By Calvin Biesecker
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is conducting a market survey for its new persistent wide video surveillance capability it plans to deploy as part of a new and layered technology approach to border security in the wake of terminating the electronic fence component of the Secure Border Initiative last month.
The agency this week released a Request for Information (RFI) for the Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) Generation II, which will provide electro-optic and infrared sensor surveillance to enable the detection, tracking, identification and classification of illegal entries into the United States between ports of entry.
CBP already uses RVSS systems on the nation’s northern and southern borders but said a new generation of systems is needed to address "shortfalls in both effectiveness and suitability issues" and deal with obsolescence issues.
The RFI outlines the concepts of operations, mission requirements and operational requirements the agency seeks with the Gen II RVSS. The systems will provide the Border Patrol with day and night full motion imagery to detect and track various items of interest, including adult humans out to ranges of three to seven miles depending on the environment.
The systems will have the capability to support vectoring Border Patrol agents to the immediate vicinity of an item of interest.
The interest in the improved RVSS comes shortly after the Department of Homeland Security canceled the SBInet program, saying it was not meeting expectations and instead would proceed with a different mix of technologies (Defense Daily, Jan. 18). The various technologies include Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT), which would also have electro-optic and infrared cameras as well as radar, RVSS, mobile surveillance systems that are equipped it multiple sensors, unmanned aircraft systems, agent portable surveillance systems, thermal imaging devices, imaging sensors, and unattended ground sensors.
In addition to multiple sensors, each RVSS Gen II will include an operator interface, dedicated data backhaul communications and installation subsystems. The interface will be installed in CBP sector, station and or forward operating base facilities along the northern and southwest borders. Each operator will be responsible for monitoring between one and four surveillance subsystems. A subsystem may include one or more electro-optical and thermal infrared detectors.
Some of the system requirements include being able to provide enough resolution to tell whether an item of interest is a person, conveyance or animal, even to the point of facial features, clothing, colors, license plate numbers, concealed weapons such as handguns and non-concealed weapons such as shotguns and rifles within the field of range.
The systems should also allow operators to track multiple targets and enable tracking as targets move from the field of range from one RVSS to another. In addition, the system should have the capability for an operator to designate a target location using an eye safe illuminator that is visible with night vision goggles.
The remote systems, which will be affixed to towers, buildings and other structures, will be used in urban, suburban, rural, remote and maritime environments and in all terrain types.
As with its plans for the IFTs, CBP plans to use an open systems approach with the RVSS Gen II and does not plan to develop any technologies. The agency says the system should have an open architecture to be able to interface with government systems.
The RFI will aid CBP in developing and acquisition strategy for the Gen II systems. [Sol. No. HSBP0211RRVSS. Respond by March 7. Contact: Samuel Hollander, contract specialist, 571-468-7013, Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org]