President Trump’s “Border Wall” Cost Dispute Analysis

On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (see Appendix A) that calls for the construction of a wall along the U.S. southern border to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

The executive order includes the following action: “Produce a comprehensive study of the security of the southern border, to be completed within 180 days of this order, […] to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border.”

During the election campaign, Trump quantified that the cost of the wall will hover at $8-12 billion. However, politicians and engineers challenged that figure as entirely unrealistic, not even covering the minimum predictable costs.

According to a paper published in MIT Technology Review, a 1,640 km steel-reinforced concrete wall should cost $40 billion. According to the wall expert Mr. Todd Sternfeld, the cost of the wall could exceed $26 billion. The Bernstein Research group has estimated that the cost the new wall could be between $15 and $25 billion.

During the election campaign, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell estimated that the border wall would cost $15 billion.

In 2009, the CRS (Congressional Research Service) concluded that the cost of ownership of a 1,610 km double-layer fencing ranges from $16.3 to $69.5 billion over a period of 25 years, depending on the wall-fence specifications.

Figure 1 – U.S.-Mexico Border Fences and Other Structures – January 2017

 

On February 9, 2017 Reuters (Ms. Julia E. Ainsley) published some details concerning a preliminary DHS internal document to be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which prepare President Trump’s 2018 Federal Budget Request to congress. The document states that:

“President Donald Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct. With 1,046 km of the border already fortified, the new construction would extend almost the length of the entire border. The plan lays out what it would take to seal the border in three phases of construction of fences and walls covering just over 2,000 km by the end of 2020”.

The purpose of this analysis is to make the public aware of the conflicting cost estimates, by using the expertise of Homeland Security Research Corp. (HSRC) engineers gained from past border wall-fence consulting projects.

  • A careful analysis of the Executive Order Section 3 Clause (e) definition of a “Wall” reveals that it allows the use of any “similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier,” which would cost about 10% of the value of a concrete wall.
  • The Executive Order wording allows the administration to limit the length of the new wall-barrier to 1,610 km. Furthermore, the order does not specify the electronic sensors and other security infrastructure to be installed along the new “wall.”

As the cost of the Wall “is in the details” (e.g., design specifications), HSRC engineers analyzed 4 wall-barrier design alternatives, ranging between:

  • A maximum-cost concrete wall with multilayered security, 3,145km-long and 40ft-high, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, at a cost of $34.2 billion*.
  • A minimum cost “photo op wall”: a multilayered electronic security barrier, consisting of a 40km-long and 40ft-high concrete wall, as well as a 1,560km-long and 24ft-high fence, at a total cost of $6.2 billion.

Figure 2 – Cost of 4 Southern Borders [$M] – HSRC’s Design Alternatives

 

The full report can be downloaded at: http://homelandsecurityresearch.com/president-trumps-proposed-border-wall-cost-dispute-analysis

 

$23B 2022 Natural Disasters Preparation & Response Equipment Market

Annual number of catastrophic floods and storms grew from 1970 to 2010 by more than 450%
According to recent reports (e.g., the UN, OECD, OFDA/CRED) the annual number of climate-related catastrophic hazards grew by more than 450% since 1970. Since 2010, more than 700 natural disasters have been registered worldwide, affecting more than 450 million people.

Source: The OFDA/CRED International Disasters Database (EM-DAT)
Approximately 75% of the world’s population and half of the least developed countries are exposed to extreme events such as earthquakes, flooding and cyclones. $100 to $500 billion are lost every year due to hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Bigger storms and floods, and growing urbanization will only make these numbers climb higher. While the scientific community debates on how much of this dramatic growth should be attributed to global warming, everyone is in agreement that the amount of funding required to respond to the consequences of major floods and storms is on the rise.

 

While natural disasters cannot be prevented, much can be done with technology to reduce the loss of life and lessen their financial impact. The increased sophistication of Natural Disasters forecasting, Preparation, Response & Relief capabilities promote “high-end”/”high value-added” equipment and systems solutions. As such, HSRC forecasts increased market requirements for integrated Natural Disasters Preparation, Response & Relief solutions interoperability/interconnectivity (i.e., favoring prime suppliers expertise in systems integration), and post disaster recovery (e.g., Decontamination of HAZMAT)

Market opportunities will also emerge from high growth sectors including data fusion systems, flood recovery equipment and earthquake search and rescue equipment.

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The 93% of U.S. HLS, HLD & Public Safety Market that’s not Aviation Security

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U.S. Homeland Security & Public Safety 2016 Market Shares [%] by Application

While the Aviation Security industry in the U.S. remains a multi-billion dollar market, it constitutes only a small fraction of actual spending by federal state and local governments. Although every new aviation event can create a surge in this market, by 2016 three other industry segments will share nearly 75% of the market: critical infrastructure security, first responders market and CBRN terror and hazmat & disease outbreak mitigation.

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