Chertoff: DHS likely to accept Project 28 within days

The Homeland Security Department will “likely accept” in the next few days the first task order of DHS’ multibillion-dollar project to use technology and tactical infrastructure to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said Feb. 13.

Chertoff told the House Homeland Security Committee that although the delayed pilot program to secure 28 miles along the Arizona border was not “a panacea,” he believed it was a “value added” aid to border guards.

Lawmakers have questioned whether the expected capabilities of the project, which the department now calls a prototype, have been diminished from how it was originally presented to them.

The department and Boeing, SBInet's prime contractor, have been under continued congressional scrutiny for delays associated with the first task order, called Project 28. The task order, worth approximately $20 million, was expected to be completed in mid-2007.

The Bush administration has requested an additional $775 million for SBInet  for fiscal 2009.

The House Homeland Security Committee plans to hold a hearing on that subject in the near future.

DHS said it “conditionally accepted” the Project 28 software in December, but House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Feb. 13 his office never received the list of issues still facing the system or the papers documenting the “conditional acceptance.”

Boeing was also awarded a second task order worth $64 million to design SBInet’s Operating Picture software system for the border.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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