DHS to Start Vetting Virtual Fence Contractors by February

November 18, 2011

The Homeland Security Department plans as soon as January to open bidding on a 10-year contract to replace a failed $1 billion border surveillance project, according to DHS officials.

Two weeks after a federal audit lambasted the department's plans for a follow-on project, it announced Thursday afternoon that it will issue a draft request for proposals early next month, followed by a final RFP in January or February. The timeline and some details about requirements for constructing the interconnected towers in Arizona were communicated through the Federal Business Opportunities procurement website. Whereas the defunct Secure Border Initiative network consisted of a one-size-fits-all installation along the southwest border, each new deployment is expected to custom fit the weather and landscape of its surroundings.

The "Integrated Fixed Towers" contract, as described, calls for towers equipped with ground radars and surveillance cameras; supporting power generation; and devices for command and control workstations capable of displaying the captured images and data. This arrangement is intended to provide Customs and Border Protection agents with a full view of any illicit border crossings, drug trafficking or other criminal activity. 

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