Top integrators to assemble teams for Secure Border Initiative

Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. each are putting teams together to compete for the Homeland Security Department's anticipated huge new contract to set up an integrated network of sensors and cameras along the U.S. northern and southern borders.

The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), first announced by Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff in November 2005, is expected to be one of the department's largest contracts, with an estimated value of $2 billion, according to market research firm Input Inc. in Reston, Va.

It replaces the former America's Shield Initiative, a similar but less comprehensive border control program linking cameras and sensors along 2,000 miles of borders with Canada and Mexico. SBI is expected to be at least as large as, or larger than, America's Shield, according to Input.

DHS officials said at an industry day Feb. 9 that they expect to issue a request for proposals for the project in March, and to make an award in September.

Northrop Grumman, based in Los Angeles, is definitely planning to bid on Secure Border, said spokeswoman Juli Ballesteros. "We've gone public with that," she added today.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin also is putting together a team. "Lockheed-Martin is currently putting together the best industry team and technology and will propose a solution that will enable our government to obtain operational control of our borders," spokesman Jeff Adams said.

Raytheon of Lexington, Mass. intends to be a prime contractor as well. "Raytheon is extremely interested in the Secure Boarder Initiative and will be priming a team," a Raytheon spokesman wrote in an e-mail today.

Other companies that have expressed interest in competing for the award include General Dynamics Corp. and Textron Inc., according to press reports from the financial news outlet Bloomberg. Representatives from those companies were not immediately available to comment.

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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