this door at the same time we do the main south door.

The east door to Jefferson Hall remains emergency use only. Because this door faces the public street and is not as easy for the guard to watch, we will keep a restricted use on the east door.

Cadet Guard Changes

Effective today, many may have noticed the new perimeter guards both at the north end of Thayer Road just outside the west entrance to the library, and at the east end of Jefferson Place, near the east entrance to the library. Those guards have been placed per ongoing conversations with the Superintendent. For the time being, those guards will ensure that all individuals entering the secure Central Area zone are credentialed. Since anyone entering Jefferson Hall from the outer perimeter will need to show ID at those and other locations around Central Area, USCC is no longer providing an internal guard within Jefferson Hall. This situation may continue to evolve and change.

Cadet Guards Now on Duty

Effective today, there will be a cadet guard posted at the top of the stairs on the second floor of Jefferson Hall. This cadet is responsible for verifying that those entering the 2nd-6th floors of Jefferson Hall are properly uniformed or credentialed. The cadet will escort anyone not meeting those standards out of the facility.

These cadets do not report to the library or our staff, nor is it their job to enforce any other library policies or rules. I believe they will generally be doing one shift per day, meaning one cadet is here open to close, and is excused from classes for this duty. They will be studying or doing other work while posted.

I anticipate that this arrangement may change and evolve as we settle into things. Please let me know if you have any questions.

East and West Entrances to Jefferson Hall Now Emergency Exit Only

Effective 20 November, the east and west entrances to Jefferson Hall will be secured 24/7 and will be available for emergency exit only. All those seeking to enter or exit Jefferson Hall should use the main south entrance across from Bartlett Hall. This change is at the direction of the Superintendent and is designed to improve security for cadets, faculty, and staff. Signs in the hallways and on the doors themselves will redirect traffic through the main entrance. All cadets, faculty, and staff, including those assigned to Jefferson Hall are asked to adhere to and uphold this access policy.

Staff who work in Jefferson Hall and who require off-hours access through one of the restricted entrances may continue to enter, however, they must ensure that the entrances remain secure and locked after entering. Staff access through these doors is only permitted when the facility is closed. We will have additional guidance forthcoming regarding access procedures for personnel assigned to Jefferson Hall once it is complete.

Security Update – 18 November

We continue to engage in discussions regarding our security arrangements and procedures for Jefferson Hall as a result of the broader changes being implemented at West Point. Here are some updates from conversations that I’ve been involved with through this afternoon:

  • We expect that lanyards for staff will be arriving any day. All staff must wear their ID when moving around the facility and the post. Staff and cadets will need to challenge those not appropriately credentialed, and there will likely be checks verifying that we all are complying with this.
  • It is not yet determined whether or when cadets may be assigned guard duty for the library. That decision will ultimately be made by the Superintendent. Primary considerations are the impact on cadet time (as they are also being asked to provide guard duty at many other locations) and what risk level is acceptable for the library.
  • One consideration under review is whether or not to leave the east and west entrances to Jefferson Hall locked 24/7. In that case, access would be permitted via CAC authentication for authorized users. The doors could also be used for egress. Those changes hinge upon repairs that would allow the doors to reliably close and secure themselves (which does not currently occur). It is likely that we will move as soon as possible to all CAC-authentication on exterior doors and the elimination of physical keys for those doors.
  • We will very soon see new signs prominently placed around the perimeter of the Central Area security zone that will advise visitors of the restrictions in place. Unescorted visitors will no longer have access to Jefferson Hall or the surrounding area. This will be a big change as individuals like graduates, parents, etc. will now be excluded from Central Area and Jefferson Hall unless accompanied.

Regarding the right long-term security design for the library, we, along with the Dean’s office and Commandant’s office are moving toward identifying a solution that will be the “right” and permanent solution for Jefferson Hall. We do not want a patch job. As we all know, there are a number of security issues inherent in our architectural design, and we have few options in our toolbox at the moment for providing better facility security. We are fortunate that our second floor redesign project reviewed a number of these issues and possible options last year. In that review, the best option for building and collection security was Option 3 – which would relocate the Circulation Desk to the first floor. At the time, that was seen as an expensive and somewhat disruptive option and we opted to go with a plan that had a lighter impact on the facility. Given the guidance we are now receiving regarding security, it makes much more sense to now look much more seriously about implementing Option 3 as a permanent long-term fix for improved security for Jefferson Hall.

To that end, we will now be working through some much more detailed assessments and planning as we work up cost and impact estimates on what it would take to create a new Circulation service point in the rotunda (with all that that would entail with electric, data, heat, sound mitigation, etc.) Included in the thinking about this would be an effort to implement a completely new and totally secure interior perimeter for the library within Jefferson Hall that would be CAC-authenticated for access, would allow both elevators to roam freely, would significantly improve our capability for collection security, and would give us eyes on all traffic entering and exiting the upper floors of the facility.

This path can be designed to address all of our known security issues with properly designed solutions. That is a good thing. There are many, many unknowns as well, and many second, third, and fourth order effects. Our primary thinking for right now will be focusing on how to stand up a new service point and new security perimeter. Following from that we will have to have more thought about staff workspaces, our access policies, and many other things. This will also change our thinking for the design of the rest of the second floor, including reference services.

To be clear: there has been no final decision on a path forward, other than that our security posture must be improved, and should be designed to flexible and strong. It also should not rely long-term on cadets to provide guard duty. I want to be as transparent as possible about the process to determine how we accomplish that, and I will ask for collaboration from across the library as we consider what the right path forward will be. Sharing information is important to doing this as a team. As we progress, I will ask that we tamp down rumors that may arise. If you have a question, ask. We don’t know answers to everything, but we will continue to identify problems and solutions and I will commit to regularly sharing what I know.

I think this can be a very positive opportunity for the library to address some long-standing issues that have compromised physical security for our cadets, our employees, and our collections. I welcome your comments on how best we can make improvements and look forward to seeing what we develop as a plan together.

Security Measures – 14 November Update

Hopefully everyone has seen the memorandum distributed by the Superintendent regarding the changes in security procedures for West Point. I’d like to highlight some of those and given some additional information regarding library security:

  • Effective immediately all personnel must have their CAC with them as they move about Central Area. The Dean’s Office is working to acquire lanyards for all directorate personnel. These lanyards must be displayed and visible according to the Supt’s memo. Until lanyards are received, you should carry your CAC with you and display it as requested. This is not optional and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all personnel comply with this directive.
  • All staff must approach individuals who are not in uniform and who are not displaying identification to ask them for ID and inquire about the nature of their visit. Guidelines for this are included in the Supt’s memo. Staff who are working public service desks in particular will need to be attentive to this. Any uncooperative persons should be reported to the MPs and individuals should not be left unobserved. Anyone without proper identification should be escorted outside of the inner security perimeter as defined in the memo.
  • For the library, we are still in discussions about what security measures will be introduced. This may involve cadet guards posted on the first and/or second floors. This explains the slight reconfiguration of furniture near the top of the stairs. We are also requesting that the rotunda desk be returned as a checkpoint. Final decisions have not been made on this yet, and once additional information is known I will share it.

I recognize that these are some significant changes and I know that there will be some additional changes coming that may impact our traditional workflows. We will continue to try to find the right balance of security and access as we move forward, and I would expect that our actual implementation with change as we evaluate effectiveness. Thank you for working to stand up these new procedures as quickly as possible. Please let me know if there are any questions.