Past Features

January 7, 2015

Unmanned Border Technology Office?
Drone report highlights the latest in a long string of failures
Assistant Commissioner Mark Borkowski, Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition
Glenn Spencer, American Border Patrol -- January 7, 2015  
    When I was about to brief him on a new approach to border security in August, 2013, the man who ran the border technology office said, “You don't have to introduce him, anyone who knows anything about the border knows who Glenn Spencer is.”. I then told Assistant CBP Commissioner and Chief Acquisition Executive, Mark S. Borkowski, Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition all about the Sonic Barrier (AKA IDENTISEIS) and how it could be used to secure our border with Mexico.
    I showed him this video. He wasn't interested --- and still isn't --- despite the fact that it solved a serious problem for which he had been seeking solutions --- detecting ultralight aircraft.
   This is the same office that gave us the infamous Boeing virtual fence.
    In a paper at a 2013 GovSec West conference in Dallas, I criticized the plan to follow up the virtual fence with the “Integrated Fixed Towers”. I said that it was nothing more than a re-do of Boeing's failed approach.
    Borkowski then awarded the Integrated Fixed Towers contract to an Israeli company. After an investigation, the contract award was halted.
    Now, an investigation by the DHS OIG has found that the Predator drone is a big waste of money -- just as I have said for years.
    Some say it could be fatal to criticize the people who hold the purse strings. But I didn't come to the border to make money - I came to solve problems. It appears t that one of those problems is CBP's office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition.
Note: This morning I was reminded that over the past five years others have briefed Borkowski on technology used by American Border Patrol. Despite this, and despite the fact that a major DOD contractor called the Sonic Barrier a significant breakthrough, he has refused take us seriously. --- Glenn Spencer