Washington (AP) - Technology to replace a now defunct virtual fence project at the Mexican border likely won't be fully in place for at least another decade, maybe longer, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Richard Stana, director of homeland security and justice issues at the GAO, said Tuesday that the mix of cameras, radar and other sophisticated technology will first be deployed to the border in
Stana, who testified Tuesday before a House subcommittee on border and maritime security, said the security project would next expand to
The new technology plan replaces a virtual fence project that cost nearly $1 billion before the Obama administration scrapped it earlier this year after repeated delays and glitches. It will be added to stationary cameras, underground sensors and other security infrastructure already in place.
Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, balked at the idea that the high tech gear, which he said is already available to the military, would take more than a decade to be deployed.
"You are talking 10 to 15 years. It took us a decade to put a man on the moon," McCaul said. "I don't understand why it takes so long. You have a crisis going on down there. Everyone knows it. We know how dangerous it is in
Mark Borkowski, Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner for technology innovation and acquisition, said the new equipment could be bought more quickly if Congress allocated the money - the
"The question is where do we put the first ones and why do we put them there," Borkowski said.
He said Homeland Security officials are putting the new equipment in
After the morning hearing, Borkowski said he had not previously heard the GAO time line, but conceded that the technology deployment is a multi-year plan. And future budgets will have a big influence on how much gear is bought and when it is deployed.
The virtual fence, which was officially abandoned in January, was initiated in 2005 and was originally expected to be fully in place by this year. Instead, only about 53 miles of operational "virtual fence" was put in place in