Monday, February 25, 2008

Virtual troubles:
Homeland Security Dept. officials have decided that an experimental 28-mile "virtual fence" meant to extend the U.S. Border Patrol's eyes and ears along the U.S.-Mexico border—a web of radar, infrared cameras, ground sensors, and airborne drones—won't be copied anywhere else in its entirety. The project was plagued with design, software, and other glitches; had fallen months behind schedule; and sometimes proved inoperable.

The government agreed to pay Boeing almost the full $20 million for successful completion of the prototype endeavor just south of Tucson, known as Project 28. But in choosing not to expand the project, Homeland Security officials are dashing expectations and causing embarrassment from Capitol Hill to the campaign trail.

Even Real Clear Politics is proclaiming the death of the "virtual fence." Obama, Clinton, and McCain have all been touting the value of a virtual fence in place (at times) of a physical one; will this disappointment cause them to change their policies?