DHS asks private sector for border help
Department of Homeland Security officials are open to ideas from the private sector on improving the nation’s border security, including outsourcing work currently done by government employees and using satellites to monitor remote regions.
Representatives from private companies met in late January for a presentation on the department’s multibillion-dollar Secure Border Initiative.
“This is an unusual invitation,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson said. “We’re asking you to come back and tell us how to do our business.”
The initiative, according to govexec.com, will replace and expand upon previous efforts that failed to materialize, namely the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System and America’s Shield Initiative. The difference this time is that DHS plans to develop a comprehensive border security approach that integrates surveillance technology, physical infrastructure, personnel and processes.
DHS plans to issue a solicitation for the border security component — called SBInet — in late March or early April, and to select a prime contractor by the end of September.
Jackson said industry should not feel constrained by ways in which CBP currently handles border security. He questioned whether satellites or other advanced sensors could be used to monitor border regions.
Along with technology suggestions, the department is seeking ideas on how to better manage personnel and processes. But Jackson appealed to industry to pitch ideas that have been proven to work, rather than concepts that need time and testing.