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

 

Asymmetric Conflicts Drive Military Demand for Non-Lethal Weapons

NLW provide a less-lethal alternative between the options of "Shout and Shoot"

The asymmetric armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the turmoil in the Arab world, violent events such as the August 2011 U.K. street riots, and the July 2014 Israeli-Hamas conflict continue and drive governments, police and defense establishment decision-makers to seek cost-effective NLW means. This increased demand will yield a $5.6B cumulative 2014-2020 Military Non-Lethal Weapons Market.

The U.S. Navy, for example, is kick-starting a new industry development for NLW for uses such as vehicles and boats, moving or dispersing crowds, and discouraging attackers or aggressive human behavior. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) covers 14 areas including:

  1. Non-lethal advanced materials
  2. High-power microwave technologies for counter-material missions
  3. Compact active-denial technologies
  4. Clear-a-space technologies
  5. Human electro-muscular incapacitation technologies
  6. Non-lethal directed-energy and non-directed energy-based technologies for vehicle or vessel stopping and other counter-material targets
  7. Non-lethal laser-induced plasma effects at ranges further than 100 meters
  8. Compact non-lethal non-pyrotechnic flash-bang technologies
  9. Compact advanced multi-bang flash-bang technologies
  10. Advanced non-lethal technologies that move, suppress, deny, or disable individuals and crowds through combined effects
  11. Compact hail-and-warn technologies through two-way communications with ranges as far as 1,500 meters
  12. Compact, low-cost non-lethal push-back and repel technologies
  13. Human effects and non-lethal weapon effectiveness studies, risk assessments, and evaluations
  14. Other next-generation non-lethal technologies

The Active Denial System, a Raytheon-built experimental weapon that uses millimeter waves

Troops test-fire optical distractors on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Note how the beams spread rapidly, reducing the nominal ocular hazard distance and spreading the beam over a wider area on targets
Source: U.S. Navy

Another example is the multi-modal Rafael Samson Non-Lethal Weapon Station intended for all-round response for low intensity conflict violence. The vehicle allows its operators to choose from an array of integrated NLW modalities (e.g., Sound Blaster Acoustic Device, Tear/Smoke Grenade launcher, Xenon Based Dazzler, Impulse Grenade Launcher, 40mm Grenade Launcher) that can be adapted to the situation on the ground.

The Samson NL enables responders to effectively address violent situations from inside the host vehicle. Advanced, high-precision electro-optic sensors provide them with accurate, real-time situational awareness, while in-vehicle operation lets them exercise full control of the non-lethal provisions. In this way, the crew can respond accurately, with minimum civilian casualties and without incurring their own injury.

Source: Rafael Ltd

Read more…

In 2013, China’s Safe City Projects Grabbed 58% Share of the Global Safe City Market

Out of the 2013 $17.4B global safe cities’ market, China’s $10.2B included $3.6B for procurement from foreign-based companies such as IBM, Cisco and Siemens.
Chinese Safe City Billboard. (Source: China Ministry of Interior)
According to “China Safe City Technologies & Markets – 2013-2022” and the “Global Homeland Security & Public Safety Market – 2014-2022” reports, China’s safe city market (including planning, consulting services, systems procurement, integration & installation costs, maintenance and upgrades) will accumulate to $138B between 2013 & 2022 and peak in 2021. $46B of this amount will go to foreign-based companies.  The main driver of this market is China’s 650 (or “Plan 3111”) safe cities program. These safe cities municipal-level deployments of sensors and systems are intended to enhance the mitigation of crime, terror and prepare for either manmade or natural disasters. In these projects, deployments of 100,000-plus surveillance cameras per city are not uncommon, dwarfing even the largest European or U.S. smart & safe cities projects.  China’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for advanced video surveillance technologies led to 13M cameras already installed, making China the world’s largest consumer of video surveillance equipment.

Read more on China Safe Cities Technologies and Markets business opportunities, market figures and forecasts

107% Hike in 2014 U.S. Funding for Embassy Security Upgrades

Image Alignment 300x200

U.S. Embassy Security budget, 2012-2014 [$M]

The Global Homeland Security & Public Safety Market – 2014-2022 report reveals that in 2013 $112 billion (34%) of the Global HLS & Public Safety industry revenues came from the high gross margin service and upgrades business

Driven by Benghazi terror attack in 2012 and intelligence indicating terror attacks on embassies in the Middle East and Africa, the U.S. shut down 19 embassies in August of 2013. Aside from exposing the soft underbelly of the U.S., Al Qaida also scored a media victory by disrupting the operations of the U.S. without firing a single shot.

In light of these global events of the past year, the U.S. Diplomatic Security, which is charged with protecting 285 State Department facilities in 189 countries, requested a $2.7 billion budget for 2014, a 67% increase over 2013 level. Out of this budget, the diplomatic corps facilities security upgrade funding will double from $745 million in 2013 to 1.55 billion by 2014.

This market will be open for technological innovation and will include business opportunities for electronic intrusion detectors, smart video surveillance and command & control systems and blast resistant technologies.

Read more on Global Homeland Security & Public Safety business opportunities, market figures and forecasts