SBInet demo planned for northern border

The Homeland Security Department plans to showcase its SBInet border surveillance system in an upcoming Northern Border Demonstration in the Detroit and Great Lakes areas.

Customs and Border Protection officials recently met with Canadian authorities, and separately with Michigan and Ohio law enforcement agents, to develop the plans for the first demonstration of the surveillance system along the Canadian border, DHS officials said.

SBInet, which stands for Secure Border Initiative Network, is the department's program to use radars, sensors, cameras and other technologies to create 24-hour networked surveillance system along the U.S. borders. Boeing Co., the prime contractor for SBInet, is installing the first 28-mile section along the Arizona-Mexico border.

The upcoming Canadian border project will involve an as-yet-unspecified site and technologies within the Great Lakes region. "The project will be critical to establishing a foundation for future SBInet operations on the Northern border and in a maritime environment," the Customs and Border Protection agency said in a news release.

Border patrol officials met on Oct. 22 in Boston with the Shared Border Accord Coordinating Council, which included officials from the Canada Border Security Agency. "The Northern Border Demonstration is as much about the partnerships, as it is the technologies used," Rowdy Adams, SBInet deputy executive director, said in a news release.

In a separate meeting held in September in Clinton Township, Mich., officials from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Coast Guard met with representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Homeland Security.

In that September meeting, SBInet Program Manager Kirk Evans said the northern border demonstration will deploy selected technologies in the Great Lakes. The meeting marks a milestone for SBInet, and the next steps are site selection and technology selection, the news release said.

Boeing and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego will assist with the Northern Border demonstration. Boeing will provide sensor, tower and communications integration, and the Naval warfare center will assist in developing the common operating picture, DHS said.

SBInet is one of the largest homeland security-related contracting opportunities. The DHS inspector general estimated the cost of the project at $8 billion to $30 billion.

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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