Competition Begins for Border Wall Work
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency released initial details for the design and build of several prototype wall structures that conceivably would provide the foundations for moving forward with the eventual completed effort. In a recent notice posted to FedBizOpps.gov DHS said the prototypes structures were to be built in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico. (GovWinIQ subscribers may keep up-to-date on all the details by tagging Opportunity ID 151478 in the GovWinIQ database.)
On January 25, President Trump issued Executive Order No. 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, with the purpose, in part, to "...secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism."
DHS released a Fact Sheet on the Executive Order days before issuing the solicitation outlining the actions they were to going to take under their Constitutional authorities, noting that they “will immediately identify and allocate all sources of available funding for the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of a wall, including the attendant lighting, technology (including sensors), as well as patrol and access roads, and develop requirements for total ownership cost of this project.”
The president made reference to plans to build such a wall in his first joint address to Congress when he said, “We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders. For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border.”
Competition Approach and Cost
According to the announcement, a solicitation release is expected on or about March 6, 2017 and the procurement will be conducted in two phases.
- Phase 1 – Vendors are required to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) with capability statements by March 10, 2017. These concept papers will then be evaluated and a down-select of offerors will be made by March 20.
- Phase 2 – Vendors remaining after the phase 1 down-select will be required to submit proposals in response to the full Request for Proposal (RFP) by March 24, 2017, including price.
Multiple contract awards are anticipated by mid-April 2017 for this effort and an option for additional miles of structure may be included in each contract award.
While there is not yet a firm value associated with the immediate prototype competition, the overall cost of building the finished wall with all its elements was set at about $21.6 billion and would take three years to finish over three phases, according to an internal DHS assessment cited by Reuters.
While a huge portion of any forthcoming border wall and/or fence construction will mean business for select architecture, engineering, and construction companies, there could also be plenty of technology-related opportunities included in the overall effort. DHS has noted the need for supporting technology, including sensors. Updated remote video surveillance systems may be more widely used as well. All of this will drive some additional data analytics and storage demands as well as effective communications and front-line border agent support technologies. Further, once complete and operational the entire set-up will require ongoing infrastructure maintenance and operational support going forward.
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