Boeing names Korte SBInet program manager

Boeing Co. has named a new program manager for the Secure Border Initiative Network border surveillance system, which is one of the largest contracts awarded by the Homeland Security Department.

On Aug. 13, Daniel Korte took over as Boeing's program manager for SBInet, replacing Jerry McElwee, who will assist in the transition and will remain at Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems unit, said Eric Mazzacone, a Boeing spokesman.

DHS awarded the estimated $8 billion contract to Boeing in September 2006 for a surveillance system along the southwest U.S. border. The Chicago-based company is currently implementing its first task order, known as Project 28, along a 28-mile section of the border in Arizona.

While Project 28 initially was set to go live in mid-June, to date it is not fully operational. However, Boeing officials say the change in program managers is not related to those events and was planned several months ago as part of the company's usual transition strategy.

Under Boeing's plan, SBInet is making a transition from its Advanced Systems unit, which focuses on capturing new business and early development, to its Network and Space Systems unit, which has a focus on implementing network centric programs, Mazzacone said. Both units are in the integrated defense systems division.

Korte's appointment is part of the transition, Mazzacone said. "The transition in program managers was planned as part of the transition strategy."

"Dan is not only an experienced program manager, well-trained in production and deployment, he also has an extensive background in supply chain management, which is invaluable in a program like this where components from several partners and suppliers are integrated into a system of systems," Mazzacone said.

In Project 28, Boeing has installed nine towers with cameras, radar, various other sensors and communications networks near the border. The goal of SBInet is to integrate those systems so they can be used to effectively provide border patrol agents with information to assist them in identifying and apprehending illegal aliens who cross the border.

In recent weeks, DHS officials have acknowledged problems with integrating the systems and making them operational. The program also has been controversial among border communities, some of whom are complaining of privacy loss, environmental impacts and other concerns as a result of the SBInet system.

Boeing ranks No. 2 on Washington Technology's 2007 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

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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