HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teams vie for U.S. border security contract

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five industry teams are competing for a $2.1 billion contract to be awarded next month to help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security beef up security along over 7,500 miles of U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

The winning bidder will help unify existing technologies and install new tracking sensors and communications equipment so border agents can better monitor regions that range from urban centers to desert, to huge lakes and forested mountains.

"There are many different elements of border security already in place, but there is a need for an integrated approach to securing the borders," said Kia Evans, spokeswoman for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) that was unveiled by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last November.

Evans said the department's Customs and Border Protection Agency would award the "SBInet" contract by September 30 and it would run for three to five years.

Bidding to tie all the pieces together are U.S. defense contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co., as well as Sweden's Ericsson.

Each has put together a team of U.S. and foreign companies specializing in everything from sensors to visual recognition technology to long-range cameras.

Boeing, teamed with L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., Unisys Corp. and others, on Tuesday explained its bid, which relies on over 300 radar towers along the borders, some supplemented by cameras developed by Israel's Elbit which can spot people at up to 14 kilometers and vehicles at up to 20 kilometers.

Boeing's SBInet program director Jerry McElwee stressed the company's low-cost, best-value approach and said the company's integration of other major programs, including the Army's Future Combat Systems, gave it the needed experience.

Lockheed Martin plans to announce its partners next week, said Jane Rudolph, vice president of business development for Lockheed's transportation and security division.

She said Lockheed was already involved in homeland security through its joint venture with Northrop to modernize the Coast Guard, and a customs modernization program begun before the September 11, 2001, hijacking attacks. Shortly afterward, she said Lockheed also mobilized 1,000 employees to revamp passenger checkpoints at 429 U.S. airports in about six months.

Raytheon says its experience on a $1.4 billion project to secure Brazil's Amazon region -- an area that would cover two-thirds of the continental United States -- makes it an ideal candidate for SBInet. Its teammates include IBM, BAE Systems and privately owned Bechtel.

Northrop, which won a smaller DHS contract for surveillance at land ports along the southwest border on Monday, has been providing information technology support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement since 2002.

Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said information technologies represented the largest source of revenue for the company, accounting for about 32 percent of total revenues, or $10 billion, in 2005.

Northrop's partners include General Dynamics Corp., L-3, and Anteon Corp. which is being taken over by General Dynamics.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org