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CBPHow many times does CBP’s Mark Borkowski get to fail?

By Robert Lee Maril

Published 28 September 2015

Once again Mark Borkowski has testified before Congress in recent months, detailing the status of the Arizona Technology Plan, or what he calls the “Plan.” According to Borkowski’s testimony, new border wall surveillance infrastructure and technology are already failing to meet management deadlines; he also acknowledges a highly critical GAO report on the status of his newest border security plan. The Plan is the lynchpin of the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign – previously called the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet). SBInet never worked and fell hopelessly behind schedule, and in 2011 DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pulled the plug on it. SBInet was preceded by other costly border-security technology failure – for example, the Intelligent Computer-Aided Detection system (ICAD11 and ICAD 111), the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), the American Shield Initiative (ASI),the Secure Border Initiative Tactical Initiative (SBI TI), and Project 28. Despite these failures, the CBP has not constructed a reasonable way in which to measure the success or failure of its new $1 billion dollar Plan. How many times does CBP’s Borkowski get to fail?

Once again Mark Borkowski has testified before Congress in recent months, detailing the status of the Arizona Technology Plan, or what he calls the “Plan.” According to Borkowski’s testimony, new border wall surveillance infrastructure and technology are already failing to meet management deadlines; he also acknowledges a highly critical GAO report on the status of his newest border security plan.

Borkowski testified: “the plan… is admittedly behind schedule…” (The Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan and its Impact on Border Security, 12 March 2014).

Yes, it’s behind schedule just like in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Right up to when then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pulled the plug on what the Plan used to be called, the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet). Now there is a new name for SBInet. It’s called the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign, of which the Plan is the lynchpin (Written testimony of CBP Office of Air and Marine Assistant Commissioner Randolph Alles, CBP Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition Assistant Commissioner Borkowski, and CBP Office of Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ron Vitiello for a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for a hearing titled “Security the Border: Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology Force Multipliers, 13 May 2015).

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Also see the following by Robert Lee Maril:

“Violence and corruption scandal at CBP: FBI clean up or cover up? Pt. 6,” HSNW, 17 June 2015
CBP IA Operation Hometown reduces violence and corruption: Tomsheck shuts it down — Pt. 5,” HSNW, 27 April 2015
CBP IA’s SAREX: Tomsheck’s program goes rogue – Pt. 4,” HSNW, 18 February 2015
“Tomsheck’s ‘July Amnesty’: CBP IA loses hundreds of cases alleging criminal activity by CBP Employees — Pt. 3,” HSNW, 12 January 2015
“James F. Tomscheck forced disabled veteran from CBP IA – Pt. 2,” HSNW, 24 November 2014
“Vet alleges supervisors at CBP IA ignored his disability: ‘He Just needed an ounce of compassion’” — Pt. 1,” HSNW, 28 October 2014

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Borkowski, who is now an assistant commissioner at Customs and Border Protection in the Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition, is remarkably well-acquainted with testifying before Congressional committees tasked with providing oversight of security along our Mexican border. From 2006 to 2011 Borkowski served as the Executive Director of SBI-net providing leadership to a project that not only was a dismal failure, but also cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.