Border Patrol tie-in delays SBInet launch

Boeing Co. will not receive the final payment for the first 28-mile portion of the border surveillance system until the Homeland Security Department determines that the system is working properly, a department spokesman confirmed today.

The Secure Border Initiative Network's first segment, known as Project 28, is composed of nine towers, sensors, radars and cameras. The $20 million section was scheduled to go live in mid-June, but integration glitches kept it from meeting specified performance milestones, Brad Benson, a spokesman for Customs and Border Patrol, told Washington Technology.

"We have paid Boeing per milestone. The final payment is for accepting delivery of the system," and that should happen soon, Benson said. The amount of the final payment due was not immediately available.

Chicago-based Boeing has met all the milestones involved with purchasing, assembling and installing the SBInet system along the 28 miles near the Arizona-Mexico border, Benson said. But the last milestone, which involves integration work to meet the performance requirements of the border patrol, has not been met to date, he said. The company should meet that milestone within the next few weeks or months, he said.

Before the Border Patrol accepts delivery of Project 28, it will run more tests to confirm acceptable operation of the system, Benson said. Some tests will be conducted in October, but it is not clear whether those are the final tests, he added.

The goal is to have the sensor information travel from the towers to the control center and then onto patrol vehicles, said Benson, who added that it must all work seamlessly together and as close to real-time as possible. "There have been some concerns about minimizing the amount of time it takes for the information to flow through the system," he said.

In addition to the Project 28 task order, Boeing has received a $47 million management task order for SBInet. It is performing design work, and also installing barriers, in association with the next phases of SBInet in the Barry Goldwater Mountain Range and also in the El Paso, Texas, region, Benson 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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