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CBP moves forward with solicitation for mobile video surveillance systems

Mobile Video
Surveillance System

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a formal solicitation calling for the purchase of a minimum of two Mobile Video Surveillance Systems -- and perhaps hundreds more -- which are a suite of video and other sensors mounted on a Ford 150 4x4 truck and can be used by Border Patrol agents during the day or night.

“They will also be deployed to augment fixed surveillance systems that have line-of-sight (LoS) coverage gaps caused by existing infrastructure, terrain (e.g., ravines or washes), or vegetation,” explains the CBP’s solicitation, which was published on April 30 and calls for vendor responses by June 4.

The document indicates that this contract will be awarded on a “total small business” set-aside basis.

Telephonics Corp., a large company which is already a supplier of sensor suites to CBP on the Mobile Surveillance Capability (MSC) and other surveillance programs, could not compete for the role of prime contractor in a small business set-aside situation, but hopes to supply its equipment to a small business prime contractor, Bobby Brown, the company's vice president of integrated surveillance systems, told Government Security News.

"I'm glad to see this solicitation come out," Brown added. "This is essentially a re-branding of the 'scope trucks' the Border Patrol has bought in the past."

The Mobile Video Surveillance System (MVSS) is intended to add great flexibility to the day-to-day operations of the Border Patrol. The solicitation identifies the following “system objectives” for the MVSS program:

  • “MVSS enables the operator to quickly deploy/redeploy the surveillance system, according to intelligence, shifts in illegal traffic, and daily operational needs.”
  • The system must be “ruggedized” and capable of withstanding off-road transport.
  • MVSS should enable the operator to determine whether an “Item of Interest” (IoI) is a human, an animal or a conveyance.
  • The system should allow for near real-time replay and video analysis, as well as post-event data analysis and sharing.
  • The MVSS should be able to covertly illuminate items of interest so Border Patrol agents wearing night vision goggles can see them.

As described in the solicitation, the MVSS will be composed of two major components -- the “prime mission equipment,” which will be provided in part by the selected small business vendor and in part by the government (which will furnish the vehicle and the land mobile radio); and the “vehicle installation kit,” which will consist of the mounting hardware, electrical components and instructions.

Brown told GSN that he considers that two other surveillance programs -- the Mobile Surveillance Capability and the Integrated Fixed Towers -- play primary roles in the "over-arching plan for the country," while the newly-named Mobile Video Surveillance System is a Tier 2 or Tier 3 system within that overall scheme. 

The solicitation document says the “minimum order” will be for two sets of prime mission equipment and two sets of vehicle installation kits suitable for two Ford F-150 4x4 trucks. However, the same document calls for proposed pricing for a wide range of additional systems, such that the ultimate procurement could grow into the hundreds.

A small business set-aside vendor, acting as a prime contractor, would need to contribute at least 51 percent of the overall value of the contract, Brown told GSN.

“Each system will require one [Border Patrol] agent for operation of the system and one or more agent(s) to respond to any detected traffic,” explained the solicitation document.

Further information is available from Nicole Hubby, of the CBP, at [email protected].


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