$390M border security contract moves forward

The Homeland Security Department is close to the demonstration phase on a $390 million contract to develop a network to protect U.S. borders.

The Homeland Security Department is moving toward the demonstration phase of the reworked system once known as the Secure Border Initiative.

SBI was declared a failure by DHS, after the agency spent $1 billion on the project, which covered 50 miles with a virtual border fence. Boeing Co. was the prime contractor on that project.

This new attempt, valued at $390 million, was launch in April, and bidders are reported to include Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and a team led by General Dynamics and EADS. DHS wants to build the virtual fence using integrated fixed towers.

In an update published Thursday, DHS said the demonstration phase would begin by mid-third quarter of 2013, which begins April 1 and runs through June 30.

However, before, the department said the demonstrations would be after a “competitive range decision.” In other words, DHS will narrow the field for the demonstrations.

Deltek estimated that an award to build the system will be made before the end of the government fiscal year in September.