October 5, 2017
FCW -- October 4, 2017
Border tech bill clears Senate committee
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved a bill that would require "major" border technology acquisition programs at the Department of Homeland Security to have set cost, scheduling and performance targets, and have those limits approved by top managers before they proceed.
The Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2017 was co-sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). The legislation is aimed at keeping expensive border technology programs that will total over $300 million from appearing on "high risk" lists for waste fraud and abuse.
Along with baseline costs, scheduling and performance requirements, every border acquisition program would also require the DHS undersecretary for management to coordinate with the CBP commissioner to insure those requirements are met.
The two senior officials also would have to submit a plan to Congress outlining testing, and evaluation of the technologies.
"New technologies such as video and radar surveillance are critical to securing our borders," McCain said in a statement. "However, widespread mismanagement and a lack of accountability within our federal bureaucracy have prevented us from using these technologies to stop illegal immigration, put an end to human trafficking, and reduce crime in communities in Arizona and across the Southwest."
Glenn Spencer -- October 5, 2017
According to news reports, John McCain's bill to better manage border security technology programs under Customs and Border Protection is moving to the full Senate for action. Actually, McCain introduced this bill on January 12, 2017, shortly before Donald Trump was inaugurated, and also shortly before construction actually started on $150 million in Integrated Fixed Towers in the Coronado National Forest.
According to the reports, "Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives," --- although I have yet to find that legislation.
It is not unreasonable to assume that these actions by Sen. McCain and Rep. McSally are somehow connected to on-going testing of the Integrated Fixed Towers.
If the IFT system is found to have failed to meet operational requirements of the CBP, then the widespread mismanagement of which McCain speaks goes far beyond Customs and Border Protection --- reaching into Congress itself.