Secure Border Initiative: Technology Deployment Delays Persist and the Impact of Border Fencing Has Not Been Assessed, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Within DHS, U.S. Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) SBI [Secure Border Initiative] program is responsible for developing a comprehensive border protection system using technology, known as SBInet, and tactical infrastructure-fencing, roads, and lighting. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to provide periodic updates on the status of the program. This report addresses the extent to which CBP has implemented SBInet and the impact of delays that have occurred, and the extent to which CBP has deployed tactical infrastructure and assessed its results. To do this work, GAO reviewed program schedules, status reports, and previous GAO work; interviewed DHS and CBP officials, among others; and visited three SBI sites where initial technology or fencing had been deployed at the time of GAO's review. […] SBInet technology capabilities have not yet been deployed and delays require Border Patrol, a CBP component, to rely on existing technology for securing the border, rather than using newer technology planned to overcome the existing technology's limitations. Flaws found in testing and concerns about the impact of placing towers and access roads in environmentally sensitive locations caused delays. As of September 2006, SBInet technology deployment for the southwest border was planned to be complete by early fiscal year 2009. When last reported in February 2009, the completion date had slipped to 2016. As a result of such delays, Border Patrol agents continue to use existing technology that has limitations, such as performance shortfalls and maintenance issues."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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