Week in Review

Tech on the borders

Last week, the Homeland Security Department awarded the contract for SBInet — a multibillion-dollar contract to use technology to create a virtual fence that would help curtail illegal immigration.

DHS rejected a more costly plan that would have relied on unmanned aerial vehicles and instead selected a proposal, led by Boeing, to build 1,800 towers along the 6,000 miles of the country’s northern and southern borders.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff emphasized that the agency is interested in proven technologies.

“We want to get high-tech in the very best of the 21st century, but we’re not interested in performing science experiments on the border,” he said at a press briefing last week. “What we want to do is use tools that have been proven in other contexts to have the ability to perform and to have the durability we need [at] the border.”

“Ultimately, when this thing is fully deployed, what we’re looking for is a very, very high rate of detection and a very high rate of interception,” Chertoff said.

DHS’ plan also focuses on performance. SBInet offers an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract of one three-year period with three one-year options.

“What that means in plain English is we’re not buying the entire contract at once,” Chertoff said. We have the overall framework. We have the partner. We have the general terms of the contract. But we will be rolling out segments of this, starting in the highest-priority, highest-traffic areas.”

Other noteworthy news

The Homeland Security Department awarded Boeing the SBInet contract, worth an estimated $2.5 billion.… The Army prepared to open the $5 billion Army Desktop and Mobile Computing-2 contract for business and encouraged buyers to look for deals on ADMC-1.… The Office of Management and Budget disclosed information technology projects on its management and high-risk watch lists.… The Social Security Administration received high marks from its inspector general for its earned value management system, which measures how well SSA performs on IT projects.… The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Data Systems Analysts a contract to create a personal identity verification system that complies with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 and Federal Information Processing Standard 201.… Dr. Robert Kolodner, chief health informatics officer at the VA, became the interim national coordinator of health IT at the Department of Health and Human Services.… Richard Spires is the Internal Revenue Service’s new chief information officer.… NASA selected a team of venture capitalists to run its new firm, Red Planet Capital.… The Coast Guard awarded a contract to Telos and its Xacta subsidiary for a secure messaging system for the Coast Guard’s 45,000 users.… The Defense Information Systems Agency could save billions of dollars by changing the way it acquires circuits to connect bases and posts to the Global Information Grid, according to the Congressional Budget Office.… OMB and the General Services Administration released planning guidance for OMB’s financial line-of-business initiative.… DHS appointed Gregory Garcia, an executive at the IT Association of America, as the agency’s first assistant secretary for cybersecurity and telecommunications.… Army Secretary Francis Harvey said he intends to offer the Army’s civilian employees and top civilian leaders the same flexibility in changing duty stations and jobs that uniformed personnel and leaders have.

A roundup of the week's news, complete with links to the original stories, can be found on FCW.com Download's Week in Review.

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