Last week, the US government posted more information about its desired Son of SBInet (see PDF), the successor to the failed SBInet virtual fence program. According to this article in the Washington Technology and the government's solicitation, Customs and Border Protection wants technology solutions that are " ... complete, fully integrated, and proven commercial-off-the-shelf/government-off-the-shelf (COTS/GOTS) solutions."
"The Government is not interested in solutions that require measurable developmental effort to integrate COTS/GOTS subsystems... There is no intent to develop any items or systems under the program."
In addition, the government intends to use fixed priced contracts for the procurement of the technology.
What's more, open architecture solutions - meaning "an inherent ability to 'plug-and-play' (consistent with well-defined interface descriptions) - including switch-out of hardware and software components from other suppliers - without any additional integration costs or any additional involvement from the original equipment manufacturer(s)" - are going to be given preference.
Given the above requirements/constraints, one is led to believe that there is lots of inexpensive, easy to integrate and very effective surveillance, communications and command system technology that entered the marketplace in the past three years that can "detect, track, identify, and classify illegal incursions to provide Border Patrol agents with improved situational awareness between the Ports of Entry (POEs)."
Hmm, I wonder why this supposedly readily available, off-the-shelf, plug & play technology wasn't being used on SBInet?
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.