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Confidence Remains High? (Part II)

Government Computer News reports on DHS’s new “Secure Border Initiative”


The Homeland Security Department today took the wraps off its ambitious plan to quickly gain control of the U.S. northern and southern borders by hiring a systems integration contract team to carry out the Secure Border Initiative (SBI).


DHS plans to request proposals in March and award a contract by Sept. 30 to deploy new technology as part of a comprehensive overhaul of security between ports of entry along the land borders.


OK, the dismal failures of TRAILBLAZER were just pointed out to us (what do you expect when your IT programs include the word “-BREAK” in them?) and that is in the IT savvy NSA. This comes on the heels of news about the colossal failure of the FBI’s Virtual Case File IT project. Less well-known but equally bad are the failures of other IT projects at the IRS and FAA.


I believe a secure border is critical to the security of the nation. The Minutemen have proven time and again that a strong physical presence is often the best defense against illegal border crossings. We’re not going to get away from using technology to secure the border, but anyone who is harboring any illusions that SBI is going to be a success is deluding themselves.


Even on its best day DHS is a dysfunctional nightmare. Throw in some very clever system integration contractors, an understaffed contracting office, and the inevitable scope-creep that is bound to come into play and the probability that one can use the word “success” in the same sentence as “SBI” in two years is hovering around .02. I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I think we all know where the smart money is going.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.