DHS IG finds confusing supervision of ISIS program

Published 19 December 2005

DHS IG says that more than $400 million has been invested in Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System to date, without much to show for it

Richard Skinner, DHS inspector general says DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had a “confused” oversight mechanism over a border surveillance contract which led to an overpriced, ineffective system. The IG report reviewed the contracting process which created the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), which has received $429 million in funding since 1997. Skinner estimated that the system provides coverage of only about 5 percent of U.S. borders. He also said that 168 of the remote surveillance camera sites are incomplete. Thirty-eight other sites — primarily repeater towers, which retransmit signals — are incomplete as well.

The program’s procurement began in 1998 at the Department of Justice, which entered into an agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA), in which GSA was responsible for providing the contracting officer for system purchases. In turn, GSA awarded a blanket purchase contract, worth $200 million, to Norwalk, Connecticut-based International Microwave. International Microwave then entered into what the IG calls a “unique teaming alliance”, with five other technology companies to purchase equipment. The result: “more than $37 million in DHS funds remaining in General Services Administration (GSA) accounts; delays in installing, testing and bringing online [remote video surveillance] sites that are operational and 168 incomplete RVS camera sites,” according to the IG report.

-read more in Patrick Yoest’s CQ report (sub. req.)