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  1. #1
    Senior Member CountFloyd's Avatar
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    Boeing eyes billion-dollar deal to watch border

    From AP: Boeing eyes billion-dollar deal to watch border

    WASHINGTON — Boeing wants to guard the nation's borders — for a couple of billion dollars.

    Boeing's St. Louis-based defense division has developed a plan — combining radar and laser technology, sensors and cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, other surveillance equipment and rapid communications tools — to keep illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, potential terrorists and gun runners from entering the United States.

    It's done so at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security, which, seeking better ways to protect U.S. borders, a few months ago asked corporations with expertise in systems integration to supply ideas and technological know-how.

    That started a process that has received scant public attention — partly because federal officials have been tight-lipped about it — despite the intense public debate over immigration and the role of border security in the war on terror.

    The competition for the contract ends next month, when federal officials will choose Boeing or one of four rivals: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Ericsson of Sweden. The firms have devised a variety of ways to combine technology — existing or to be developed — with the government's border patrol and infrastructure.

    An undetermined amount of the work, primarily systems engineering, would be done in St. Louis if Boeing gets the contract.

    Because the government wants to benefit from the firms' high-tech experience and capability to innovate, it's given them a lot of leeway, noted Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank on defense and homeland security issues.

    "This is a form of creeping privatization or at least of outsourcing," Thompson said. "With the traditional approaches of border patrols clearly not up to the challenge of securing the borders, the government seems more inclined to assign key responsibilities to industry. It is going outside of its traditional offices to pursue high-tech, imaginative alternatives."

    The program is known as the Strategic Border Initiative network, or SBInet.

    Geography is a challenge, says Robert Villanueva, Boeing's spokesman for the project.

    "There's desert on the south and mountains on the north along with sections of the Great Lakes," he said. "There are different types of terrain that are not just not routinely monitored, where the technology will come in handy, so we can see what's going on 24/7 — and notify the officers that there's a border penetration they need to get to.

    "Without building a hard fence, we're going to make the border a virtual system," he said. "We'll be able to detect who's crossing the border why and when and at what point, and hopefully identify whether they're terrorists or drug smugglers, weapons smugglers or people hoping to join the work force."

    The field originally consisted of more than a dozen firms, and the survivors were notified within the past few days of their dates to undergo grilling from homeland security officials, set for later this month with one company per day.

    The government is saying little, other than that it will award the winner-take-all contract by the end of the current fiscal year Sept. 30.

    Each company is touting its own advantages:

    Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, has unparalleled experience "as an honest broker, offering the best of industry ... in serving the customer as an integrator," said Wayne Esser, who is leading the project for Boeing.

    Lockheed is the world's biggest defense contractor and spokeswoman Meredith Davis cited its "experience in managing large, complex and geographically dispersed programs."

    Raytheon recently worked with Brazil, providing surveillance for the Amazon area to protect against deforestation, drug trafficking and illegal aliens, said spokesman David Albrighton.

    Northrop Grumman cites its work with various law-enforcement agencies, and spokesman Randy Belote said technologies that would be used include "laser types of systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and radar."

    Ericsson emphasizes its background providing security to European countries, and Douglas Smith, who runs its government business division in Plano, Texas, said Ericsson would rely on "networks of ground sensors and radar, very reliable in all weather."

    The companies won't disclose much about their bids. Esser said one key is "to have an approach that will be very agile, very flexible, that will be very responsive to changes in the threat, in the political climate — including funding."

    Thompson said because there are many options for combining technology and people, "what the competition involves is to convince the government that (bidders) understand what the optimum mix of features is and how to manage it."

    The Department of Homeland Security has been deservedly criticized for poor management, but this program is likely to produce more dividends than congressional squabbling about border guards and security fences, says James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation.

    "SBInet is actually something we really, really need — a system of systems approach to border security. We need to jump into the 21st century," Carafano said. That's a skill of defense companies, which have transformed themselves from manufacturers into systems integrators, he said.

    P.J. Crowley of the Center for American Progress cautioned that, given the freedom the Homeland Security Department is providing the bidders, it has to scrutinize the work that's done.

