SBInet (virtual fence) Down but not Dead

Janet Napolitano’s statement that then federal government is going to redirect  $50 million in stimulus funds away from the virtual fence and towards off-the-shelf technology designed to help secure the border. Aside from mentioning that SBInet failed in part precisely because it relied on off-the-shelf technologies, it is worth mentioning that the virtual fence is not dead. The funds have been frozen (only) until DHS completes its reassessment of the virtual fence project.  Let’s see what happens then. Also, SBI executive director Mark Borkowski insists that the project will continue its immediate term assignment of completing block-1 of the virtual fence.

Finally, if you “follow the money” in terms of government contracts, nothing in the Secretary’s statement yesterday suggests the federal government is prepared to break its contract with Boeing, which won the SBInet contract in 2006. It is also worth noting that the federal government extended the SBInet contract with Boeing as recently as last September (09).  Consider that like now– on the eve of yet another damning GEO report documenting the failures of sbinet and government oversight of this ill conceived project– the september 09 extension came on the heels of about a dozen GAO reports all highly critical of SBInet.

Call me highly cynical here, but I refuse to believe SBInet is dead until DHS severs its contract with Boeing. When that happens, let me know. Until then, no celebration.


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