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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Raytheon gets second shot at border security contract

I know the timing is purely coincidental but the Government Accountability Office today sustained a protest by Raytheon over an award to another company to build a series of integrated fixed towers to track movements across the southwest border with Mexico.

Yes, the same border that is very much in the news today because of the massive influx of children trying to cross into the United States.

The $145.3 million contract was awarded to EFW Inc. in February, but the solicitation dates back to April 2012. And of course, the entire project has roots back to the Secure Border Initiative Network, SBINet, that Boeing built for the Homeland Security Department under a 2006 contract.

SBINet struggled from the start but wasn’t cancelled until 2011 after more than $1 billion was spent on it and it only covered about 80 miles of the border in Arizona.

The Integrated Fixed Tower contract is one of the contracts to fill the need for security along the border in the aftermath of SBINet. The towers are to be built in a series of groups along the border corresponding to specific Border Patrol stations and their areas of responsibility, according to the solicitation.

The contract is build six collections of the towers within Arizona. The towers will have technology such as ground surveillance radar and surveillance cameras mounted on them.

The information the towers collect will get fed back to the Border Patrol stations for agents to better understand what is happening in their area.

After EFW Inc. won the contract, Raytheon protested the award, and now GAO has sustained that protest.

The decision is still going through a vetting process before a public version is released but GAO did give me a statement outlining its findings and recommendations.

It dinged DHS for using several “discriminators to differentiate the proposals of Raytheon and EFW that were not supported by the record.”

GAO also said that the evaluation of EFW’s past performance was unreasonable.

GAO wants DHS to reevaluate the proposals of the two companies and make a new award decision based on that re-evaluation. GAO also wants DHS to reimburse Raytheon for its protest costs.

So Raytheon is getting a second chance.

EFW Inc. isn’t a company I’m very familiar but it is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and is part of Elbit Systems, an international electronics and technology company headquarter in Haifa, Israel.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM

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