DHS unveils rigid requirements to replace terminated SBINet

Agent-centric, mobile-sensor and fixed-sensor solutions sought

The Homeland Security Department has released more details of its new three-pronged security technology acquisition strategy for the U.S.-Mexico border following the recent cancellation of the remainder of the SBInet program.

On Feb. 17, Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition will host an Industry Day at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona to discuss the new approach and acquisition program, according to a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. Pre-registration is required by Feb. 14.

The new strategy will utilize existing, proven solutions that fit into three categories: agent-centric solutions, mobile sensors or fixed sensors. The technologies must be easily integrated and, preferably, utilize open architectures that lead to ease of replacement of hardware and software components, the Jan. 27 notice states.

CBP is seeking technology solutions “that detect, track, identify and classify illegal incursions to provide Border Patrol agents with improved situational awareness between the Ports of Entry,” the notice adds.

“The government is looking for complete, fully integrated and proven commercial-off-the-shelf/government-off-the-shelf solutions. The government is not interested in solutions that require measurable developmental effort to integrate COTS/GOTS subsystems. The government intends to use fixed-price contracting strategies for all procurements related to the border-security technology solutions. The government will also have a strong preference for open-architecture solutions,” the notice states.

The goal is to identify “plug-and-play” systems, which the notice defines as being “consistent with well-defined interface descriptions” and including the ability to switch hardware and software components with components from other suppliers, without any additional integration costs, or any additional involvement from the original equipment manufacturer.

“There is no intent to develop any items or systems under the program,” the notice says.

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the SBInet (Secure Border Initiative Network) program of cameras and sensor systems mounted on permanent towers would be terminated after the initial 53-mile section is completed in Arizona.

Originally, SBInet was to have spanned the entire U.S.-Mexico land border. However, the program has been plagued by technical glitches, management issues, cost overruns and schedule delays. The SBInet contract was awarded to Boeing Co. in September 2006.

On Jan. 18, CBP issued a request for information from vendors asking them to describe their solutions for an Integrated Fixed Towers program for the border.

In the Jan. 27, CBP provided the following additional details on the solutions it is seeking:

  • Agent-centric solutions are needed to provide agents with a larger field of view and additional detection, tracking, identification and classification capability. Such technology assets need to be rugged and easily portable.
  • Mobile-sensor solutions are needed that are transportable and can be set up and broken down easily by individual border patrol agents, one based on traffic patterns. Mobile assets will provide enhanced detection, tracking, identification and classification capability.
  • Fixed-sensor solutions are needed to be deployed at fixed sites that provide a persistent detect, track, identify and classify capability with an extended field of view. Data may be submitted to a Common Operating Picture, which must be fully developed and operational.

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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