Border Watchers Looking for New Ideas
The Department of Homeland Security is moving fast to get surveillance technologies down to the southwest border now that the controversial SBInet “virtual fence” has been capped to cover just 53 miles of border in Arizona—and it’s putting industry on notice that it wants ideas for replacement technologies, like now.
Two weeks ago the department issued a Request for Information to industry for commercial-off-the-shelf “total solutions” for “automated, persistent wide area surveillance for the detection, tracking, identification, and classification of illegal entries.”
And last Thursday night, DHS announced that it is holding an industry day on Feb. 17 in Phoenix, Az. “looking for complete, fully integrated, and proven commercial-off-the-shelf/government-off-the-shelf (COTS/GOTS) solutions” for border surveillance. Big on the government’s list of demands is that industry not submit technologies that require more work than is absolutely necessary to install, integrate into existing systems and subsystems, and repair. In other words, don’t bother submitting technologies that Secretary of Defense Gates might refer to as “exquisite.” Just stuff that works.
It also sounds like the government is taking the exact opposite approach to acquisitions than it has in recent decades, where unique solutions were eagerly sought. This time, it’s all about what works, and works now. The announcement says that: