Lockheed Martin's SBI-Net pitch stresses safety

Lockheed Martin Corp. officials are touting top-level contractor experience, flexibility and a tight focus on improved safety for border agents in the company's bid for the Secure Border Initiative Network contract, company officials said in an exclusive interview with Washington Technology.

Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md. is leading one of five teams competing for the highly anticipated, estimated $2 billion border surveillance system contract. The Homeland Security Department is expected to make the award in September.

Lockheed Martin's approach was to put together a team with extensive homeland security experience, provide world-class integration skills and technology and enhance border agent safety, Jay Dragone, vice president of homeland security for Lockheed Martin, told Washington Technology.

Improved safety is a goal the government did not specifically request, but Lockheed Martin's team deemed it crucial to success, Dragone said.

"This is an agent-centric solution," Dragone said. "Our solution is focused on providing capabilities and making sure the agents are safe."

Lockheed Martin's team roster includes Accenture Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda; Advanced Technology Systems Inc., McLean, Va.; Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla.; High Performance Technologies Inc., Arlington, Va.; and Science Applications International Corp., San Diego.

The team also includes construction firms HDR of Omaha, Neb., Parsons Corp. of Pasadena, Calif. and consultant Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services of Miami.

"We have picked and assembled a team of companies that is involved with critical Department of Homeland Security programs, so we can hit the ground running," Dragone said. "Our team is uniquely positioned with regard to DHS and Customs and Border Patrol."

Team members have experience with the Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater Systems, U.S. Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, CBP's Automated Commercial Environment, Transportation Security Administration's Strategic Airport Security program and others.

For example, Deepwater is the Coast Guard's program for replacing aging vessels and equipment with new boats and cutters and for acquiring greater IT capabilities. The Coast Guard awarded the Deepwater contract in 2002 to Integrated Coast Guard Systems LLC, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corp.

Lockheed Martin's experience in Deepwater in expanding use of intelligence, information-sharing and situational awareness for the Coast Guard is likely to benefit Secure Border, because the same techniques can be used to improve the availability of intelligence for the border agents, Dragone said.

Overall, Lockheed Martin's approach to SBI-Net is to build on capabilities and add new ones, including surveillance cameras, radars and sensors, and communications networks, he said. The goal is to create situational awareness and a common operational picture for border control agents.

Lockheed Martin's plan will add mobile surveillance capabilities, such as communication vans and units with cameras and other sensors mounted on trucks, so that agents can be flexible in responding to threats, Dragone said.

The proposal uses new unmanned aerial vehicles as well as border patrol aerial assets. It can accommodate facial recognition technology if requested, although it is not specifically included in the proposal, he said.

The Lockheed Martin solution provides proven technologies and is open and flexible in their use, Dragone said. It also includes infrastructure and training to use the new systems. To ensure the best available technologies are selected, Lockheed Martin will use an open business model in which multiple technologies are evaluated for performance, he added.

In June, the departments and Homeland Security and Justice chose Lockheed Martin as one of two finalists for the Integrated Wireless Network contract, in which the federal government will build a next-generation, interoperable voice and data radio network for some 80,000 federal agents nationwide, including border control agents. The contract is estimated at more than $3 billion.

The timetable of the wireless network contract and its availability for SBI-Net are not known. If Lockheed Martin wins both contracts, it could be a boon for both programs, Dragone said. Having the same systems integrator for both could allow for greater ease and coordination of the integrations, he said.

"It would give a higher degree of interoperability," Dragone said.

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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