DHS Details Contract for Second Try at Southwest Virtual Fence

December 9, 2011

The Homeland Security Department has published an expected draft solicitation for bids on a successor to a failed $1 billion virtual border fence.

The proposed work order calls for "nondevelopmental" -- already available from defense or industrial production lines -- towers flanked with cameras designed to tolerate the extreme Arizona weather. The Southwest terrain undermined former contractor Boeing Co.'s previous try at what was then called the Secure Border Initiative network, leading DHS to switch to a more tailored surveillance strategy.

The "integrated fixed towers" would be deployed first at the Nogales Border Patrol station and possibly at up to five more Arizona areas: Sonoita, Douglas, Casa Grande, Ajo and Wellton, according to the draft request for proposals posted on the Federal Business Opportunities procurement website earlier this week. The apparatus is required to endure temperatures up to 120 degrees, wind gusts of up to 15 miles per hour and periodic lightning. 

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