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SBI Executive Director: ‘We Will be Buying a Bunch of Systems’ to Replace SBInet

Photo: Boeing.com

After the high-profile cancellation of the over-budget and behind-schedule SBInet border surveillance program, the Customs and Border Protection agency is taking a different tack.

Mark Borkowski, assistant commissioner of the agency’s Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition, said rather than dumping more money into a blue-sky development program, the agency wants to see technologies that have already proven themselves, according to a report in Washington Technology.

“SBInet was a development program,” Borkowski said. Going forward, he said, “We are not developing anything. If you have got it, we will consider buying it, if it is worth the cost for the performance.”

But SBInet was not a complete failure. Borkowski touted the success of SBInet Block 1, a 53-mile swath along the Arizona border, where the surveillance system was first implemented.

“The deployment of Block 1 gave us confidence,” he said. “What we built works, it is effective and the Border Patrol likes it.”

When Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the cancellation of SBInet in January, she also laid out the steps for a future program, a scaled-back version “tailored to the distinct terrain and population density of each border region,” she said.

Funds already appropriated for SBInet are being used to continue border surveillance funding, and Borkowski told Washington Technology those funds will pay for integrated fixed towers, videos cameras and mobile systems, among other technologies.

More detailed requests for proposal are expected later this year.

“We will have multiple RFPs,” Borkowski told Washington Technology. “We will be buying a bunch of systems.”

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