As expected the Trump administration’s budget request for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for border security is heavily weighted toward construction of a wall along the southern border but there are also proposed increases in spending for security technology, the FY ’18 budget documents show.
The administration is requesting nearly $1.6 billion related to border wall construction would include 32 miles of new border wall and 28 miles of new levee wall in the Rio Grande Valley sector, and 14 miles of replacement secondary barrier that completes the 14 miles of new border wall in the San Diego sector. The request also covers activities for additional wall.
In the area of security technology, the CBP seeks $46.2 million for the Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), the largest chunk of funding for land-based surveillance equipment in the request. General Dynamics [GD] currently supplies the RVSS to CBP.
The request for RVSS largely covers technology obsolescence on over 215 towers on the southern border by upgrading selected sites with new surveillance capability and deploying upgraded technology at new sites. The documents say that 72 new sensor towers and an upgrade of 11 existing tower sites are planned for the Rio Grande Valley sector.
The RVSS procurement request is nearly $17 million higher than funded in FY ’17 and about $10 million more than in FY ’16.
Separately, in the operation and support account, CBP is requesting a $3.8 million increase for the RVSS upgrade program, with the funds planned for maintaining and sustaining two relocatable tower pilot projects in Texas that are expected to be fully deployed in the fourth quarter of FY ’17.
The budget documents say that the pilots will give the agency the opportunity to “assess the viability” of using relocatable towers as part of the upgrade program. The relocatable towers are expected to “allow for faster deployment of technology due to minimal environmental and real estate requirements as compared to the more extensive requirements under the standard upgrade of the RVSS system,” the documents say.
CBP’s acquisition request also includes $20 million for unattended ground sensors (UGS) and Imaging UGS, none of which were funded in FY ’16 and FY ’17. Currently, funding that goes for UGS is for sustaining the 11,983 units that are already deployed. The additional funds are to buy, deploy and sustain 4,688 additional units on the southwest border.
The UGS units can be transported and relocated by one or more agents needed.
CBP is seeking $17.4 million for the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) surveillance program, nearly $2 million more than in FY ’17. The funds for the camera and radar systems would go for completing deployments in two areas of responsibility (AoR), Ajo-1 and Sonoita, and to initiate the deployment in Casa Grande.
The requested funding will also go toward establishing a Modular Command and Control Center for the IFT/Block 1 replacement in the Tuscon-1 AoR.
The IFT systems are supplied by Elbit Systems [ESLT].
The border security request also shows a new procurement program, the Cross Border Tunnel Threat (CBTT), which would receive $9 million if fully funded. The budget documents say that the CBTT program will acquire technologies and services to close capability gaps in the area tunnels used by Transnational Organized Crime Networks to gain access to the U.S. through tunnels and existing infrastructure.
Specifically, the documents mention gaps in four areas that the CBTT program will address: predicting potential tunnel locations; detecting the presence of suspected tunnels and tunneling activities, and project the trajectory of a discovered tunnel; use mapping and measurements to confirm a tunnel’s existence; and facilitate information sharing among stakeholders.
CBP is requesting a scant $1.6 million for the vehicle-mounted Mobile Video Surveillance System (MVSS), which is currently supplied by Tactical Micro. The agency’s requirement is for 297 units on the northern and southern borders, and prior year funding will allow the acquisition of 78 units for in several sectors in Texas.
The small FY ’18 request is for source selection documentation for a follow on MVSS contract to buy the remaining 181 units. The program is currently in various phases of test and evaluation the prior year funding will go toward purchasing 24 Tactical Micro units under low rate initial production.
For detection technology at ports of entry, CBP is requesting $109.2 million for Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) systems to scan vehicles and cargo entering the U.S. CBP says the funding will ensure that its fleet of X-Ray and other inspection systems remain on track within their service life by FY ’24, and provide it investment flexibility regarding its NII needs.
The FY ’18 NII funds would be used to buy more than 25 large-scale and 600 small-scale NII systems, with a focus on “identifying, acquiring, and deploying NII hardware and software solutions that integrate technology and operations to effectively counter trade-based threats,” agency budget documents say. New NII systems and radiation scanning systems for the rail environment are part of the FY ’18 plan.
Current NII systems and radiation detection equipment used at ports of entry are standalone systems and don’t transmit data directly to a CBP network.