    "What is critical is that these contracts need proper oversight," he said. "That is a potential problem, because in its three years of existence, competence and oversight have not been strengths of this new department."

    http://www.yakima-herald.com/page/dis/296521768276162
    It's like hell vomited and the Bush administration appeared.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CountFloyd's Avatar
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    Oh goody!

    It looks like the Bush Administration has found yet another way to funnel billions of dollars to its corporate masters for another huge boondoggle administered by the totally incompetent DHS.
    It's like hell vomited and the Bush administration appeared.

  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Well, I don't trust any kind of border enforcement as long as Jorge is president. If and when we get a president that is serious about protecting this country, then I will get excited.
    Yep, just sounds like more big biz talk to me at this point.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  4. #4
    Senior Member CountFloyd's Avatar
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    "Without building a hard fence, we're going to make the border a virtual system," he said. "We'll be able to detect who's crossing the border why and when and at what point, and hopefully identify whether they're terrorists or drug smugglers, weapons smugglers or people hoping to join the work force."
    Back in the day when I wrote software for a living, this is the part of the program we'd designate as "miracle occurs here", since we had no idea of how to actually do it.

    Apparently, even after spending billions on this "virtual" fence, people who are "hoping to join the work force" will still get a complete pass by the DHS.
    It's like hell vomited and the Bush administration appeared.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    It looks like they are trying to pitch this idea on the Canadian border from this article.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006 - 12:00 AM

    Border officials: Technology could aid security

    By Lornet Turnbull
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    BELLINGHAM — At a field hearing on immigration here Tuesday, U.S. border authorities told members of the Congressional Homeland Security Committee that technology — not more manpower — is key to making the country's northern border more secure from terrorists.

    And the head of the Washington National Guard said that in beefing up national borders, the federal government should be mindful of two major events expected to bring more than 325,000 spectators from around the world to the Pacific Northwest between 2009 and 2010.

    The United States shares a border with Canada that is twice the length of its border with Mexico but has one-tenth the number of border agents.

    Still, along the rugged stretch within Washington, with vast mountain ranges and waterways, it is not feasible to think more border agents would necessarily lead to greater security, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

    "I can't say how many agents are needed," said Roland Henley, CBP's chief patrol agent for its Blaine Sector, responding to questions from Democratic members of the committee about their staffing needs.

    "I do know that high-tech tools, like UAVs, are something we need to look at seriously." He was referring to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which are remotely controlled, camera-equipped aircraft used for surveillance.

    Tuesday's hearing at the Bellingham City Council Chamber was hosted by two subcommittees of the House Homeland Security Committee. Five committee members hosted the hearing, including Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton.

    The hearing was one of 21 that various House committees are holding in 13 states across the country. The hearings are intended to gauge public sentiment around a variety of immigration and border-security issues, as Congress tries to reconcile separate immigration bills that have been passed by the House and Senate.

    Outside the Bellingham chamber, anti-illegal immigrant groups called for tighter borders, while immigrant advocates pleaded for more comprehensive measures that consider the role immigrants play in the economy.

    Farmers, showing photographs from last year of apples rotting on the ground in Eastern Washington, told Reichert that Americans do not want to work as fruit pickers.

    Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican from California who chaired Tuesday's hearing, said officials wanted to make certain that in the debate over border security and immigration, the concerns of the northern border were not overlooked.

    At the same time, witnesses stressed the need for preserving the free flow of trade and tourism between the U.S. and Canada. Dicks pointed out the special challenges that exist in securing an area with the complex terrain within and around Washington, where people can arrive by sea, land and air.

    Pointing out that the Pacific Northwest was where the so-called millennium bomber was apprehended, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said, "It's difficult terrain, and I think increased border agents would be the solution here."

    Since the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 1,000 agents have been added to the U.S.-Canadian border.

    Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, who heads the Washington National Guard, also chairs a task force that is addressing border-security issues related to an event called the 2009 World Police & Fire Games, an international athletic competition for fire and police personnel, and the 2010 Winter Olympics, both in British Columbia.

    Together, the events will bring 20,700 athletes from 80 countries, as well as 325,000 spectators, and Lowenberg said care needs to be taken to make sure that border-security efforts do not create impossible impediments for those events.
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