DHS freezes spending on virtual fence project

Napolitano also says $50 million in stimulus cash will be spent in other ways

Citing missed deadlines and cost overruns, the Homeland Security Department announced today it would freeze spending on a program to build a virtual fence along the U.S. southwestern border until the department completes a review.

DHS also announced it would redeploy $50 million in stimulus money that had been allocated for the first block of the SBInet virtual fence program, which aims to use a mix of information technology to secure the United States' border with Mexico.

The moves come after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a reassessment of the program in January. That review is ongoing.

Napolitano said in a statement that the $50 million would instead be spent on “other tested, commercially available security technology along the Southwest border, including mobile surveillance, thermal imaging devices, ultra-light detection, backscatter units, mobile radios, cameras and laptops for pursuit vehicles, and remote video surveillance system enhancements.”

Napolitano also said until the reassessment is complete, DHS is freezing all funding for the program beyond what’s for the initial deployment of SBInet’s Block 1 initial deployment to the Tucson and Ajo regions. Boeing, the prime contractor for the project, got the SBInet contract in September 2006.


Related Story:

Napolitano explains why less (money) is more for SBInet


 “Not only do we have an obligation to secure our borders, we have a responsibility to do so in the most cost effective way possible,” Napolitano said in the statement. “The system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines.”

The Secure Border Initiative and the SBInet virtual fence program would get $574.17 million under President Barack Obama’s proposed 2011 budget. That’s down sharply from the $800 million the program got in fiscal 2010.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group