SBInet program manager steps down

The Homeland Security Department’s program manager for SBInet has resigned, leaving a vacancy in the high-profile program.


Kirk Evans, program manager of the border surveillance system since January 2007, resigned April 11. He had reported to Rowdy Adams, deputy director of the Secure Border Initiative, and to Greg Giddens, executive director of SBInet, within U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


Evans has accepted another position within DHS, Lloyd Easterling, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed today. John Santo is serving as acting program manager of SBInet, Easterling said. Further details were not immediately available.


The SBInet system, composed of cameras, radar and other sensors strung on towers and connected by networks, is being deployed along the border between Arizona and Mexico by prime contractor Boeing Co. Covering the southwestern U.S. border is estimated to cost $8 billion.


Boeing’s initial 28-mile segment of the system, termed Project 28, was accepted by DHS in February as a demonstration of the technology. Boeing is working on a task order for the Common Operating Picture for the system, and task orders for additional work are expected shortly.


The implementation of Project 28 was controversial because of delays, shortcomings in the technology and criticism from Congress about changes of direction in the project. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that the Project 28 configuration, although operational and within budget, will be reworked for other parts of the border.


It was unclear whether those concerns were a factor in Evans’ resignation. The former SBInet program manager could not be immediately reached for comment. He was responsible for the schedule, cost and scope of Project 28.


Easterling said Evans made a strong contribution to the program.


“As program manager, [Evans] directed the implementation of SBInet at CBP, including many of the most important accomplishments the agency achieved over the past year,” Easterling said. “CBP appreciates his professionalism and dedication to securing our nation’s borders as a leader in SBInet from the onset of the program under extraordinarily demanding circumstances.”


Evans is a retired Navy captain with more than 30 years’ experience in directing underwater surveillance and detection programs.


“This is the first time that the entire border has been seen from a program management perspective,” Evans said in a January 2007 news release. “Each mile of the border, both north and south, has been examined to determine the best mix of technologies to assist CBP Officers and Border Patrol agents in accomplishing their mission.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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