U.S. Gives up on Billion-Dollar Boeing Virtual Border Fence

Monday, January 17, 2011
(photo: Wayne W. Huang)
After spending more than $1 billion on an incomplete project, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to terminate SBInet, a plan to install a virtual border fence along the American Southwest. But the government is not giving up on the idea of using advanced technology to better control border crossings.
Boeing was paid $1.1 billion over four years to develop sensors, radar and other technology to allow the government to stem drug smuggling, illegal immigration and terrorist-related activity across U.S. land borders. However it was only able to cover 53 miles of the border in Arizona.
The project encountered cost overruns and fell behind schedule, causing Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano to kill the effort, and instead redirect the work towards a new strategy to monitor the border.
The new strategy is expected to utilize mobile surveillance units, unmanned aircraft, thermal imaging devices and remote video surveillance systems mounted on towers.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Boeing’s SBInet Contract Gets the Axe (by Alice Lipowicz, Washington Technology)


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