Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) received word that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed protests which had delayed our ability to award contracts for the wall prototypes in San Diego. This means that we are now able to award contracts as soon as we are ready. We therefore expect to make awards soon.
Since day one, CBP has been working to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13767 - also known as Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements – and former DHS Secretary Kelly’s directive to “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.” This efforts include the construction of new infrastructure, the replacement of current border infrastructure with new and more effective systems, and the hiring of new agents and officers into the CBP ranks.
An important component includes the development of border wall prototypes. Earlier this year two requests for proposal (RFP) were issued. One RFP is for a reinforced concrete wall design. The other is for alternatives to concrete wall. After review of several hundred submissions, the pool was reduced to fewer than 20 potential bidders.
The GAO has now dismissed pending protests that would have delayed our ability to award contracts for the prototypes until this Fall. Before the protests were filed, CBP had anticipated contract awards this summer. With the protest dismissal, and because CBP has continued to conduct contract source selection activities even despite the protests, CBP now expects to make prototype awards within the next weeks. We note that, with the award of contracts, unsuccessful bidders will have new opportunities to file protests, which could further delay construction. However we are confident in our processes, and we will proceed deliberately, to ensure compliance with the law.
The prototypes themselves will be built and evaluated in order to help us create a “design standard” for operational walls. The new designs would be added to our menu of existing designs, and allow us to tailor a specific wall design to the unique demands of individual areas of the border.
CBP anticipates constructing 4-8 prototypes in the San Diego Sector Area of Responsibility because of site accessibility to construct and the ability to evaluate wall as part of a larger, existing border infrastructure system; as well as because of the operational importance of the border area in San Diego.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.