Past Features

July 22, 2017

How did the Integrated
Fixed Towers Happen?

Spotlight on Asst. Commissioner Mark Borkowski

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Glenn Spencer -- July 22, 2017
Mark Borkowski -- How many times does he get to fail?
    According to the current official website of the Department of Homeland Security“ ...Borkowski provided expert advice and support to the U.S. Border Patrol on the technology program within the Secure Border Initiative called SBInet.”
    In 2006, I called SBInet the Strategic Bullsh*t Initiative, saying: "Nowhere does SBI spell out a goal that can be measured.”
   SBInet was cancelled --- after spending $1 billion.
INTEGRATED FIXED TOWERS
    Undeterred, Borkowski moved on to the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) project --- set to cost another $1 billion.
    In 2011, I criticized the IFT project for lack of a specific definition of mission objectives --- "Here We Go Again".
    In 2015, I called on DHS and GAO to make sure the IFT project was subject to proper testing of its capabilities.
    On June 12, 2017, the DHS OIG issued a special report (OIG-70-SR), including the fact that these Integrated Fixed Towers were never properly tested. (Page 9)
    
"In March 2014, GAO reported that CBP's Test and Evaluation Master Plan only described testing to determine the Integrated Fixed Towers mission contribution but did not include testing operational effectiveness and suitability, which specifically identifies how effective and reliable a system is in meeting its operational requirements in its intended environment.”
    In other words Mark Borkowski failed to make sure the IFTs did what they were supposed to do ---where they were installed.
PROJECT ON HOLD?
    American Border Patrol has been following the progress of the Coronado National Forest IFT project since February.
    On June 30, we reported that the Coronado IFT project was undergoing testing.
    An ABP report of July 12, questioning the effectiveness of the IFTs, found them to be idle, and the two mobile camera units in the Montezuma Pass they were supposed to replace to be still operating.
PROJECT CANCELLED?
    From all indications, including the FY 18 CBP budget, there is a very good chance that the IFT project will be cancelled, if it hasn't been already.
    Back in 2015, a writer for homeland security newswire asked:
    How many times does CBP's Mark Borkowski get to fail?
    How many indeed?
    Tomorrow: Mark Borkowski -- the swamp master?

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