Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last Friday began soliciting for a new program to consolidate its current and future border and maritime security surveillance towers.

Under the Consolidated Tower and Surveillance Equipment (CTSE) program, CBP estimates it will acquire 296 new surveillance towers for use along the northern and southwest borders and upgrade an estimated 191 legacy towers with new surveillance equipment and related services, according to the Dec. 8 request for proposals (RFP).

The required surveillance capabilities include fixed and relocatable systems, short, medium and long-range, and operations by the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) along the northern and southern borders and for maritime awareness.

These capabilities will have to meet the requirements of legacy systems, which currently include Automated Surveillance System (AST), Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT), Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS), and Maritime Detection Project. The ASTs are provided by Anduril Industries, the IFTs by Elbit Systems of America [ESLT], and the RVSS by General Dynamics [GD].

Up to three indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts will be awarded. The contracts will have an 18-month base period, and four option periods for a total performance period of up to 14 years.

CBP will conduct a three-phase process for the acquisition, with initial submissions evaluated based on vendor experience, a second phase consisting of evaluations of offerors’ narrated videos and oral presentations, and the final step being the evaluation of technical performance, management, price, past performance, and small business participation.

After Phase 1, CBP will advise vendors whether they should proceed to Phase 2. Phase 1 submissions are due by Dec. 22. Similar directions will be given following the second phase. Awards will be based on best value and will follow the Phase 3 evaluation.

“USBP recognizes that technology, methods and processes evolve over the life of this contract and wants to encourage and promote innovation to meet mission priorities and operational requirements,” the RFP says. “Over time, however, the IST (Integrated Surveillance Tower) program may be used to acquire future systems and enhancements that build on, improve, or supersede legacy programs.”

The IST program is working with CBP’s Common Operating Picture (COP) program to ensure that the surveillance towers and the data they obtain will be interoperable with the command-and-control platform.

The COP program is separate from the IST and CTSE contract, with the IST just one of the customers of the COP effort, which will provide situational awareness for all USBP sensor systems.