[Image: Melina Mara took this photograph for The Washington Post on assignment covering the U.S. Border Patrol along the Mexican Border. It's haunting. Traces of a patrol; surveillance ghosts imprinted in the sand; fresh fence posts looming in the background; signs of a nomadic fortress slinking into place.]
From this Narcosphere dispatch comes some details of a 'sources-sought notice' filed on the Federal Opportunities Business website. The Army Corps of Engineers (under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security) are conducting a "market survey" of prospective contractors who will best be able to meet the demands of a $368 million "tactical infrastructure" development project that is being implemented along both the northern and southern U.S. borders. But as Narcosphere points out, most of that will be emphasized south along the Mexican border.
[Image: A diagram of mobile systems communications as deployed along the U.S./Mexico border. This image can be found in the Joint Testimony of Deborah J. Spero and GregroY Giddens before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, November 15, 2006.]
"Tactical infrastructure" is what Michael Chertoff (the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security) referred to in this hearing as "lighting, fencing, vehicle barriers, other kinds of physical impediments to illegal migrants." The FedBizOpps notice mentions contracting work for "Customs and Border Protection-related roads, low-water crossings, temporary and permanent vehicle barriers, pedestrian barriers, stadium lighting, fencing, and bridges."
And apparently they want this work done fast - like, really fast. The window for contractors to bid was less than two weeks and is already closed. Part of the fine print mentioned contractors must be capable of making equipment deliveries on short notice to remote locations:
"The time between notification of items to be delivered and the required delivery date can range from twenty-four (24) hours notice to two (2) weeks notice. Large deliveries may be staggered to accommodate mission requirements. Typical orders run from $500 thousand to one (1) million dollars and consist of numerous different items."
So, with that, the folks over at Homeland Security Watch dug through the testimony made at the Secure Border Initiative hearing by DHS officials Greg Giddens and Deborah Spero, and found a chart depicting a 'Border Calculus.'
[Click Image to Enlarge] A 'Border Calculus' conceptualizing the effectiveness of different border defense deployments in given geographic ranges. This image can be found in the Joint Testimony of Deborah J. Spero and GregroY Giddens before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, November 15, 2006.]
Homeland Security Watch describes this illustration as providing "a framework for deciding what types of resources (e.g. physical infrastructure, technology, border officers) are needed at a particular point along the border, given existing resources, current flows of people, and the geographical realities in that area. The leadership of DHS has talked in the last year about how it is using this type of dynamic model to simulate activity along the border and accordingly make investment decisions."
Piece by piece, place by place, this flexible global wall courses along the thresholds of migration, roving and deploying, tracking and cinching the landscape like some flexible architectonic tsunami collpasing in slow motion on the borderzones of the world. And The Nomadic Fortress continues. [pt 1 & 2]