General Dynamics (GD) announced today it successfully upgraded surveillance and response capabilities for Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border with its initial field deployment and test of the Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) upgrade for Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“This test demonstrated many technical capabilities of the RVSS system and is a key program milestone in its deployment schedule,” GD said, noting that, “Border Patrol agents are currently operating the RVSS in Nogales, Arizona and CBP has also initiated deployments in both Naco and Douglas, Arizona.”
“The Remote Video Surveillance System is a critical element of our overall plan to secure the border, increase our mission effectiveness and protect our agents,” said Mark Borkowski, assistant commissioner and chief acquisition executive of CBP’s Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition.
“The General Dynamics team has done a great job honoring its commitments and we are excited to have achieved an initial operating capability in our first area of responsibility [and] we look forward to continuing this strong relationship, and to completing the rest of our Arizona deployments over the next year,” Borkowski said.
In May, 2013, when CBP first confirmed to Homeland Security Today the “down selects” for both the RVSS and Integrated Fixed Tower contracts, a CBP spokesperson said, "We have made the competitive range determinations for both RVSS and IFTs. Bidders selected in the competitive range will continue through the remaining steps of the source selection and contracting process.”
A source familiar with the programs told Homeland Security Today at the time that "the RVSS winner better do a good job on the RVSS required five tower test, an RVSS required post-selection requirement," explaining Borkowski “has pretty much told [the bidding companies], ‘you’ve all submitted great proposals about what you can do, now prove it!’”
Located on elevated fixed towers and building structures, the RVSS advanced wide-area electro-optical and infrared multi-sensor camera system provides Border Patrol agents with persistent ground-surveillance and real-time video analytics to effectively detect, track, identify, classify and respond to missions along the nation’s borders.
To date, GD has deployed a new command-and-control system and installed upgraded RVSS camera suites on five new and 12 legacy tower sites supporting the Nogales Border Patrol Station. During the test, the system was used to assist field agents in real-world missions.
“This upgraded RVSS deployment significantly enhances Border Patrol agents’ ability to protect the southern border from illegal activity," said Edward Hudson, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Information Technology’s Advanced Technology Solutions sector. “The RVSS upgrade increases the Border Patrol’s situational awareness and improves efficiency and officer safety.”
In July 2013, CBP awarded General Dynamics One Source the contract to upgrade RVSS along the southern border. The contract has a potential value of approximately $103 million over 10 years if all options are exercised. General Dynamics One Source is comprised of General Dynamics Information Technology and General Dynamics Mission Systems.
At the March, 2011 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Borkowski stated in joint testimony with Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher and CBP Office of Air and Marine Assistant Commissioner Michael Kostelnik, that, “The new border security technology plan will utilize existing, proven technology tailored to the distinct terrain and population density of each border region, including commercially available Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSSs), Unmanned Aircraft Systems, thermal imaging devices and tower-based Remote Video Surveillance System. Where appropriate, this technology plan will also include elements of the former SBInet program that have proven successful, such as stationary radar and infrared and optical sensor towers.”
“This new technology plan will provide better coverage of the border, a more effective balance between cost and capability tailored to each area of the border, faster deployment of technology, more continuous and extensive surveillance of the Southwest border and better linkage between operations and technology,” they explained, adding, “Through investments in portable technology, the new plan provides flexible capabilities that will enable the Border Patrol to move and adapt to evolving threats.”