2006 September 20 Wednesday
US Border Virtual Barrier Contract Up For Bid

Defense contractors and a cell phone company are competing to win a big US Department of Homeland Security $2.2+ billion contract to make difficult illegal entry into the US from Mexico.

If Northrop Grumman Corp. gets the multibillion-dollar contract to secure America's borders, the sky above the Rio Grande would be thick with drones.

Cellphone maker Ericsson Inc. thinks drones are largely a waste and would focus instead on giving Border Patrol agents wireless devices capable of receiving live video.

Boeing Co. would build high-tech towers, lining the borders with 1,800 of them.

For Lockheed Martin Corp., blimps are a big part of the solution. And for Raytheon Co., the key is letting agents watch incidents unfold on Google Earth.

Political support for better border control is going to make crossing increasingly harder every year going forward. Sensors and computers will become cheaper. More wall sections will get built. But we could do all this sooner, faster, and more extensively.

One big question is where to put the sensors.

All companies, for instance, offer an array of sensors, including infrared, motion and seismic. But they are divided over where to place them -- whether to bury them, mount them on towers, or send them airborne attached to planes, helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles.

I think we should build a full multi-layer border barrier of fences, ditches, barbed wire, and walls for about $6 billion to $8 billion. Then the sensors could add an extra layer of protection to detect anyone who is trying to cross through the layers. The barrier would slow down the crossers long enough for the Border Patrol agents to reach a spot while illegal crossers are still in the barrier area.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 September 20 07:11 AM  Immigration Border Barrier

Mark said at September 20, 2006 6:50 PM:

I totally agree with a great big wall. I also agree with more border control agents.

The stuff these companies are proposing seems to be almost a silly waste of money though.

Blimps???? Drones?? Even the surveillance stuff seems to be kind of unneeded, wasteful spending, and over kill.

An even better idea than wasting money on blimps and drones, why not crack down hard on employers of illegals?

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