CBP seeks program assistance for SBInet

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to hire a project management contractor to help ensure that the SBInet virtual fence and other border surveillance projects meet their goals.

The Secure Border Initiative (SBI) Program Management Office intends to publish a request for proposals March 16. In a notice published March 11 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, agency officials said they had determined that a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will best meet its requirements.

“An IDIQ contract allows the program management office the flexibility to meet dynamic requirements during various phases and deployments of SBInet by issuing task orders,” the notice states.

The term of the planned contract is one base year plus four one-year options.

SBI is one of the Homeland Security Department’s most ambitious technology programs. It includes development and deployment of the $6.7 billion SBInet electronic surveillance system along the southwestern U.S. border with prime contractor Boeing Co. The initiative also includes physical fencing and vehicle barriers along the border.

A 28-mile prototype system has been operating on mobile towers in Arizona since February 2008. Contractors are expected to begin construction on permanent towers and an operational system for a 53-mile section of the Arizona/Mexico border in April.

The program management office is seeking a contractor that can provide support for:

  • Performance planning and metrics development and tracking.
  • Budget and financial management.
  • Program control.
  • Planning and business operations.
  • Operational requirements development.
  • Logistics operations and facilities maintenance.
  • Systems engineering.
  • Architecture and system design.
  • Environmental planning.
The goal is to acquire contract support in all aspects of planning, developing, revising, coordinating, managing and implementing programs, projects and processes that fall under the program management office’s responsibilities, the notice states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 24, 2009 Charly Virginia

Wow! No one wants to take responsibility. If you don't have the skills step aside and hire the skills within the CBP or recognize those that do have the skills in the CBP. Hiring another contractor will just enable more finger pointing as things go wrong. The problem is with the way the mission was defined. Without good structure in the mission poor management follows. The existing contractor is having a hard enough time. The CBP is having a hard enough time dealing with the contractor. What a mess it would be to through another party in the middle of this. If this program isn’t working cut it and restart with good processes built into the program for management. Good luck.

Mon, Mar 16, 2009 Mike k VA

I do not understand why CBP wants to contract out project management of its own programs. While I agree that the government suffers from a lack of well managed programs, this as a solution does not work. NO outside contractor can manage a program as well as CBP could if they would only develop their own resources to manage the interests of the CBP's mission. It is a cop-out so they can avoid responsibility and criticism. What they are proposing does not work, ask the USCG. I have not worked for either the CBP or the USCG. I worked for defense contractors. The most successful (on schedule on cost) contracts I ever worked on, were where the government had a program office supported enough to manage their contractors and that recognized contractors as resources. The taxpayer monies spent would pay for themselves in contract performance. Mike k VA

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