Below is a comment from TCS President Ms. Ryan Alexander on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s announcement that she will freeze funding for SBInet—the Boeing-led project to beef up border security through a computer-driven network of cameras and sensors— at least until it passes a technological assessment later this year. In the meantime, $50 million in stimulus funding will go to radios, laptops and other immediate Customs and Border Protection needs.
TCS President Ms. Ryan Alexander’s statement:
“Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s decision to halt development of SBInet will hopefully prevent good taxpayer money being thrown after bad. However, it does not let DHS or Boeing off the hook for rushing ahead with such an ill-conceived and poorly planned project. It also doesn’t excuse the outrageous dependence on contractors and lack of oversight that characterized the program. SBInet represents the rushed and mismanaged approach Congress and DHS have taken toward securing the border. Future efforts must be more rigorous and careful with taxpayer dollars.”
TCS reported earlier on the 30 percent cut to DHS’ Secure Border Initiative in the FY2011 budget and Napolitano’s warning that SBInet could face the axe after this year’s assessment. Napolitano apparently stiffened her resolve in advance of tomorrow’s hearing before the House Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee on the program’s troubled trajectory. The Government Accountability Office is scheduled to release a report at that hearing containing some of the most alarming revelations about the program to date, such as Boeing changing technology test procedures with the intent of passing the test rather than assessing the system. The report also says that 1,300 SBInetdefects have been found so far, and that the appearance of new defects outpace those being fixed—a bad sign, to say the least.
For more information contact Laura Peterson.