January 31, 2017
The Intercept -- January 27
U.S. SEEKS TO DOUBLE VIDEO SURVEILLANCE TOWERS ALONG MEXICAN BORDER
On January 18, a week before Donald Trump issued Wednesday’s executive order decreeing the immediate construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency posted a “Request for Information” to a federal database of government contract opportunities for private businesses. Although released without fanfare, the solicitation appears to be one of the earliest operational glimpses into the federal government’s plans for heightened security along U.S. land borders under the Trump administration.
Because of the often treacherous and desolate terrain along the country’s 1,954-mile southern land border, many have speculated that in such areas Trump’s wall could be more of a digital surveillance shield composed of video camera towers and drones that scan for border crossing activity.
Glenn Spencer -- Opinion
I wouldn't waste my time
As reported by the intercept, CBP is planning new remote video surveillance towers along the border. The plan was no doubt conceived well before Donald Trump was inaugurated, or before his new Secretary of Homeland Security, General Kelly, was sworn in.
According to Breitbart, the head of CBP was fired eight days after a "Request for Information" on the project was issued - casting uncertainty on CBP's plans.
I have read the "Request for Information" and it repeats serious errors made by CBP in the past.
For example, the attached "OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS" contains this:
"Given the geographical variances where RVSS Upgrade systems will be used, these requirements describe the capability expected for a surveillance subsystem with a clear line of sight ("smooth earth”)."
Most of the Southwest is far from being "smooth earth".
Any proposed system is supposed to be able to: "Detect: To discover the presence of a possible Item of Interest (IoI)." How can it do that if the Item of Interest is hiding in a deep wash?
Worst of all, there is no metric linking the ability of any system to operational control of the border --- the goal of President Trump's executive order.
If I were a contractor, I wouldn't waste my time responding to this request for information.