Homeland Security


"
I will build a great, great wall
on our southern border, and
I will make Mexico pay for that wall.
Mark my words."

Donald Trump

Great Wall of Mexico
US-Mexico Border Fence /

Secure Fence

The U.S. House of Representatives closed its summer session 28 July 2017 with a key legislative accomplishment that included a gift for President Donald Trump. House Republicans included a $1.6 billion request to build part of Trumps promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in a “mini-bus" package of bills. “We must be vigilant in protecting our homeland. That’s our priority. This legislation funds the most critical functions of government. It secures our borders by providing funding for a wall on our southern border," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement hailing the passage of border wall funding.

The project is months behind schedule. CBP officials said the winners will be announced in November 2017.

Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One 13 July 2017 that his previous remark about placing solar panels on his proposed border wall with Mexico was no joke. "We have major companies looking at that," Trump said. "Look, there's no better place for solar than the Mexico border — the Southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good." Because of the presence of natural barriers, Trump said, the solar wall would need to span only 700 to 900 miles (1,127 to 1,448 kilometers) to be effective in halting illegal migration.

Trump told reporters on Air Force One that only 700 to 900 miles of wall may be needed. About 650 miles of the 2,000-mile long border already has some type of physical barrier. The remaining miles will be guarded by topography, the president said. “You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing," he said. He also opined that the wall should be see-through, ie, a fence, not a wall. Border patrol agents needed to be able to spot threats on the other side and avoid any “large sacks of drugs" thrown over the top.

Executive Order 13767 directed the Government to build a border wall with Mexico. The entire U.S.-Mexico border covers 3,200 kilometers, over a variety of terrain, from California, through Arizona and New Mexico and ending in southern Texas. More than 1,100 kilometers of that stretch already is fenced, but nowhere is the barrier as massive as the wall described in the new plan.

On March 17, 2017 the US Customs and Border Protection released two Requests for Proposal to award multiple contracts and initial task orders for the design and construction of wall prototypes. The Presidential Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, states that “the 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."

The US government planned to start awarding preliminary contracts by April 2017 for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, to fulfill one of President Donald Trump’s principal campaign promises. US Customs and Border Protection said it will accept "concept papers" for the wall’s design and choose the best ones by 20 March 2017. The agency will then ask vendors for construction cost estimates and, after reviewing their bids, begin granting contracts by mid-April — a remarkably quick schedule for a government construction project.

Trump said the wall will cost $12 billion, while Republican leaders in Congress have pegged its cost 20 percent higher than that. An internal Homeland Security report forecast the total cost could be as much as $21.6 billion.

CBP issued two RFPs to acquire multiple conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes. Prototyping is an industry-tested approaches to identify the best solution 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 border wall before making a more substantial investment in construction.

The prototypes will inform future design standard(s) which will likely continue to evolve to meet USBP’s requirements. Any and all prototypes will be designed to deter illegal entry into the United States. Through the prototyping process, CBP may identify new designs or influences for new designs that will expand the current border barrier toolkit that CBP will use to construct a border wall system.

Customs and Border Protection said it intends to award multiple contracts based on responses to its request statement, but noted the aggregate awards would not surpass $300 million. The agency previously called for would-be bidders to submit concept designs by March 10, but it was not clear whether any were submitted.

Section 835 of the Homeland Security Act, 6 U.S.C. 395, prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from entering into any contract with a foreign incorporated entity which is treated as an inverted domestic corporation as defined in this clause, or with any subsidiary of such an entity. The Secretary shall waive the prohibition with respect to any specific contract if the Secretary determines that the waiver is required in the interest of national security.

The Government will evaluate the extent to which the offeror has demonstrated a clear understanding of the environment where the border wall will be deployed. “Environment" is intended to be a broad term. It includes not just elements like the geography and location, but also the nature of the law enforcement mission near the border. The Government will evaluate the rigor and reliability of the offeror’s approach to demonstrate compliance with design requirements. The Government will also assess the soundness, effectiveness, completeness, and extent to which the offeror’s 60% prototype design and construction approach accommodates and adjusts based on the environment, and how construction of a wall impacts on a wide range of considerations. Those considerations include, but are not limited to, terrain, geology, hydrology, wildlife, environmental preservation, weather, human activity, and aesthetic treatment of US facing exterior wall.

Awards will be made in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.101-1 Best Value Trade-Off Process. Award(s) will be made to the offerors whose proposal the Source Selection Authority (SSA) determines conform to the solicitation, is fair and reasonable with regard to pricing for the prototype projects, and whose proposal offers the best overall value to the Government when considering price and non-price factors.

