Contractors have completed concrete and steel prototype wall assemblies for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a San Diego plot along the U.S.-Mexico border. CBP staff is scheduled to conclude by year’s end testing and evaluation of the finished structures to determine which wall design elements meet the agency’s needs for large scale installations. Officials are especially keen on the prototype structures’ anti-breaching, -climbing and -digging capabilities; impedance and denial of traffic; and, degree of safety for border patrol agents.
“Border security contributes to our overall national security and relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, personnel, and partnerships,” says acting CBP Deputy Commissioner Ron Vitiello. “Border walls have proven to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal migration of people and drugs over the years. Specifically, walls are part of a border enforcement zone, which includes patrol roads, lights and surveillance technology. These border enforcement zones give our men and women of CBP the best possible conditions to maintain a safe and secure border.”
CBP is using an integrated test and evaluation (T&E) approach for measuring the Border Wall’s contribution to the desired Impedance and Denial Capability. Developmental/technical T&E planning and execution are being conducted by Office of Acquisition, Systems Engineering Division, Systems Analysis and Evaluation Branch, while operational/mission T&E planning and execution are being conducted by Operations Support, Capabilities and Requirements Division, Land Systems Operational Test Authority. Together they will plan and execute T&E for the vendor-provided mockup and prototype designs.
The six companies that built the eight border wall prototypes in San Diego are Caddell Construction Co. (DE), LLC, Montgomery, Ala.; Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, Ariz.; Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston; W.G. Yates & Sons Construction, Philadelphia, Miss.; KWR Construction, Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and, ELTA North America Inc., Annapolis Junction, Md.
The January 2017 Presidential Executive Order, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” states that “the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary shall take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”
In March, CBP issued two Requests for Proposals to acquire conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes. One RFP called for Concrete Wall design, a second one for Other than Concrete wall design. The agency acknowledges prototyping as an industry-tested approach to identify additional solutions when considering a new product or methodology. Through the construction of prototypes, CBP will partner with industry to identify the best means and methods to construct a border wall.
The prototypes will inform future design standards that will likely continue to evolve to meet the U.S. Border Patrol’s requirements. Through the prototyping process, CBP may identify new designs or related influences expanding the current border barrier toolkit that CBP could use to construct a border wall system.