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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

US Homeland Security to increase surveillance along Arizona-Mexico border

(6 March 2014)

The United States Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $145 million contract to the Texas-based subsidiary of Israeli defence firm Elbit to construct a series of surveillance towers along Arizona’s 2,000 mile long border with Mexico. The Integrated Fixed Tower Project (IFT) will erect a series of security posts that will be equipped with radars and cameras to detect, track, identify and classify any suspicious activity along Arizona’s southern border fence. 

Arizona Senator John McCain commented, “Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our southern border. After many months of delay, the awarding of this contract to Elbit Systems of America is an important development toward fully securing the border in Arizona. If this technology is developed, integrated and fielded correctly, these Integrated Fixed Towers in southern Arizona, coupled with the tremendous work of the Border Patrol, will give our agents the ability to detect, evaluate and respond to all illegal entries crossing the border”. He continues, “The American people have long expected us to secure our borders. The awarding of this contract is a step in the right direction”.

The United States Defense News website stated, “The IFT program is an ambitious attempt to install a series of surveillance towers along the US/Mexico border. The idea is to deploy a series of networked, integrated fixed towers equipped with radar and cameras that will be able to detect a single, walking, average-sized adult at a range of 5 miles (8km) to 7.5 miles (12km) during day or night, while sending close real-time video footage back to agents manning a command post”. 

In 2011 a previous programme called the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) was cancelled after the technology failed to to meet performance expectations, despite a cost of approximately $1 billion over six years. With IFT, Senator McCain vowed to “make certain we do not have another mistake like the SBInet project that set back for years the deployment of needed technology”.

Sources

“Homeland Security awards $145 million contract for US-Mexico border towers”, Fox News Latino, 1st March 2014. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/03/01/homeland-security-awards-145-million-contract-for-us-mexico-border-towers/.

“Elbit to build surveillance towers on Arizona’s border with Mexico”, Yaakov Lappin, The Jerusalem Post, 2nd March 2014. http://www.jpost.com/International/Elbit-to-build-surveillance-towers-on-Arizonas-border-with-Mexico-344005.