After the Government completes its Phase I evaluation, the Government will perform a down-select of Phase I concept papers/qualifications and request Phase II submissions from only those Offerors who are deemed to be most highly qualified. The Government intends to invite up to twenty (20) Offerors from among those who submitted Phase I papers/qualifications into the Phase II proposal and evaluation process. This means that every Offeror who submits a Phase I concept paper/qualifications would not be able to participate in Phase II. Only the Offerors with the most highly rated Phase I concept papers/qualifications will be included in the down-select and will be notified accordingly.

Threshold Requirements
  1. The wall design shall be reinforced concrete.
  2. The wall design shall be physically imposing in height. The Government’s nominal concept is for a 30-foot high wall. Offerors should consider this height, but designs with heights of at least 18 feet may be acceptable. Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable.
  3. It shall not be possible for a human to climb to the top of the wall or access the top of the wall from either side unassisted (e.g. via the use of a ladder, etc.)
  4. The wall design shall include anti-climb topping features that prevent scaling using common and more sophisticated climbing aids (e.g. grappling hooks, handholds, etc.)
  5. The wall shall prevent digging or tunneling below it for a minimum of 6 feet below the lowest adjacent grade.
  6. The wall shall prevent/deter for a minimum of 1 hour the creation a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12-inches in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.
  7. The north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment. The manufacturing/construction process should facilitate changes in color and texture pursuant to site specific requirements.
  8. The wall design shall be able to accommodate surface drainage.
  9. The wall design shall be able to accommodate Border Patrol approved design standards for pedestrian and automated mechanized vehicle sliding gates (25 feet and 50 feet).
  10. The wall design shall be constructible to slopes up to 45 percent.
  11. The wall fittings and fixtures shall be secured on the north side of the wall to shield from external attack.
  12. The wall design should be cost effective to construct, maintain and repair.

Concrete Wall

The estimated price range for the solid concrete wall prototype is between $200,000 and $500,000. l. In accordance with 41 U.S.C. 1907, the component test of the Buy American statute is waived for construction material that is a COTS item. Alternate Proposals will not be accepted in response to this solicitation. The Government defines similar projects as projects which address border/perimeter security or constructed fortification for challenging (e.g. steep slopes up to 45 degrees) environmental and operational constraints that are at minimum $25 million dollars in size. Prototypes constructed in response to this solicitation must offer designs that are a reinforced concrete structure with solid facings.

Objective Requirements

  1. It is operationally advantageous that the design of first 12 feet of wall height (as measured from the highest adjacent grade) be adaptable to prevent/deter for a period of time greater than 1 hour 30 minutes up to 4+ hours the creation of a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12-inches in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.

The Contractor shall design and construct a 10 ft. by 10 ft. mock-up of an exemplar section of its prototype at a location in San Diego, CA as determined by the Government. The mock-up shall replicate the structural design of the prototype’s first 10 ft. of above ground wall height (measured from the adjacent ground) and length to allow the Government to test and evaluate the anti-destruct characteristics of the bidder’s wall design. The mock-up shall meet all technical requirements except the anti-dig, anti-climb, and aesthetics. The anti-dig and anti-climb characteristics will not be tested with the mock-up. The Contractor shall provide for the design and construction of a full-scale prototype. The prototype wall shall be 30 feet long and meet all of the border wall requirements specified herein (with the exception of the drainage, steep slope and gate requirements). Prototypes constructed under this task order must offer designs that are a reinforced concrete structure with solid facings. The prototype will be constructed at a location in San Diego, CA as determined by the Government.

Other Border Wall

The estimated price range for the “Other Border Wall Prototype" is between $200,000 and $500,000. The Government will evaluate the extent to which the offeror has demonstrated a clear understanding of the environment where the border wall will be deployed. “Environment" is intended to be a broad term. It includes not just elements like the geography and location, but also the nature of the law enforcement mission near the border. The Government will evaluate the rigor and reliability of the offeror’s approach to demonstrate compliance with design requirements.

Objective Requirements
  1. Incorporating a see-through component/capability to the wall that facilitates situational awareness but does not negate the threshold requirements is operationally advantageous.
  2. It is operationally advantageous that the design of first 12 feet of wall height (as measured from the highest adjacent grade) be adaptable to prevent/deter for a period of time greater than 30 minutes up to 4+ hours the creation of a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12-inches in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, propane or butane or other similar hand-held tools.

The Contractor shall provide for the design and construction of a full-scale prototype. The prototype wall shall be 30 feet long and meet all of the border wall requirements specified herein (with the exception of the drainage, steep slope and gate requirements). Prototypes constructed under this task order must offer designs that are alternatives to reinforced solid concrete walls (i.e. no solid concrete external faces). Alternatives may include, but are not limited to, designs that have differing materials or may not be entirely solid. The prototype will be constructed at a location in San Diego, CA as determined by the Government.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list