We can make money from Mexicans
Seeking to Control Borders, Bush Turns to Big Military Contractors
By ERIC LIPTON
Published: May 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, May 17 — The quick fix may involve sending in the National Guard. But to really patch up the broken border, President Bush is preparing to turn to a familiar administration partner: the nation's giant military contractors.
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, three of the largest, are among the companies that said they would submit bids within two weeks for a multibillion-dollar federal contract to build what the administration calls a "virtual fence" along the nation's land borders.
Using some of the same high-priced, high-tech tools these companies have already put to work in Iraq and Afghanistan — like unmanned aerial vehicles, ground surveillance satellites and motion-detection video equipment — the military contractors are zeroing in on the rivers, deserts, mountains and settled areas that separate Mexico and Canada from the United States.
It is a humbling acknowledgment that despite more than a decade of initiatives with macho-sounding names, like Operation Hold the Line in El Paso or Operation Gate Keeper in San Diego, the federal government has repeatedly failed on its own to gain control of the land borders.
Through its Secure Border Initiative, the Bush administration intends to not simply buy an amalgam of high-tech equipment to help it patrol the borders — a tactic it has also already tried, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, with extremely limited success. It is also asking the contractors to devise and build a whole new border strategy that ties together the personnel, technology and physical barriers.
"This is an unusual invitation," the deputy secretary of homeland security, Michael Jackson, told contractors this year at an industry briefing, just before the bidding period for this new contract started. "We're asking you to come back and tell us how to do our business."
The effort comes as the Senate voted Wednesday to add hundreds of miles of fencing along the border with Mexico. The measure would also prohibit illegal immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors from any chance at citizenship.
The high-tech plan being bid now has many skeptics, who say they have heard a similar refrain from the government before.
"We've been presented with expensive proposals for elaborate border technology that eventually have proven to be ineffective and wasteful," Representative Harold Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, said at a hearing on the Secure Border Initiative program last month. "How is the S.B.I. not just another three-letter acronym for failure?"
Rep.Rogers,is probably upset he can't direct this money to his district like the ID fiasco.
We bring the McNamara Line to the desert.
Oh yeah, don't expect the Mexicans to play nice while we build the Tijuana Wall
posted by Steve @ 8:03:00 AM