DHS Investments in Border Security Technology

Goals

Locate DHS investments in border security technology that are no older than one year that the DHS uses to facilitate the movement of people across borders, along with taking three of the technologies and researching how and where they are being used for a client investment strategy.

Early Findings

  • The 2019 Budget requested over $2.2 billion in high-priority investments in border security technology, infrastructure, and equipment to help CBP prevent, detect, and interdict illegal border crossings. These investments include $182 million for surveillance technology, such as towers, radars, cameras, and sensors, to give the Border Patrol situational awareness in high-risk areas.
  • “There is a huge industry in the United States that will stand to benefit from the government contracts that are being dispensed in order to fund this huge expansion in border security,” David Bier, an immigration and border technology expert at the Cato Institute, said in a podcast. That includes companies that produce drones and advanced sensors, said Matthew Feeney, a policy analyst at Cato who works on issues concerning the intersection of new technologies and civil liberties.
  • “It’s of course not just these kind of big Predator drones” that General Atomics builds that are already in use by CBP, he added. “DHS is also interested in smaller drones that they would like to see outfitted with facial recognition technology.” The department has already issued solicitations to industry in this regard.
  • Some of the new technologies that they government is interested in is unmanned aerial systems, tethered drones, unattended ground sensors with Electronic-Optical-Infrared-Detection and surveillance systems capable of machine learning, and remote surveillance advancements. Innovation in aggregated technologies will ensure our agents stay ahead of the many and diverse threats they face.
  • The 2018 Border Security plan stated that ground sensors, biometrics, and mobile surveillance were a priority. Tactical risk management and information sharing were also priorities.
  • In Rio Grande Valley, CBP reported deploying 14 of 28 Mobile Video Surveillance System units—a truck-mounted system with cameras and laser illuminators—with the remaining units expected to be deployed by the end of fiscal year 2019
  • CBP also reported making progress deploying Remote Video Surveillance System towers—cameras and laser illuminators mounted on fixed and relocatable towers—to Rio Grande Valley, with 20 relocatable towers deployed and additional fixed and relocatable towers expected to be deployed by the end of fiscal year 2020.
  • The Southwest Border Technology Plan has a more detailed description of technologies.
  • The Border Management Summit 2018 has an exhaustive document that listed technologies that were being invested in. There were Portable Surveillance Systems, anti-tunneling technologies, ground sensors, integrated fixed towers, remote video surveillance, tactical communications program, and unmanned aerial systems.
  • The 2020 Border Management Summit in December 2019 indicated $21 million would be spent on body worn cameras and other camera systems. They also indicated the following spends on technology:
  • • $58.6M Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS).
  • • $70.6M Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) Equipment Refresh/Recapitalization.
  • • $118M Automated Targeting System (ATS) Maintenance
  • • $14M Mobile Video Surveillance Systems (MVSS)
  • • $1.1M Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT)
  • • $15M 50 fixed-wing Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
  • • $122M Airframes and Sensors

Proposed next steps:

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