GovCon Wire’s Weekly Roundup: Border Protection Infrastructure & The New Space-Race

Weekly Roundup

April 24 – April 28 2017

A Note From Our President & Founder Jim Garrettson

For months, we’ve all been reading about the proposed wall along our nation’s southern borders, headlines describing the billions of dollars that will be needed to fund such an endeavor, and think-pieces on the pros and cons of building the wall. However, it is important to remember that it’s not just a physical wall that will be built, but also all of the infrastructure that surrounds maintaining and supporting border security.

Architects, construction engineers, security personnel, software and hardware developers, transportation, manufacturers and more are all being considered as part of the check for the border wall, according to CBP Chief Ron Vitiello.

“You will have seen the headlines of billions and billions of dollars” for 1,300 miles of infrastructure along the southwest border, said Vitiello at the Potomac Officers Club’s Border Protection Innovations and Technology Forum on April 26th. Vitiello continued, explaining that it’s important to remember that the cost is not just for “concrete and steel…. It’s expensive not because concrete and steel is expensive, although they are — it’s expensive because we’re going to wrap around all that enforcement infrastructure the ability to identify, classify, and have situational awareness within that enforcement zone.”

What this means, is that there are going to be massive, industry-wide opportunities. The DHS and CBP will require a cornucopia of products and services to fully realize the Trump administration’s goal of securing our nation’s southern border.

The CBP has already issued RFIs (click here to see active CBP RFIs) for multi-modal biometric solutions, handguns, data mining, firing range services, recruitment, field operation academy gear, armored vehicles, tactical headsets, small UAVs, uniforms, detector canines (and veterinary services), and more. Obviously, this sampling of RFIs covers a very wide swath of industry, from technology to textiles to human resources. Many of these RFIs will become formal solicitations, and contracts will eventually be awarded. It goes without saying that these are opportunities that we should all keep a close eye on.

Space Exploration

The Trump administration has trained their sights on the stars, seeking to cement America as the foremost authority on space exploration. Back at the tail-end of March, President Trump signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA. The bill contained many new stipulations, but a common theme amongst them was a distinct focus on Mars.

Elon Musk and Dennis Muilenburg have placed horses in this new space-race, each vowing to beat the other to Mars, and it would appear that the Trump administration is also quite invested in sending manned missions to the Red Planet. On April 24th, President Trump spoke with Peggy Whitson (the commander of the International Space Station, who set a record for most days in space by an American astronaut) to congratulate her, and asked for her estimate on how soon NASA would be able to send a human expedition to Mars.

Whitson agreed with the timeline put forth by the Trump administration’s aforementioned bill, which projected that a manned mission to Mars would occur during the 2030s. In response, President Trump said, “We want to try and do it during my first term.”

But Mars isn’t the only celestial goal that the Trump administration is aiming for. Members of NASA and President Trump’s close circle have confirmed that they have a clear intention of returning to the Moon. At the heart of the Trump administration’s interest in the Moon is a desire to create a “future human settlement”. The creation of a settlement on the Moon would open the door to establishing both lunar and asteroid mining operations, utilization of the billions of tons of frozen water on the Moon for refueling satellites in orbit, and as a forward base of operations for the mission to Mars.

In order to reach President Trump’s goal of sending astronauts to the Moon and Mars, there will need to be considerable cooperation on the part of the private sector. Which means that there will be ample opportunities for companies to participate in these historic endeavors. More is sure to develop and this new space-race will definitely be something to keep close watch of in the coming years.


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