CBP will begin new border protection strategy in Arizona

Mix of technologies to cover areas that were slated for abandoned SBInet project

The Homeland Security Department will begin its new program for border protection in Arizona, a senior official said. DHS plans to spend roughly $750 million to acquire technologies for that segment of the border.

There is approximately $185 million available in the current fiscal year, and $242 million requested for fiscal 2012, to pay for integrated fixed towers, remote video cameras, hand-held devices, mobile systems and other technologies in Arizona, Mark Borkowski, assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition, said. The office held an Industry Day for vendors today in Arizona.

The new systems will cover the 370-mile Arizona border, with the exception of the 53 miles already covered by the SBInet “Block 1” electronic surveillance system in operation near Tucson and Ajo.

Related coverage:

DHS' new approach to border surveillance looks like SBInet

The SBInet Block 1 system will continue to operate as part of the new strategy, Borkowski said. However, previous plans to extend SBInet throughout the entire U.S.-Mexico land border were cancelled in January by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Arizona was selected first because it is the area with the most illegal cross-border activity; however, if the situation changes and the illegal activity migrates elsewhere along the border, the strategy would shift as well, Borkowski added.

Under the new strategy, with Arizona taking the lead, each of the nine geographic sectors along the border will have its own mix of technologies that are most suitable for that area.

Border patrol agents in Arizona have already assessed and prioritized 48 discrete combinations of technologies for proposed use along the border in that state, Borkowski said. Starting later this year, the department will issue several Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to begin acquiring those technologies.

“We will have multiple RFPs. We will be buying a bunch of systems,” he said.

An RFP for integrated fixed towers, which combines integrated sensors and a common operating picture, is likely to be released early next year, Borkowski continued.

Boeing Co., which was awarded the contract for SBInet in 2006, is “absolutely eligible” to apply for the new integrated fixed tower systems, once they go to bid, he added.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 2, 2011

If SBInet isn't working why is the goverment still puting money into it? It must be working you just need people like boeing not to be involed to soke the goverment for all they can. This is the drug trade coming over the border by foot and they are still doing it. Just look on google earth and you can see all of the sites that are up and running for SBI net. You don't even have to be smart to find them. One of the big problems is that boeing isn't the only contractor working on the job. They have so many other sub conctractors working for them that they are naming their price and their are no bids going out to other companies that can do the same job. Why not close up the check book to see who realy can do the best job for the best price. What I do know of SBI the system does work but it does have its problems. This system does need to keep going to help the border patrol as a tool that can stop the drugs coming accros the border. why do they call Ajo the cocine alley? The reason here is that the boder patrol can't cross onto other departments land. What? What? This is true just ask them the border potrol doesn't have a clean ticket to go were they need to go in this part of AZ. the goverment is so ass backward it would do them good to talk to all agencies involed. I do know just a small bit about this I have worke on this for some time and its messed up. Just like any other job that doesn't have all the players at the table when it starts. You need to charch moer when a new ideal comes accro the table and that is wat cost over run is and that is what boeing did. Fix it now or we will pay more later. thanks

Tue, Feb 22, 2011

About half that amount, funneled through NGOs that would make microloans in the towns in Mexico where the illegals start from. could maybe create enough jobs to convince them NOT to make the long walk? An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, etc. Just Sayin'

Tue, Feb 22, 2011

I hike trails near the border. Despite the "fences," I still see trash left behind by illegals......

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