Past Features

June 30, 2017

DHS Testing Integrated Fixed Towers

Top: Integrated Fixed Tower (designated T1 by ABP)
Bottom: Drone view of T2 - Photo and drone video taken 6/29/ 17 by Glenn Spencer
Glenn Spencer -- June 30, 2017
Can they see more than DSRKN?
    Since I first learned of the plan to build eight Integrated Fixed Towers in and near the Coronado National Forest, I began to question their utility.
    It seemed that their radar controlled cameras may have real difficulty seeing into deep arroyos and washes filled with oak trees that surrounded them.
    As I reported yesterday, a very recent DHS IG report included this:
In March 2014, GAO reported that CBP's Test and Evaluation Master Plan12 only described testing to determine the Integrated Fixed Tower's 13 mission contribution but did not include testing operational effectiveness and suitability, which specifically identifies how effective and reliable a system is in meeting its operational requirements in its intended environment.
    Yesterday I visited the site of two of the Integrated Fixed Towers, T1 and T2, and observed what appeared to be testing going on.
    At the site of what I call T1, the camera was pointed toward the ground (see top photo above). As I turned to leave, I saw what it was pointing at --- small canvas tent holding a person and what appeared to be optical calibration graphics --- sort of like eye charts.
    I am encouraged that DHS is demanding real world testing of these camera towers. I hope they test more than the ability to read DSRKN.
    How about people in the deep washes?