We’ve been waiting since October for Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano to make a decision on the fate of SBInet, the Boeing-designed suite of cameras, ground sensors and radar systems that provide real-time, streaming intel to American border patrol officers standing watch over the U.S./Mexican border.
The program has cost $1.2 billion since 2006—with $800 million of that going to SBInet technologies, and the rest to road grading and fencing along the border—with only 53 mi. of the Arizona border having been covered by the gear. This led Napolitano to order a freeze on the program pending a top-to-bottom review in February, with orders for Customs and Border Protection to report back to her in October with their assessment of where the program stands, and where it can feasibly go in the near term.
While the October deadline was met, we still don’t know what the secretary’s decision is.
With many observers betting that the SBInet program won’t survive—despite the fact that agents in the field love the gear, as I reported in the November DTI—competitors are starting to enter the arena to fill the gaps in border security.
One contender is Raytheon’s Clear View, which a Raytheon representative says is essentially “a command and control system that manages situational awareness.” Designed as a modular system that can “plug and play” with a variety of other data systems, Clear View allows cameras and sensors to track moving objects automatically while storing the information for later use, allowing the operator to perform other tasks and analyze later, if needed.