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Technology Sectors

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New Border Security Technology Consortium promoting CBP’s use of ‘Other Transaction’ authority

Merv Leavitt
of the BSTC

As one might imagine, a diverse group of companies and organizations can identify any number of innovative technologies that they’d like to offer to CBP. On such a laundry list, Leavitt places reconnaissance and surveillance systems, especially those that can improve affordability; communications equipment, particularly that which can be used in remote areas; and power systems, which can drive a wide variety of gear. He also points to tunnel detection, as a CBP requirement for which small, cash-starved R&D firms may have the best answers.

Biometrics “on-the-fly,” which could enable port of entry personnel to authenticate individual people while they are walking, might benefit from CBP’s utilization of its Other Transaction authority, said Mackness, of MorphoTrak. She specifically cited “face-on-the-fly,” “fingerprint-on-the-fly” and “iris-on-the-fly” as technologies which could make life at the border a lot more efficient.   

Similarly, Casey, of Arc Aspicio, nominated the whole field of mobile computing as one which could take advantage of streamlined contracting procedures. She believes CBP and Border Patrol personnel, who today must rely on their land mobile radios, and perhaps their personal cell phones, would benefit enormously if they could quickly consult information about travelers and specific suspects through state-of-the-art information-sharing systems. “I would love to see the government test some of these concepts quickly and cost-effectively,” she told GSN.   

The Consortium has scheduled an industry workshop in Crystal City, VA, on August 2, 2012.

Leavitt, who has worked with Other Transaction authority many times in the past, acknowledges it is not the perfect solution in each-and-every instance. “This is only one tool for the government,” he said.

Nonetheless, Consortium members expect to receive the government’s twin decisions – on establishing Other Transaction authority and whether it is willing to work specifically with the BSTC -- in a matter of months. “We’re shooting for the end of the summer or early fall,” suggested Freeman, of DRS.

Leavitt thinks it may take a little longer. “We’re hoping to bring it to a conclusion this year, but folks are still considering it,” he explained. “We think it needs to happen this year, or the momentum may be lost.”

 

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