SBInet contract reportedly renewed for 30 days

Boeing to work on border security system through at least Dec. 18

The Homeland Security Department has renewed Boeing Co.’s contract for the SBInet electronic border surveillance system for an additional 30 days, according to a report by American Public Media’s Marketplace.

Marketplace, in a news article dated Nov. 16, quotes sources at DHS who stated that the contract for the Secure Border Initiative Network was due to expire today but is now effective through Dec. 18.

Boeing’s initial three-year contract for SBInet was awarded in September 2006, with three one-year options to renew. DHS officials previously had exercised one of the options, along with an additional 30 days.

The SBInet video and radar surveillance system along the Arizona-Mexico border has cost approximately $760 million to date and has been troubled throughout its development. A 28-mile prototype began operating in 2008, and Customs and Border Protection is working to complete the first permanent installation of SBInet along a 53-mile section this year.

The Government Accountability Office has issued several critical reports of the program since 2006, noting problems including uncertain or changing system requirements, technology glitches, inadequate user input and cost overruns.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a reassessment of SBInet in January, which is not yet complete.

DHS officials told lawmakers in June that future plans to extend the SBInet system across the entire U.S.-Mexico border likely will be suspended and that the existing system may be augmented by unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile systems. 

Boeing Corp., of Chicago, ranks No. 3 on Washington Technology's 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

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

Reader Comments

Sun, Dec 26, 2010

Well once again people only know what the media tells them. Only people who have used the system know what is good and bad about it. And that would be the local CBP agents in the COP and out in the field. The real point is if we had a full virtual fence along the southern boarder that detected and classified at 90% there would be so many alarms that the CBP agents could only respond to maybe 5% of them. Yes that is right there are some many people and drugs coming accross at any given time and so much land to cover that we would need hundreds of thousands of agents. The cost would be insane. The money spent on SBInet is for many things and not just the virtual fence. The virtual fence is only one of the tools and it does work and can be better, just like anything the more versions and generations the better the product, look at video games, computers, cell phones.

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 Observer

Janet N's review of this program, if started in January, ought to be done by now. Only reason for delay: a big mess, worse than we thought or GAO disclosed. Could it be time for Boeing to disgorge a heap of revenue already billed? Its performance here does nothing good for its reputation, like the 787 saga and a bunch of earlier contracts. This should be past performance taken into account before any tanker award.

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