Thursday, June 28, 2007

'Virtual Fence' Seeming More Virtual, Less 'Fencey'

Government Executive reports:

Dubbed Project 28, the first phase consists of deploying nine mobile surveillance towers with radars, cameras and communications equipment along a 28-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border. Border Patrol agents are expected to use the towers, along with upgraded laptop computers and new command-and-control centers, to detect and respond to illegal activity.

But Project 28 missed its first deadline for becoming operational about two weeks ago, and concerns are growing in Congress that the program could have problems similar to the Coast Guard's Deepwater fleet modernization...

Homeland Security spokesman Michael Friel could not say when Project 28 will become operational. "We are working hard to resolve these challenges as quickly as possible so that we can deploy or make this system operational and give the agents the tools they need to better secure the border," he said...

Project 28 is heavily dependent on technology. Homeland Security estimates that the cost of securing each mile of the border with fencing is about $3 million, compared to about $1 million using technology. But if the technology doesn't work, it will give ammunition to lawmakers who want more traditional fencing built.

At least from the point of view of the Bush administration, this news could have come at a better time.

1 comment:

Old Procurement Guy said...

All of two weeks behind? For a high-tech, quasi-military project? How can anyone be serious in even talking about this at this point?

As a former Army procurement contracts person with 20 years in the aerospace business (on both the contracts and lobbying sides), the expectation is laughable (find out how timely your company's new accounting and database project was).

Let me know when it is six months or a year behind.