Marketing wars begin for SBI-Net

The marketing push behind the competition for the $2 billion Secure Border Initiative-Network contract is picking up its pace.

Raytheon Co. became the latest to showcase its offering. Company officials last week pledged to move quickly and use only proven technologies if they win the contract to build a surveillance system for U.S. borders. The award from the Homeland Security Department is expected this fall.

The Raytheon-led team expects to leverage its experience as a prime integrator on a similarly huge remote System for the Vigilance of the Amazon surveillance network in Brazil, and to rely on technologies and telecommunications infrastructure available from its major partners on the project, including Bechtel Co., Verizon Communications Inc. and Alltel Corp.

"We're ready to go on this," Matthew Gilligan, Raytheon's program manager for SBI-Net, said at a briefing. "We've got the experience set that says, 'We can do this.' "

Five teams are competing for the contract, led by major federal contractors Boeing Co., Ericsson Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon.

Raytheon of Waltham, Mass., plans to integrate sensors into a common operational picture for use by border agents stationed along the United States' 6,000-mile border, Gilligan said. Sensors and cameras will be deployed on various platforms including unmanned aerial vehicles, airborne vehicles and tethered aerostats, he said.

Raytheon executives are touting the company's Amazon experience. Work on the $1.4 billion surveillance network began in 1994 and the network is now operating. It combines radars and myriad sensors into a multi-level integrated network monitored by regional and national coordination centers.

With Verizon and Alltel's help, Raytheon has the option of making available to border agents commercial cell phone service in areas throughout the Southwestern region and northern border, said Jon Goding, Raytheon's technical director for SBI-Net.

That will help keep the cost down for developing Secure Border's communications networks for border control agents, Goding said.

Staff Writer Alice Lipowicz can be reached at

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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